Tuesday, April 15

R.E.M. - PART 4

Looking back from here, I'm surprised to find that I'm feeling more affection for MONSTER than for NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI. The latter is the "deeper" disc, with a decidedly wider sonic range. But the former is, frankly, more fun.

N.A.I.H.-F. suffers from some clunky and/or generic rockers ("Undertow," "Binky the Doormat," "Low Desert"), a rather bland folk number ("New Test Leper"), and a highly unexceptional ballad ("Be Mine"). Granted, I'm hard-pressed to find anything positive to say about "King of Comedy"; "Strange Currencies" is essentially "Everybody Hurts, Part 2"; and "I Took Your Name" and "Crush With Eyeliner" sound rather lazily alike. But I'm willing to forgive MONSTER its trespasses. (Hell, I'm even quite fond of the orange packaging and the rather adorably dumb 'n' fuzzy bear-head cover. But that's just me....)


From the LP MONSTER, 1994 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Star 69"
MP3] "Let Me In"
MP3] "I Took Your Name"

From the LP NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI, 1996 >>>
MP3] [VID] "E-Bow the Letter" [w/PATTI SMITH]
MP3] "Leave"
MP3] [VID] "Electrolite"


Neil Cake said...

Bland? "New Test Leper" is the best song on New Adventures. In fact it's the best song out of all the ones on those two albums.

Allen L. said...

REM had a lot of good currency after A4TP. Monster was supposed to bring back the rock. To call it a disappointment is to really undermine the truth of the piece. And it's an understatement. Riding on such a high from the massive hits two years earlier, Monster was able to secure a lot of airplay and sales. But, NAiHF. Blech. As a lifer I bought it the week it came out. My response to someone who asked how it was?: "I wish REM would stop recording their sound checks." And this was before I knew that the album was exactly that. It's not unlistenable. It's just a harbinger of what was to come: Ten years of experimental, drowsy, meandering crap. Truth is, REM has always had a bunch of clunkers on their albums. They represented an "idea" as much as they did quality.

bathtubhippo said...

hm, i actually would rank new adventures as the 2nd best warner bros era release behind AftP. sure, the production's a bit flat given all the soundcheck recordings, but "e-bow the letter" and "electrolite" are gorgeous songs...and where some of their latter day experiments droned on or missed the mark, songs like "how the west was won" score big for me.

Anonymous said...

Monster remains my favourite REM album, for only one reason, albeit a good one: the guitar. 'Bang and Blame' is great and 'I Took Your Name' is even better. I wish they would have stretched it to 15 minutes. You wouldn't need anything else. The truth about REM, in my mind at least, is that it is all about the guitar. If Buck's guitar is good, then REM is good. If not...

Roger Grund (www.myspace.com/rogergrund)