Tuesday, October 6, 1992

R.E.M. released Automatic for the People: October 6, 1992

Originally posted 10/6/11. Updated 2/28/13.

image from mawjiatalks.wordpress.com

Release date: 6 October 1992
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Drive (10/3/92, #28 US, #11 UK, #2 AR, #1 MR) / Try Not to Breathe / The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite (2/20/93, #17 UK, #28 AR, #24 MR) / Everybody Hurts (4/17/93, #29 US, #7 UK, #21 MR) / New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 / Sweetness Follows / Monty Got a Raw Deal / Ignoreland (11/21/92, #4 AR, #5 MR) / Star Me Kitten / Man on the Moon (11/28/92, #30 US, #18 UK, #46 AC, #4 AR, #2 MR) / Nightswimming (7/24/93, #27 UK) / Find the River (12/11/93, #54 UK)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 2.27 UK, 16.9 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 2 US, 14 UK


Review: “Continuing to specialize in the art of curve-throwing, R.E.M. followed up its 1991 smash, Out of TimeSK with a return “to their earlier sound” BL “with this fragile album of soft melodies and string arrangements” SK intertwined within “poetically introspective songs.” MJ Automatic for the People “followed its predecessor by a mere 18 months, but remarkably, the tone is vastly different” MJ as the band turned away from “from the sweet pop of Out of TimeAMG to create a “haunting, melancholy masterpiece. At its core, the album is a collection of folk songs about aging, death and loss, but the music has a grand, epic sweep provided by layers of lush strings, interweaving acoustic instruments and shimmering keyboards.” AMG “With Peter Buck still fiddling with his mandolin from the Out of Time sessions, Mike Mills using the keyboards more actively, and Bill Berry stepping up on bass more often than before, it’s not surprising that Michael Stipe was writing and singing with such melancholy.” PS

Automatic for the People “captures the group at a crossroads, as they moved from cult heroes to elder statesmen, and the album is a graceful transition.” AMG It “doesn’t just prove that R.E.M. have stood the test of time, it proves to be R.E.M.’s finest moment.” PS It is their “most emotional, most human album.” BL It is “reflective…with frank discussions on mortality, but it is not a despairing record…R.E.M. have never been as emotionally direct…nor have they ever created music quite as rich and timeless…while the record is not an easy listen, it is the most rewarding record in their oeuvre.” AMG It is “a classic of modern rock.” CD

Highlights include “the rock-into-oblivion Drive,” SK one of the quartet’s strongest hits. SK It is marked by “some nice mandolin” AD and an “ominous death march intro.” PS The opening line, ‘Hey, kids, rock and roll,’ isn’t so much a rallying cry as an expression of anxiety.” SK

“The empathetic Andy Kaufman tribute Man on the Moon,” BL “is a perfect REM pop song, and very happy sounding too.” AD On the other hand, “the sympathetic ballad Everybody Hurts AD taps into more painful emotions. It “must have prevented countless suicide attempts.” SK

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