You Wore Your ExPOLLtations Like An Armored Suit: REM's "Monster"

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This album has been rather thoroughly discussed by ILM, particularly here:

http://www.ilxor.com/ILX/ThreadSelectedControllerServlet?boardid=41&threadid=22414
and here:
Taking Sides: ACHTUNG BABY by U2 VS. MONSTER by R.E.M

...but why not have a poll to sing the praises of its best moments? A fair case could be made that this was an undercooked album, mis-promoted in ways that brought its failings disproportionately into focus - this is not a convincing "return to rock" but maybe it was never meant to be. As a cloudy, defensive meditation on stardom it's perfectly serviceable, and there are a number of gems buried in the "vague, shapeless, protoplasmic gobbet of greyish brown glop" to borrow Custos's description.

This is also their first album since "Green" where the issue of the band's image really overshadows the proceedings; the "Achtung Baby" thread raised the issue of 90s irony and what it meant for each band; my comment was: "REM - tough kids from the mean streets of Athens, GA??? It's just so out of touch with their previous 'image' that one wants to read it as some sort of literate, deliberate posture rather than a sincere sell..." - but certainly it's hard to separate Monster from the look and feel of the "Bang and Blame" video...

But I digress!

Poll Results

OptionVotes
What's The Frequency, Kenneth? 17
Strange Currencies 13
Let Me In 9
Crush With Eyeliner 4
Bang and Blame 3
Tongue 2
I Don't Sleep, I Dream 2
King of Comedy 2
Circus Envy 1
Star 69 0
I Took Your Name 0
You 0


Doctor Casino, Monday, 1 December 2008 00:18 (ten years ago) link

WTF, K?

Manchego Bay (G00blar), Monday, 1 December 2008 00:20 (ten years ago) link

had to go for "strange currencies" simply for its ubiquity at my middle school dances.

Shh! It's NOT Me!, Monday, 1 December 2008 00:23 (ten years ago) link

I wish I had gone to your middle school! Great song. Did it as a karaoke duet one time and I still think a high-profile duet cover could be a great hit. Sort of a Hey Paul, Hey Paula thing - "I don't know why you're mean to me..."

Doctor Casino, Monday, 1 December 2008 00:24 (ten years ago) link

I was outside having a cigarette thinking about those dances and all of a sudden I remember why it was played: I was the DJ. I was already an atrocious alternative/indie snob back then and found that "Strange Currencies" was the best compromise for the fact that nobody would accept "Driveway to Driveway" by Superchunk as an acceptable slow dance song. I had to borrow the copy of "Monster", "Foolish" was mine.

I was also able to play "The Crab Louse" by the Lords of Acid for all of 45 seconds before the teachers realized what was going on ;-)

Shh! It's NOT Me!, Monday, 1 December 2008 00:32 (ten years ago) link

Is it a good thing when a band records their "We're famous. How should we deal with this?" album? I'm not so sure, since that could easily lead to disappearing up your own ass. (In that regard, the U2 album it should be compared to is Zooropa, not Achtung Baby.)

I voted "King of Comedy," and I suspect I'll be the only one.

Hideous Lump, Monday, 1 December 2008 02:52 (ten years ago) link

Surely Zooropa and Pop were vanishing up some imaginary raver's ass? U2 vanished up their own ass when they disowned their techno-tendencies for a "return to rock!".

Monster was a worthy attempt at doing something else but the grandeur of Automatic was a lot to give up for me.

Shh! It's NOT Me!, Monday, 1 December 2008 02:58 (ten years ago) link

"Let Me In," the best song from the opening distorted chord.

ilxor, Monday, 1 December 2008 03:26 (ten years ago) link

I was also able to play "The Crab Louse" by the Lords of Acid for all of 45 seconds before the teachers realized what was going on ;-)

LOL

It was a tough call between "Strange Currencies" and "I Don't Sleep, I Dream." The former won.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 1 December 2008 03:38 (ten years ago) link

For me the candidates are:

Star 69
Strange Currencies
Tongue
Let Me In
Circus Envy
You

Of which I think "Tongue" is probably the best, will mull it over though...

I do kinda like "Kenneth" but it just doesn't get to me on any level other than being cool to sing along to. I guess Star 69 and Circus Envy are on that level too but there's some drama in both, some urgency - This monster in me makes me retch you messed it messed it up and the bitter declaration of I'm not your patsy let you overlook the fact that the songs in question also feature references squirrelies chewing the wires and dropping coconuts on people's heads from trees. (I don't think either of those are bad things to have in a song, mind.)

Also great, the reference to spelling someone's name "with Oatios," which always reminds me of this:

http://www.imanewbie.com/imatoons/ima06d.jpg

Doctor Casino, Monday, 1 December 2008 03:56 (ten years ago) link

Man, "King of Comedy" is really sunk by that vocal effect. It sounds like my first experiments with the flanger in CoolEdit 96 - just really watery and weak, makes me feel like they recorded the vocal, said "well this kinda can't compete with the rest of the mix," and just threw this effect on it. The rest of the track has a really great sound, IMO, especially the way the background vocals fit into the rest of the deep-fried wall of sound. But when I picture him going "MHAHKE YGHRR M0HFHNY" it makes me not want to pull the record out of the sleeve.

Doctor Casino, Monday, 1 December 2008 18:26 (ten years ago) link

"Circus Envy", what a song. The album is kinda monstrously long, but cds were newish and everybody was filling space at the time. I'd happily delete "Strange Currencies" off this cd, and "I Took Your Name", and one of "King of Comedy" and "Crush With Eyeliner" since they're kinda the same song.

Euler, Monday, 1 December 2008 21:09 (ten years ago) link

Were CDs that new then? I wasn't really paying attention to new music at the time so I'll take your word for it.

If it's KoC versus Crush With Eyeliner, I would save Crush With Eyeliner, mainly for a guy I know hearing the lyric as "she's a sack of tomatoes." I also have a fond memory of listening to 99X when they were running a contest for concert tickets where you had to guess the songs from really brief snippets; one caller, basing his guesses on the previous callers', dubbed the song "Crush The Violiner," which would really improve the track in my opinion.

Doctor Casino, Monday, 1 December 2008 22:01 (ten years ago) link

CDs weren't that new, but I think it took adjustment for bands who made albums in the vinyl era, to adapt to having more space to spread out. Some never have (cough Neil Young).

I'd probably pick "King of Comedy" to save, because I like the chorus a little more, but actually I could do without both. "Circus Envy" does the same things and way more. That's such a fabulous song.

see I don't remember 99X playing anything off this album but I was only in ATL for summers at that point, and it came out in September so I was already gone. I also didn't have TV from 1992 on so I've never seen any REM videos since "Everybody Hurts". I guess "Bang and Blame" had a noteworthy video? I love that song too, just listened to it in fact and marveled at how sweet and nuanced Stipe's vocal is: the voice cracks he gets just right. I bet he spent days on that vocal alone.

Also just listened to "Strange Currencies" and was struck again by how it's "Everybody Hurts Part 2". I guess it's the chord progression, the Pachelbel's Canon thing that's they've both got going on.

Euler, Monday, 1 December 2008 22:08 (ten years ago) link

The contest in question, not that it matters, was later... maybe in 97 or 98, if they were touring then? I might just be mixing things up.

I remember "Bang and Blame" being on the radio, I taped most of it. Thinking about 99x and REM's life on rock radio, I went and looked this stuff up on wiki...Didn't realize this:

"Bang and Blame" is a song by the United States alternative rock group R.E.M. It was released as the second single from the album Monster in 1994. It is the last R.E.M. song to reach the top 40 in Billboard's Hot 100 chart to date, peaking at number 19, and also their last number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Australian ARIA Singles Chart 29
Canadian Hot 100 1
Irish Singles Chart 14
UK Singles Chart 15
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 19
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 3

Further digging for those who care about this stuff - lokoing just at the Modern Rock chart -

1 Kenneth
1 Bang & Blame
8 Strange Currencies
20 Crush With Eyeliner
-- Tongue non-US
2 E-Bow (!!! - really?)
7 Bittersweet Me
-- Electrolite didn't chart (96 on the Hot 100 though)
-- How The West Was One - non-US
18 Daysleeper
31 Lotus
-- At My Most Beautiful
-- Suspicion
33 The Great Beyond
22 Imitation Of Life
-- (eight other Reveal and Around the Sun singles go here, also Bad Day)
21 Supernatural Superserious

All of this is just confirming things we already knew, but it's still striking for me to imagine this bizarre era when R.E.M. was a dominant force on rock radio. I wonder what became of the A&R guy who put together that $80 million deal...

Doctor Casino, Monday, 1 December 2008 22:35 (ten years ago) link

All of this is just confirming things we already knew, but it's still striking for me to imagine this bizarre era when R.E.M. was a dominant force on rock radio

Really? R.E.M. were HUGE on radio; the chart positions don't reflect it.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 1 December 2008 22:37 (ten years ago) link

oh, and I love "King of Comedy"'s vocal distortion. What with the phased guitar and processed drums, there's distance from some of the sexiest lyrics of Stipe's careers.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 1 December 2008 22:38 (ten years ago) link

I still laugh at the huge deal REM got around this time. I couldn't understand how it was worth it, and still can't. REM had their moment as a huge band, but it was unsurprisingly brief: Stipe's voice is a real turnoff for a lot of people.

Euler, Monday, 1 December 2008 22:57 (ten years ago) link

Bono's also better at playing a rock star -- ironic, moronic, or otherwise -- than Stipe.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 1 December 2008 22:59 (ten years ago) link

Bono is indeed really good at moronic, that much I agree with.

With "ironic" (let alone "otherwise"), however, he's hardly good at all.

t**t, Monday, 1 December 2008 23:04 (ten years ago) link

BTW, I think I've decided that the final poll of polls from all this will be a CLASSIC STYLE ILX POLL with nominations being pulled from the top finishers in each album - suggestions/feedback? Obviously, it's still a ways away...

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 2 December 2008 00:07 (ten years ago) link

Mike Mills' b-vox in "Circus Envy" make the song. Mike Mills' b-vox make a lot of R.E.M. songs.

Hideous Lump, Tuesday, 2 December 2008 04:11 (ten years ago) link

Listening to Circus Envy this morning it struck me what a great little character study it is. Admiration for the cool other ("I hold my breath to what you sing") overlaps immediately into self-loathing ("I messed it, messed it up"). This is projected onto the object of admiration, now seen as being somehow manipulative, while the speaker pretends to now be over it ("I am tired of your dodgeball circus act [...] I forgot to bark on command").

But the resentment keeps leaking outwards, first onto the admir-ee's beau ("The strongman kicked sand into my breakfast cereal bowl") and then with shocking violence onto the admireer him/herself ("When I get loose I'll climb a tree and drop a load on your head").

Or, you can get the whole story in two lines:

If I were you I’d really run from me
I’d really really wish that I were you

Really nice.

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 2 December 2008 17:57 (ten years ago) link

WTFK delivers killer guitar tone and trem

Strange Currencies is beautiful

And Zooropa is fantastic, you ingrates.

Passenger 57 (rogermexico.), Wednesday, 3 December 2008 05:26 (ten years ago) link

Voted "What's The Frequency Kenneth" because, in spite of the horrible production, it is actually a great song.

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 09:58 (ten years ago) link

Voted for King Of Comedy. Maybe not my absolute favourite, but I love it for being pretty unique in their canon and a far better attempt at ironic electro-rock (horrible term, I know) than anything U2 could muster.
Other faves:
Circus Envy
Tongue
Let Me In
You
I Don't Sleep I Dream
Kenneth
Crush

Stew, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 11:28 (ten years ago) link

Kenneth, but Strange Currencies would be up there.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 3 December 2008 12:51 (ten years ago) link

Bumped to compete with bootleg, indie-label Murmur poll. I'm increasingly thinking I should have voted for "Circus Envy."

Doctor Casino, Friday, 12 December 2008 05:09 (ten years ago) link

you can vote for it now, since a week has passed (yeah yeah cheating etc)

Euler, Friday, 12 December 2008 15:45 (ten years ago) link

Whoever mentioned this album's length should note that New Adventures is much longer, with only two more tracks.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Friday, 12 December 2008 15:55 (ten years ago) link

Wait...you can DO that? How did I miss this? I'm going to resist the temptation in any case.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 12 December 2008 16:00 (ten years ago) link

vote twice, I mean, not bring up the length of New Adventures.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 12 December 2008 16:01 (ten years ago) link

wtfk. this is my fav rem.

rent, Friday, 12 December 2008 16:09 (ten years ago) link

i like bang and blame best, closely followed by "you"

the next grozart, Friday, 12 December 2008 16:09 (ten years ago) link

I probably complained about the length of this album, and I would complain more about New Adventures' length. But I won't, because it's pretty dumb of me to complain since I can just program out or skip those songs.

Euler, Friday, 12 December 2008 16:09 (ten years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 14 December 2008 00:01 (ten years ago) link

I think "I Took Your Name" is the only song so far to get no explicit reference on this thread - I think it's pretty good though! Weird little revenge song. I like "I pushed the button and erased your master taaaape..."

"Bang and Blame" is sounding really great to me right now but I just can never quite love it...there's a kind of exhaustion in it which fits the lyric quite well (and makes the clearest bridge from Automatic to this record) but I feel like it also extends to the creative effort - this is one of Stipe's least interesting lyrics to me. Or maybe I just think "Bang and Blame" is a crappy title...

"Tongue" is still the best-sounding thing on here to me. A little muffled but a great track and a very different sound for them - there's that plinky piano from "Nightswimming," "Electrolite" and "At My Most Beautiful" but it's playing well off the organ, the little trembles of guitar, and Stipe's falsetto...it's a very pretty sound for a pretty dirty song!

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 14 December 2008 02:10 (ten years ago) link

God bless Mike Mills on "Bang and Blame" though! "BANG!"

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 14 December 2008 02:11 (ten years ago) link

...and man, I forgot about the pointless instrumental between "Bang and Blame" and "I Took Your Name." If anything makes the album too long, it's that.

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 14 December 2008 02:13 (ten years ago) link

yeah, that instrumental does kinda suck! "Bang and Blame" has such a tender vocal, and it's reminding me tonight a little of "Let It Bleed", in the bit about "rub on me", "jump on me", "let go on me": "you can come all over me". Both tunes have pretty exhausted vibes.

Euler, Sunday, 14 December 2008 02:30 (ten years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Monday, 15 December 2008 00:01 (ten years ago) link

Incredibly RONG on the results, guys.

ilxor, Monday, 15 December 2008 00:17 (ten years ago) link

Yeah, but thanks for participating, everybody! I'm just always glad to see oddball album tracks performing so high. Next poll up shortly.

Doctor Casino, Monday, 15 December 2008 00:19 (ten years ago) link

pretty close to right, i think

J0rban Sarggest (some dude), Monday, 15 December 2008 00:20 (ten years ago) link

"Star 69" got no votes and it's the shortest song!

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 15 December 2008 00:22 (ten years ago) link

Deeply enhanced by the misreading on "Kiss This Guy" way back in the day: "I know RuPaul, I know RuPaul..."

Doctor Casino, Monday, 15 December 2008 00:25 (ten years ago) link

Correct order, best to worst:

Let Me In
Tongue
I Don't Sleep, I Dream
You
What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
Circus Envy
King of Comedy
Strange Currencies
Crush With Eyeliner
Bang and Blame
Star 69
I Took Your Name

ilxor, Monday, 15 December 2008 01:05 (ten years ago) link

i disagree but i also just remembered that i do kinda love "I Don't Sleep" and sort of wish i voted for it instead of "Strange Currencies"

J0rban Sarggest (some dude), Monday, 15 December 2008 01:09 (ten years ago) link

Top 2 are right, to my surprise. But I should have voted for the unjustly neglected "Star 69" instead of wasting my vote on Kenneth.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 15 December 2008 01:44 (ten years ago) link

i never thought i'd give this another listen..

used to love "let me in" but the guitar sounds really bad now to my ears.

i still like "what's the frequency," "i don't sleep," and "circus envy," i can leave the rest though...

Matt P, Monday, 15 December 2008 02:09 (ten years ago) link

I mean, the Bill Berry R.E.M.

cpl593H, Thursday, 5 September 2019 22:01 (one week ago) link

Listened to the remixed “what’s the frequency Kenneth,” why would you take out the tremolo bit in the chorus? clearly someone needs to re-remix it to add even more tremolo.

― JoeStork, Thursday, 5 September 2019 07:24 (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

I've got you covered

dorsalstop, Thursday, 5 September 2019 22:04 (one week ago) link

The new remixed version is 20s shorter, weird, song has a cold end too so there must be a few bars missing somewhere.

MaresNest, Thursday, 5 September 2019 22:07 (one week ago) link

Mine is even shorter but it leaves out all the non-essential bits.

dorsalstop, Thursday, 5 September 2019 22:10 (one week ago) link

Wasn’t there a reissue of Music from Big Pink recently where they included a completely new remix for no apparent reason? What a weird trend for reissues

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Thursday, 5 September 2019 23:36 (one week ago) link

I’m no rem stan but the guitar tones in their early jangly stuff or mid point like in “one I love” and “orange crush” for example are so much more crisp, exciting, nuanced, treble happy than the midrange middle aged bloat of Wtf, K

calstars, Friday, 6 September 2019 00:06 (one week ago) link

The fuzz and tremolo on this album are the noise equivalent of the jangle in the early work, c'mon

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 6 September 2019 00:16 (one week ago) link

Pearl Jam remixed Ten by taking off the post-production effects (digital reverb etc.).

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 6 September 2019 00:20 (one week ago) link

and those drum machine intro/outros, no?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 6 September 2019 00:21 (one week ago) link

I believe so. Anything that screamed '1991' (aside from the actual music).

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 6 September 2019 00:28 (one week ago) link

One point about the original Monster album is that it is very well-sequenced.

#YABASIC (morrisp), Friday, 6 September 2019 01:08 (one week ago) link

I hate to be 90s-fankid, but is it likely that "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" was titled to share an acronym with "wtf, Kurt?"

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Friday, 6 September 2019 01:34 (one week ago) link

I mean I know the Dan Rather story of course

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Friday, 6 September 2019 01:36 (one week ago) link

One point about the original Monster album is that it is very well-sequenced.

^ Absolutely.

The big stupid guitars are the best part of this album!

I've got you covered

― dorsalstop,

I'm going to listen to the remaster once tomorrow and then doralstop's remix for the rest of the 7 hours.

pplains, Friday, 6 September 2019 01:36 (one week ago) link

Coulda used a little more tremolo, tho'.

pplains, Friday, 6 September 2019 01:37 (one week ago) link

earned the reputation as one of the most ubiquitously traded-in discs of the CD era.

I scored my copy by accepting it in trade for a copy of Siamese Dream. I originally got Siamese Dream through a trade where I gave up the s/t Social Distortion cd.

pplains, Friday, 6 September 2019 01:41 (one week ago) link

Somehow I never got around until now to listening to live recordings of "Kenneth" to see how Buck did the solo (backwards on the album) in a live context. Pretty interesting to hear the song with an entirely different solo. (I'm too tired to break down whether it is in fact a retrograde.)

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Friday, 6 September 2019 01:50 (one week ago) link

Pretty much agree with calstars. I think if Buck wanted to do a heavier thing, he could have been a little more thoughtful about his tone.

timellison, Friday, 6 September 2019 05:22 (one week ago) link

R.E.M. were such a tight band.

― cpl593H, Thursday, September 5, 2019 3:01 PM (seven hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

I mean, the Bill Berry R.E.M.

― cpl593H, Thursday, September 5, 2019 3:01 PM (seven hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Ugh, the Bill Rieflin R.E.M. were a tight band.

timellison, Friday, 6 September 2019 05:26 (one week ago) link

xp I don’t think he was going for “heavy”; but instead artificial, glammy, whatever. I assume he got the exact tone they wanted for the aesthetic they were going for.

#YABASIC (morrisp), Friday, 6 September 2019 05:31 (one week ago) link

Accelerate is the sound of a band that no longer gaf what their guitars sounded like.

#YABASIC (morrisp), Friday, 6 September 2019 05:36 (one week ago) link

Can't wait for the Exile on Main Street remix where they boost the vocals and take out all the horns.

pplains, Friday, 6 September 2019 11:51 (one week ago) link

^the 2010 remaster added some overdubs(?)

#YABASIC (morrisp), Friday, 6 September 2019 13:19 (one week ago) link

this "Kenneth" remix is like idk okay for the verses, but losing the tremolo is nuts (make it sound like a demo, no call-and-response to the chorus takes away a major hook!). at no point does it sound like an object from 1994. why do that? pretty pointless exercise IMO.

Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Friday, 6 September 2019 13:28 (one week ago) link

Oh wow wtf I do not want to hear that. I don't even really know what the point is of doing a digital remix/remaster of an album that was released in the CD era. I love the guitar tones on this album; they are my favourite aspect (certainly more than Stipe's weird scansion). I didn't think of it as an attempt at 'heavy' at all; closer to their take on shoegaze, maybe. Although it's in some ways v different from the early sound, it was a return of sorts in terms of burying the text a little more.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Friday, 6 September 2019 14:04 (one week ago) link

wow, i love that shoegaze connection. so if anything what would be cool is a remix that tries to make it sound more like loveless... further bury stipe's vocals (turning down the volume and/or adding chorused layers to them), maybe try to muffle the drums... could be amazing

Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Friday, 6 September 2019 14:21 (one week ago) link

Can't wait for the Exile on Main Street remix where they boost the vocals and take out all the horns.

― pplains, Friday, September 6, 2019 6:51 AM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

^the 2010 remaster added some overdubs(?)

― #YABASIC (morrisp), Friday, September 6, 2019 8:19 AM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

They only overdubbed the 'new' songs (which they did again on the Some Girls reissue), going so far as to bring in Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman for recording new parts.

Jagger did say he had to resist the urge to remix and clean-up the original album.

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 6 September 2019 14:45 (one week ago) link

wow, i love that shoegaze connection. so if anything what would be cool is a remix that tries to make it sound more like loveless... further bury stipe's vocals (turning down the volume and/or adding chorused layers to them), maybe try to muffle the drums... could be amazing

― Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Friday, September 6, 2019 10:21 AM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

in other words, make everything sound like "Let Me In"...yeah, i could dig that (and honestly a lot of the rest of the album is already at least halfway there).

Evans on Hammond (evol j), Friday, 6 September 2019 15:58 (one week ago) link

wow what a pointless remix

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:05 (one week ago) link

there's like extra stereo separation going on, they've added some kind of dumbass booming reverb to the drums, idgi

i put on the original right after and thought "wow what a fantastic-sounding song"

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:07 (one week ago) link

Accelerate is the sound of a band that no longer gaf what their guitars sounded like.

I don't think so - that's just...AC30 raunch or whatever it is. Not my favorite R.E.M. record sonically, but neither is Monster! If you guys are objecting to "heavy" as the description of what Buck was doing on Monster, OK, I didn't mean Tony Iommi, but he was definitely using a Marshall and playing with louder, overdriven amp sound.

timellison, Friday, 6 September 2019 16:12 (one week ago) link

i like this album but every song feels too long - i always enjoy the openings but eventually i’m ready for them to end and surprised to see like still 2 minutes to go

Screamin' Jay Gould (The Yellow Kid), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:13 (one week ago) link

Always and forever will love Monster. Whenever I think about how I’d rank REM albums (seems to be an annual activity), I always surprise myself with the realization that Monster is a personal Top 5, maybe Top 3.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:26 (one week ago) link

morrisp otm re: the 'artificial' sounds, it was them forefronting guitars-as-rock-showbiz, is how I always read it

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:29 (one week ago) link

putting stipes vocals upfront doesnt make them any clearer bc its not the mix that makes them difficult to understand, its always his weird cadences and delivery. I get that they need to find/create new content to sell the reissue but that remix is such a strange idea.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:35 (one week ago) link

the flaming lips released a version of clouds taste metallic at one point that was just ronald jones' isolated guitar tracks, they shouldve done something like that

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:36 (one week ago) link

putting stipes vocals upfront doesnt make them any clearer bc its not the mix that makes them difficult to understand, its always his weird cadences and delivery.

Yeah, what I was trying to allude to re his weird scansion. I had no idea he was singing "Richard said 'withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy'" until I read it, not because of the mix but because the lexical stress was so odd. Similarly, I think he accents the first syllable in "expectations" in the line this poll was named after.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:44 (one week ago) link

(Obv, the fact that the lyrics are stuff like "what's the frequency, Kenneth? Is your benzedrine? Uh-huh" doesn't help with ease of comprehension.)

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Friday, 6 September 2019 16:48 (one week ago) link

Always and forever will love Monster. Whenever I think about how I’d rank REM albums (seems to be an annual activity), I always surprise myself with the realization that Monster is a personal Top 5, maybe Top 3.

― sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, September 6, 2019 12:26 PM

Not quite that high for me, but, yes, and their sexiest album.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 6 September 2019 17:28 (one week ago) link

i like this album but every song feels too long - i always enjoy the openings but eventually i’m ready for them to end and surprised to see like still 2 minutes to go

― Screamin' Jay Gould (The Yellow Kid), Friday, September 6, 2019 11:13 AM bookmarkflaglink

This was a fun album to use the "preview" button with.

And the promo video at the link, how many different ways do you think skinny white dudes grabbed the mic stand at the "Michael Stipe" audition?

pplains, Friday, 6 September 2019 18:26 (one week ago) link

The remix does sound more "contemporary" and less nineties, though. Which may have been what they were looking for with this lame thing they delivered.

cpl593H, Friday, 6 September 2019 20:55 (one week ago) link

I suppose the remix for "Crush with eyeliner" will be 4 minutes of silence.

cpl593H, Friday, 6 September 2019 20:56 (one week ago) link

i know it's not but i always heard it as "your Benson dream"

omar little, Friday, 6 September 2019 20:58 (one week ago) link

their sexiest album

And I think it was the first time they ever sang directly about sex? Some of the results were a little, er, dorky ("I've got my telescope head in the haystack"); but it worked overall.

#YABASIC (morrisp), Friday, 6 September 2019 21:10 (one week ago) link

"fuck me, kitten" and all that key-lock stuff wasn't about sex?

dorsalstop, Saturday, 7 September 2019 11:22 (one week ago) link

No. About kittens, duh

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 7 September 2019 11:28 (one week ago) link

I've got my telescope head in the haystack
I'm getting tired of your dodgeball circus act
Put pepper in my coffee, I forgot to bark on command

I never thought of this as a direct song about sex at all?

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Saturday, 7 September 2019 11:59 (one week ago) link

(Admittedly, I also never knew what most of those words were until now. Always thought of it as a hate/jealousy song, though, and that still mostly seems to work, looking over them.)

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Saturday, 7 September 2019 12:01 (one week ago) link

yeah i'm with sund4r there... "telescope head in the haystack" like being on paranoid lookout, alert to everything, but also sifting through irrelevant info (needle in a haystack), or... something

Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 7 September 2019 13:15 (one week ago) link

lol, I always thought it was a cringey sex metaphor, but maybe that’s on me

(Also, mea culpa on “Star Me Kitten” – forgot about that one)

#YABASIC (morrisp), Saturday, 7 September 2019 15:05 (one week ago) link


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