This is the Thread Where You Bash REM's Monster

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why does everyone hate monster so much?

There are bunch of better than average guitar rock songs on there. Strange Currencies, Tongue, and Let Me In are among REM's best post-IRS work.

MerkinMuffley (MerkinMuffley), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:09 (fifteen years ago) link

The drums are mixed too low, guitars too high. That's no way to make your "return to rock" record.

Keith Harris (kharris1128), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:12 (fifteen years ago) link

I refuse to bash this album. It was one of my 10 favorite of all time back around 1996. OK now I'll admit it's probably worse than any of the REM albums that preceeded it but it still has some great shit on it, esp. guitar-wise. I wanna give it up for "Circus Envy."

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:13 (fifteen years ago) link

Monster isn't too far from being my least favorite R.E.M. album, but I'm not going to bash it.

*waits for a thread about Out of Time*

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:20 (fifteen years ago) link

Monster is better than all of REM's IRS albums except "Murmur".

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:23 (fifteen years ago) link

Star 69 is underappreciated. Though let's not get too revisionist, Monster still keeps a fairly even keel through the waters of mediocrity.

Dave M. (rotten03), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:26 (fifteen years ago) link

only REM album I'll truly bash is Reveal. And even then I'd probably spend more time talking about how great "Imitation Of Life" is.

And btw, Geir Hongro thinks Reveal is the best REM album ever. I'll just note that so he doesn't have to.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:26 (fifteen years ago) link

I like New Adventures in Hi-Fi a lot more. Reveal is truly a dog.

Keith Harris (kharris1128), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:28 (fifteen years ago) link

Actually, if I was to POO REM singles, it would probably be "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?".

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:29 (fifteen years ago) link

see, to me New Adventures in Hi-Fi is REM's adventure into mediocrity. That album is too long and has too many weak songs. Monster is consistently good and does have some interesting/"innovative" stuff like "You." The chorus of that song is pretty swell imo.

MerkinMuffley (MerkinMuffley), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:34 (fifteen years ago) link

To me, the second most grievous omission from the Best of album (next to "shiny happy people") is "Tongue". I don't even like REM, but I kinda dig that song.

And "Crush with Eyeliner" sucks, but I really like the video.

Phantom Twinkies, Monday, 10 November 2003 02:43 (fifteen years ago) link

My mom used to listen to it when she cleaned the house. I like plenty of it, but I only know a few REM albums. I really like Strange Currencies and the one with the falsetto is really catchy.

Sonny A. (Keiko), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:48 (fifteen years ago) link

better than Fables, Up, and Reveal, worse than the rest though not that much worse than Out of Time really

cinniblount (James Blount), Monday, 10 November 2003 02:50 (fifteen years ago) link

how do you figure, given that Fables is thee best R.E.M. album and everyone knows it? I mean, KOHOUTEK!!!

Aaron A., Monday, 10 November 2003 03:04 (fifteen years ago) link

hatin' on Out Of Time. Shame. That album would be entirely terrific if not for the damn opener. Ok and maybe "Texarkana." But dig that funky bass line! That's the most Mike Mills you'll ever get in one dose ever.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Three songs save Monster from the trash heap: "...Kenneth," "Strange Currencies," and "I Don't Sleep, I Dream."

I've understood the love given to "Tongue." *yawn*

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:11 (fifteen years ago) link

er, I've never understood...

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:12 (fifteen years ago) link

R.E.M. generally write good songs. Then it kind of sucks putting the singer so way behind in the mix the actual songs are not heard at all for just guitar noise.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:13 (fifteen years ago) link

ok if there's one thing I'll bash about this album it's probably that the artwork revealed that they'd all basically gone insane and started purchasing goofier sunglasses. Ok, only Michael and Mike looked immediately like they'd lost it, but Peter looks bigger and drunker than before and not long after Bill's head exploded and he decided to be a farmer and never leave his house.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:13 (fifteen years ago) link

Bill Berry leaves his house all the time!

cinniblount (James Blount), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:14 (fifteen years ago) link

whew. good to know Peter was just exaggerating in that interview I read somewhere.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:15 (fifteen years ago) link

I used to run into him in grocery stores at like seven in the morning, he'd be all duded up in black leather and sunglasses and I'd think 'real lowkey there Bill'

cinniblount (James Blount), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:16 (fifteen years ago) link

The nice thing about Monster is you can buy a copy for $3.99 in any record store in America.

It does sound better now than it did in '94. That said, I think history will be less kind to REM than they deserve.

Keith Harris (kharris1128), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:16 (fifteen years ago) link

my sister used to ride horses on his land and the dirt road in front of his driveway is a real popular place for Oconee teens to learn how to drive

cinniblount (James Blount), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:16 (fifteen years ago) link

dude I can't blame Bill. He must see videos like "Lotus" and go DAMMIT, I COULD HAVE BEEN IN THAT!

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:18 (fifteen years ago) link

It's just FUCKING WRONG.

Lynskey (Lynskey), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:19 (fifteen years ago) link

haha! the rem behind the music (dullest ever - "next on behind the music mike mills makes a deadly donation to npr") where he's all 'I leave the band and they make their best record (Up)' is hilarious. I remember the reaction in the press was 'well any other member and the band would be kaput' but alot of people close to the band have told me bill berry had ALOT of ideas and was generally good at grounding or vetoing stipe's bad ideas.

cinniblount (James Blount), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:21 (fifteen years ago) link

Berry wrote some of their best songs, IIRC. can't think of any specific examples beyond "Everybody Hurts," which isn't one of my favorites (though I do like it a lot), though.

M Matos (M Matos), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:23 (fifteen years ago) link

I doubt there's anybody except Geir who doesn't wish Bill Berry was still in the group.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Except maybe Bill.

Keith Harris (kharris1128), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:28 (fifteen years ago) link

It was the only REM album that made my 90s list. As I mentioned, I was shocked to realize how good it was when I put it on a couple weeks ago.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:45 (fifteen years ago) link

While "Up" and "Reveal" are IMO among the best they've done, I don't say why they would have been any less good with Bill Berry still in the group. :-)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Monday, 10 November 2003 03:51 (fifteen years ago) link

"Crush with Eyeliner" is fucking awesome, people. So sleazy and leering.

Michael Patrick Brady (Michael Patrick Brady), Monday, 10 November 2003 04:09 (fifteen years ago) link

see, to me New Adventures in Hi-Fi is REM's adventure into mediocrity.

Basically true, but I think "E-Bow the Letter" is one of the finest things they've ever done. REM was officially over for me when I heard the new song they wrote for the Andy Kauffman movie -- the musical equivalent of a faked orgasm.

j.lu (j.lu), Monday, 10 November 2003 04:20 (fifteen years ago) link

It gets a bunch of shit now, but I seem to remember Monster being really well-reviewed when it came out, the songs were nearly inescapable on the radio, and the tour got lots of press.

Wha' happened?

Cat Named Sloopy, Monday, 10 November 2003 05:27 (fifteen years ago) link

At the time, I think people were more interested in the fact Buck had begun playing electric guitars again than they were the album itself. One the novelty faded away, we were left with a collection of songs that really wasn't up to snuff.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Monday, 10 November 2003 05:44 (fifteen years ago) link

also, didn't they make a big movie out of the tour?

Dave M. (rotten03), Monday, 10 November 2003 06:10 (fifteen years ago) link

I guess I always assumed "Monster" was received fairly well. I probably listen to it more than any other R.E.M. album. Fuck wot anyone says, I love it.

I also like New Adventures in Hi Fi, but moreso for individual songs than the whole shebang. There's half a dozen songs I program out when I listen to it. Definitely not the first six however.

Gear! (Gear!), Monday, 10 November 2003 06:56 (fifteen years ago) link

I like the album's songs. But it's one of my least favorite REM albums because it's at this time that Stipe shaved his head (Corgan, that fucker, soon followed (right?) and they both went to hell), Mike Mills started living in those nudie suits which became a gateway drug to bad bleach jobs and shaggy hair, and too many people bought this album then sold it back in the thousands, making the used cd racks a more terrible shade of orange.

Carey (Carey), Monday, 10 November 2003 07:00 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm pretty sure it did recieve mostly positive reviews initially (RS gave it 4 1/2 stars and it was among SPIN's albums of the year).

I can understand to a degree why some may consider it a mediocre effort, but it wasn't even considered good enough for mediocre reviews - from what I gather, most reviews written after 1994 called this among the worst albums of alltime, and the biggest mistake REM has ever made. It's almost gotten to the point where bashing this album is the equivalent of praising Sgt Pepper.

I enjoy nearly every song, and it's certainly among my 3 favorite REM records.

billstevejim, Monday, 10 November 2003 07:52 (fifteen years ago) link

I thought it was great at the time but I was also drunk that entire year. I don't think I ever listened to it after I sobered up.

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Monday, 10 November 2003 08:36 (fifteen years ago) link

"Hmm, tremelo sounds good on this song. Hmmm, tremelo sounds good on this other song. let's do it. Hey, you know, some tremelo would sound good on the new song we're recording here. I say, tremelo gets the thumbs up"

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 10 November 2003 09:13 (fifteen years ago) link

The Samson theory: REM went bad when Stipe lost his hair.

Jonathan Z., Monday, 10 November 2003 09:33 (fifteen years ago) link

I love "let me in". very MBV-ish, love the simple keyboard melody coming in 1/3 of the way through. and stipe's voice breaking out of its mumble to unleash a WAIL. moving stuff, but a lot of this album is just clunky rock.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Monday, 10 November 2003 10:43 (fifteen years ago) link


"I like New Adventures in Hi-Fi a lot more. Reveal is truly a dog.
-- Keith Harris (kharris3...), November 10th, 2003."

Here Here, Keith!
(it's an injoke, folks.)

musicmope (musicmope), Monday, 10 November 2003 11:08 (fifteen years ago) link

Monster received amazingly good reviews at the time of its release. I can't recall a negative one (though admittedly I have better things to do with my time). I suspect that when people say they hate it what they're really saying is that they hate the way White people sounded in 1984.

musicmope (musicmope), Monday, 10 November 2003 11:26 (fifteen years ago) link

That's 1994, of course. In 1984 everyone here who was old enough was listening to "Urgent" and loving it. No wait, I mean Chronic Town...

musicmope (musicmope), Monday, 10 November 2003 11:29 (fifteen years ago) link

No, Monster was a huge letdown for me at the time. My friend Chris and I taped it off the radio--some Seattle station played it the midnight it was released or some such stunt--and we were both all underwhelmed shrugs.

By the way, what's the injoke. I don't get it? Did I make it?

Keith Harris (kharris1128), Monday, 10 November 2003 12:20 (fifteen years ago) link

stipe's in a b-boy stance

cinniblount (James Blount), Monday, 10 November 2003 22:30 (fifteen years ago) link

Crush with eyeliner is some boring ass shit

calstars, Saturday, 28 September 2019 02:35 (two weeks ago) link

it's good, not in the top 5 but good

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 28 September 2019 02:48 (two weeks ago) link

20+ years later and i still can't get over how much of a misstep it felt at the time!

alomar lines, Saturday, 28 September 2019 04:37 (two weeks ago) link

And as it remains
They should have called it quits with Green, they’d be legendary by now, a hundred college bands imitating them
I

calstars, Saturday, 28 September 2019 04:40 (two weeks ago) link

No no no way before green

This is a good album, though

brimstead, Saturday, 28 September 2019 05:22 (two weeks ago) link

why did they sing the verse of "losing my religion" when they were singing "bang and blame ?
b and b has a great hook/chorus.
― kenneth jnr, Monday, May 16, 2005 10:00 AM (fourteen years ago)

this always bugs me too, i can't unhear it

Sally Jessy (Karl Malone), Saturday, 28 September 2019 05:43 (two weeks ago) link

I’m gonna bash the fact that the 2-disc version of the anniversary set consists of the original album + remixed album, and not the outtake disc (which you need to buy the 6-disc set to hear).

Who needs two mixes of the same album — especially when the OG version (if you don’t already own it) costs a few bucks in any record store? If the 2CD set was remix + outtakes, there’d be a reason to buy it.

#YABASIC (morrisp), Saturday, 28 September 2019 06:11 (two weeks ago) link

I’m checking out the 25th Anniversary editions of the previous two albums that they’ve been releasing via Craft/Concord... I admit they’re tempting.

#YABASIC (morrisp), Saturday, 28 September 2019 06:25 (two weeks ago) link

Everyone’s got their *jumping off point* with this consistently great band. Monster is a great record, but not my fave sonically.

timellison, Saturday, 28 September 2019 15:32 (two weeks ago) link

Appreciate your angle, Alfred. For me, R.E.M. we’re sexiest in the mid-‘80s, when I think they were the most feminine. An attractive veil of artifice and earthy/no-nonsense at the same time.

timellison, Saturday, 28 September 2019 15:47 (two weeks ago) link

i haven't heard the remix yet but the remaster itself sounds great, very crisp with a lot of detail i never caught before in the denser tracks cf. "king of comedy"

american bradass (BradNelson), Monday, 7 October 2019 16:18 (one week ago) link

also this is such a great album, so fun and sexy and weird and creepy

american bradass (BradNelson), Monday, 7 October 2019 16:24 (one week ago) link

I probably have "I don't sleep, I dream" as my own #1 or #2 track on this, to me it bridges the band's past and present effortlessly.

campreverb, Monday, 7 October 2019 18:14 (one week ago) link

Pretty sure I just saw the spine of Monster in the CD racks belonging to McNulty in his office cubicle in the first series of The Wire.

Maresn3st, Monday, 7 October 2019 19:01 (one week ago) link

It and a Pogues album are the only ones he owns.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 October 2019 19:03 (one week ago) link

I’m gonna bash the fact that the 2-disc version of the anniversary set consists of the original album + remixed album, and not the outtake disc (which you need to buy the 6-disc set to hear).

Exactly, I'm really annoyed by this move. Especially since it also breaks with the run they've had going of the 2-disc version either being packaged with a disc of demos or a live set. I have no desire to have the 2019 mix.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 7 October 2019 20:40 (one week ago) link

so this seems like a p radical remix? This clip has me excited

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19hhctlleNo&feature=youtu.be

The Ravishing of ROFL Stein (Hadrian VIII), Monday, 7 October 2019 22:31 (one week ago) link

ugh, well Scott Litt on nixing altogether the staccato guitar on the choruses to WTFK

The Ravishing of ROFL Stein (Hadrian VIII), Monday, 7 October 2019 22:33 (one week ago) link

These remixes are both fucking terrible. I feel like one of those people that bash's Giles Martin's Beatles remixes (which I personally like); WTF is Litt thinking? These sound like boosted rough mixes where he looses almost every little touch that made the songs remotely palateable in the first place (I like this album more than most people but I'm not pretending it's one of their best ones. The remix seems to be aching to make it even worse).

akm, Friday, 11 October 2019 16:21 (one week ago) link

Yeah, just did an A/B listen to "Let Me In" and... I don't think the new version does either the song, or Stipe's vocal, any favors.

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:02 (one week ago) link

(The new version is here.)

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:04 (one week ago) link

The new "Let Me In" is silly.

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:09 (one week ago) link

i'm iffy on listening to the remixes since the original album is so fixed in my mind production-wise, and it was an album i loved right off the bat. i thought it was wildly successful in what it intended to do, and its tepid reception had more to do with it not being the R.E.M. people wanted. Similar to what happened w/a lot of U2 fans in the '90s; both groups of disappointed fans missed out on some of their best work.

omar little, Friday, 11 October 2019 17:20 (one week ago) link

there was definitely a distancing effect on the rock tracks where the vocals were buried under layers of guitar overdrive. I can understand how that may have turned people off, but I thought it was pretty cool. "Fixing" the mixes now, just comes across as very unnecessary second guessing.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:39 (one week ago) link

What will be your look this season?

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:41 (one week ago) link

https://i.imgur.com/WSy9a6j.jpg

pplains, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:23 (one week ago) link

haha, the Special Editions were exactly how I felt about the songs on the recent Stereolab reissues that had different fade outs or mixes or whatnot. I'm sure it applies here as well. The need to tamper with original works and "improve" them is frustrating, especially when the original gets erased.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Friday, 11 October 2019 18:31 (one week ago) link

Wait, is this new version replacing the original?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 11 October 2019 19:58 (one week ago) link

no

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 11 October 2019 20:04 (one week ago) link

ok I can see tweaking levels on some of these tracks to get more separation or whatever but negating the whole point (drenching guitars) of something like Let Me In is just laughably stupid

The Ravishing of ROFL Stein (Hadrian VIII), Friday, 11 October 2019 20:54 (one week ago) link

nothing will ever replace the original because there are hundreds of copies of it in every retail establishment in the world, enough to last millions of years

akm, Friday, 11 October 2019 22:04 (one week ago) link

I do kinda want to hear the remastered version of the OG mix.

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Friday, 11 October 2019 22:13 (one week ago) link

See more of a point to the "Let Me In" mix than the Kenneth one. I like it OK.

timellison, Saturday, 12 October 2019 02:17 (six days ago) link

the remaster has been on streaming services since they announced this. it sounds pretty good.

akm, Saturday, 12 October 2019 02:30 (six days ago) link

> nothing will ever replace the original because there are hundreds of copies of it in every retail establishment in the world, enough to last millions of years

Is anyone buying those hundreds of copies? CD stores have closed across the developed world, CD sales have plunged even online, and more and more people today don’t even own a CD player. As the world moves to streaming, it is certainly possible for remastered and reworked versions to obscure the original releases.

Melomane, Saturday, 12 October 2019 06:20 (six days ago) link

One of the best things around the original Let Me In mix was the extent to which Stipe's vocal sounded like it was drowning in the guitars. That and the organ line at the end. Obviously the remix dispenses with both those elements.

Matt DC, Saturday, 12 October 2019 07:53 (six days ago) link

smdh

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Saturday, 12 October 2019 13:05 (six days ago) link

in the future all home will be insulated with copies of Monster

akm, Saturday, 12 October 2019 14:42 (six days ago) link

xpost exactly what I said before. everything good about the song got ditched in this! well not everything, the song itself is actually a good song. but everything good about the production. this just sounds like an unmixed version. it's stupid.

akm, Saturday, 12 October 2019 14:43 (six days ago) link

I like hearing Stipe's performance on it clearer. It's kind of like a Husker Du song. Very sad song.

timellison, Saturday, 12 October 2019 18:56 (six days ago) link

Also: maybe it's just that one guitar on the original, just more processed.

timellison, Saturday, 12 October 2019 19:01 (six days ago) link

Mills on guitar iirc

timellison, Saturday, 12 October 2019 19:01 (six days ago) link

Buck on Farfisa

timellison, Saturday, 12 October 2019 19:02 (six days ago) link

Berry on Heineken

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Saturday, 12 October 2019 19:04 (six days ago) link

Tambourine!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19hhctlleNo

timellison, Saturday, 12 October 2019 19:06 (six days ago) link

Haha, I thought so (but couldn’t resist the joke)

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Saturday, 12 October 2019 19:12 (six days ago) link

Stipe’s comments about the song at the time have always stuck with me, that he felt that if he too had become super-famous at a younger age, that he wouldn’t have survived it. R.E.M. were nice guys.

timellison, Saturday, 12 October 2019 21:48 (six days ago) link

I'd like to hear Document with a little less of the eighties production, that's for sure.

Maresn3st, Saturday, 12 October 2019 22:28 (six days ago) link

xp xref “How to Disappear Completely”

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Sunday, 13 October 2019 00:13 (five days ago) link


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