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4.2 out of 5 stars 425 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 27 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD-ROM
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00000DD54
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 425 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,943 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Airportman
2. Lotus
3. Suspicion
4. Hope
5. At My Most Beautiful
6. The Apologist
7. Sad Professor
8. You're In The Air
9. Walk Unafraid
10. Why Not Smile
11. Daysleeper
12. Diminished
13. Parakeet
14. Falls To Climb

Product Description


Even with the words written in black and white, the meaning of these compelling but impressionistic tunes remains elusive. The opening cut, Airport Man, is laced, as most of the tracks are, with odd sonic effects.... -- People

Peter Buck's once-assertive guitars mostly have gone all liquidy or simply disappeared; a layered array of pianos, organs, string adornments and mechanically ticking synthesizers and beat boxes supersedes the old guitar-band approach to evoke twilight moods that are by turns unsettling and caressing. -- Los Angeles Times

The songs are built around humming, gently throbbing electronic keyboards.... Peter Buck's guitars don't ripple; instead, they dart in and out of the songs like sound effects. Once [Bill] Berry left, we knew R.E.M. would never be the same.... Up is the sound of the band trying to reshape its sound and vision. -- Entertainment Weekly


After REM's somewhat ambitious 1996 album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, failed to light up the charts, you might have figured the band would return to the rock-solid bombast of Monster or the consumer-friendly pop of Green. But REM have enough cash not to worry about commercial failure, and they've already been to the top of the mountain, so for now they'd rather explore its lush valleys and secret caves. Up is an atmospheric journey as impressionistic as Enya and as evocative as John Barry. Some critics have compared it with the band's delicate and emotionally revealing gem Automatic for the People, but Up is more ambitious and creative. Sure, most of the songs are pastoral, but they're undercut with drama and sonic experimentation. The melodies are generally spare, the beats sparse. Guitars flicker in and out, providing tension and dynamics, while quivering strings, layered keyboards, and washes of feedback colour the songs like textured lines of paint in an oil portrait. The only blatant pop song is the single "Daysleeper". The rest of the album ebbs and flows, each song a separate component of a complete artistic expression. The sound may be influenced by guitarist Peter Buck's cinematic jazz side project Tuatara or by Michael Stipe's celluloid excursions, but its source doesn't matter. What's important is that more than a decade after their sell-by date, REM continue to challenge and inspire. Things are definitely looking up. --Jon Wiederhorn

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is one of my five favorite R.E.M. albums. As reviewers here have all ready stated, it is slow and sort of a downer, but is a masterpiece of experimental Alternative music never the less. A patient and open-minded listener should be pleased to discover here a rare kind of music experience, unique actually, with carefully delivered intimate songs that although are mostly electric have an acoustic feel usually. It's the kind of album which sounds better every time you hear it, until if finally wins you over in its strange addictiveness. In my opinion, "Up" is a much under-rated and misunderstood gem, with R.E.M. on the top of their game.

"Airportman" - Delivered in more of a murmur than R.E.M.'s early days, this is like a test song being whispered in your ear. Strange and slow paced, laying the carpet for what follows.

"Lotus" - Actually a very well accomplished work of art, but it is a pop song and perhaps its mix of cuteness and darkness is a bit too awkward for some ears. Catchy beat, about drug use.

"Suspicion" - Perhaps the most beautiful song about a night of cheap meaningless sex ever written. It's a love song about a perfect stranger, once upon a time. It is enchanting to listen to.

"Hope" - Some think this one's about ex-drummer Bill Berry, but it's hard to say for sure. About going out in the world in search of something more.

"At My Most Beautiful" - Innocent, touching piano-assisted little love song. Stipe was proud of it because it avoids cliché. One of my personal favorites.

"The Apologist" - Doesn't stand out much and many would probably find this one annoying, Stipe constantly singing "So sorry, so sorry, so sorry..." But I like it and it seems to find its way back into my head from time to time.
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Format: Audio CD
OK, so most people dont get this album. Fair enough. As U2 saw Achtung Baby as the sound of the Joshua Tree being knocked down, with UP I think REM are burying (Berrying? ho ho) Bill - a kind of funeral and celebration of sorts.
Yes, its a down album. Yes its slow. Yes, but the only upbeat song is the only bad song on the album. That being Lotus. Lotus shouldn't be on here. Stipes vocals are painful on the ear!
Lotus aside, this album is absolutely fantastic. It holds many a memory of my last 2 years of being a batchelor. I literally used to come home tanked up with Tiger beer (I used to live in Singapore) and sit there blasting Diminished out of the stereo. Even when I play it now (over 5 years later) I get a taste for beer. Trouble is, the only place I can blast it is in the car and I end up driving to the pub.
This is a must for all REM fans - well, if you are a fan you will have it in your collection anyway, I assume.
Beautiful songs like Suspicion, You're In The Air and At My Most Beautiful cannot be denied! OK, the drum machine is dated but thats the charm of it all. I dont think the use of those old organ drums is pretensious (spell?) but charming.
Saying all this, I love Monster too. I saw them play in Singapore on the Monster tour and some of the best songs were from that album. You just have to take a drive when you play Crush With Eyeliner.
So far as UP goes, I would strongly suggest dissapointed fans play it a little while longer - maybe mix the songs in with a few of your favourites and you may change your view.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm gonna catch a lot of crap for this, but I've been a big fan of R.E.M. for a few years, and with the possible exception of "Life's Rich Pageant", I think "Up" might be their best album so far, and it will not get any better. As the 90's emerged, R.E.M. traded in a lot of the jangle pop for a slightly harder, more rock sound (best seen with "Monster") at the end of the millenium, the issues faded into schmaltz, or as one reviewer put "sugar in Michael Stipe's tank". "Up" captures them dead center, with a mix of sentimentality, rock, experimentation, and the absence of Berry. And it hits perfectly.
For the casual R.E.M. fan, there's classic material like "Airportman" and "You're In the Air". Quiet, lyrical odes that are unmistakably the work of Stipe and company. Slightly more upbeat are encouraging songs like "Walk Unafraid" and "Hope" (which is my second most quotable song from this album). And downbeat laments like "Sad Professor" and "Why Not Smile" offer hope to the hopeless.
Granted, at times it can read a lot like one of those self-help seminars ("I hate where I wound up", "pick myself up"), but its rock at its most positive. Maybe with a different band, it would be unlistenable, but with the ensemble hard at work, even the most schmaltzy material sounds incredible. Personally, I hate uber-romantic songs, but I can't get enough of "At My Most Beautiful." And its not all straightforward stuff, either. "Parakeet" is a weird, weird piece, but its beautiful lyrically. And then there's "Lotus", an amazing completely nonsensical piece with a chorus that hisses itself out, and reminiscent of another R.E.M. track: "Losing My Religion".
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