1001 Albums You Must Hear (and Blog about) Before You Die

My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die

883. Automatic for the People – R.E.M.

 From time to time I need a break from listening to albums in the time period I am in. This is the case here and the album is randomly chosen.

Brief Background: Automatic for the People was recorded from late 1991 and into mid 1992 and released in October of 1992. The instrumental tracks were worked out in demos before being handed of to Mr. Stipe in order for lyrics to be written.

What I think: This is a very important album in my musical development. For a lot of us my age it was Nevermind that sort of changed this for them. For me it is Automatic for the People. It’s the album that moved me away from Aerosmith and G n’ R towards “Alternative” music. It makes R.E.M. the only band of the era that (in which I listened to them then as well) I still listen to on a regular basis. And while it isn’t my favorite from them (Murmur? Green? Monster?) it was certainly life changing, since the music I discovered after this album has been a huge part of who I am.

It’s really interesting how tied the music is to the videos on this album. This is certainly more true for this one than any other album that comes to mind. Subsequently, my favorites tracks are the ones that were singles.

  • “Drive” has always been really haunting to me and I love the video of Stipe crowd surfing on the crowd with the eery spotlights on the wall.
  • I love that I didn’t realize until about five years after this album came out that “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite” was taken from “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.
  • Next is the love it or hate it of “Everybody Hurts”, which I personally love musically and for the bravery it took to put out such and unabashedly candid song.
  • Finally, let’s move next to the mighty trilogy that finish the album “Man on the Moon”, which is impossible to seperate from the video in the desert and the images of Andy Kaufman. It’s such a force that I still get excited about everyt ime I hear. “Nightswimming”, which is one of the most beautiful and spine tingling songs I’ve ever heard and still gets me time and time again, even if I were to listen to in on repeat. Finally, we have “Find the River”  and its hook of “None of this is Going my Way” is the perfect way to end the album.

Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I certainly agree, for me I’d be in my top 50, and not because it’s perfect (It’s not, many of the songs I didn’t mention seem like filler to me), but because of the time and place it’s tied to and the influence it has had on my life.

Rating (Out of 5): 4

Amazon Review (Out of 5):4.5

Is this my first time hearing this album? No (24/119)

Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 80%


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This entry was posted on September 23, 2014 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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