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Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 18:44
by Goat Boy
Released 25 years ago last month. A big album for me at the time but one that faded over the years along with the WB albums in general. I've returned to it a bit recently and think it's actually very good mostly and occasionally great.

When it was released it seemed to be universally declared their masterpiece although on BCB and other places I see the earlier stuff being lauded more these days. It's certainly vastly superior to Green and Out of Time.

There is some lovely stuff on here though. I'm particularly fond of Try Not To Breathe.

What do you think about it now anyway?

I've added a poll as well.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 18:49
by Moleskin
It's probably the best of the WB years, but I'll always prefer the run from Fables to Document (including Dead Letter Office) because that's when I discovered them.

I selected Drive, because it sounds so little like a single, Try Not To Breathe and Nightswimming.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 18:58
by Matt Wilson
Their last really good 'un. Hardly a duff track.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 19:08
by The Great Defector
Shite

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 19:16
by Dr. E. PLATE
Goat Boy wrote:I'm particularly fond of Try Not To Breathe.


Me too.

I don't like the album much overall.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 19:17
by PENK
I used to rate it really highly but... I was young and didn't know better.

I think the songwriting is strong and inventive, and it has more depth than their earlier work (I am very "happy with the best of" when it comes to their indie days), but something about it... Stipe, you know?

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 19:36
by never/ever
It has suffered from over-familiarity but it is definitely one of their best, in terms of song strength and accessibility.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 19:50
by Hugh
Find The River has become the stand out track for me.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 20:14
by Darryl Strawberry
Not a bad song on the thing

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 21:12
by Ranking Ted
It’s a special record, I think, worthy of its status. Agreed it’s their best WB album. While the mysteries of their IRS records still attract and beguile more - and therefore are where I’ll go for an R.E.M. fix - it’s no reflection on the qualities of this one. As for tracks, I’ll go for Try..., Man... and Find...

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 21:29
by Darryl Strawberry
Today it is Drive, Everybody Hurts and Man on the Moon. listened to Everybody Hurts for the first time in ages recently and it blew me away. Made me well up. Beautiful, but possibly damned by over exposure at the time.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 21:58
by the masked man
Still prefer their 80s stuff, but this is a good record. Mostly the singles were the best tracks, with the mysterious atmospheres of Drive the crowning glory.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 22:48
by Samoan
A few songs are a little much when I hear it at times, probably my mood, but overall it's grand.
I chose Sweetness Follows, Find the River and Nightswimming.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 15 Nov 2017, 00:36
by Dayodead
Amazing and risky album...they could have gone in a more pop direction after the chart success of the previous album, but chose to make a somewhat darker, more somber record..Not their best of the WB era (That would be New Adventures in H-Fi), but still stands up to the IRS years nicely...

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 15 Nov 2017, 02:52
by The Write Profile
I've mentioned this before, but I don't think it's that much of a stretch from Murmur/Reckoning to Automatic: the difference is their first two LPs are focused on their own little circle of friends whereas Automatic...is about reaching out to the wider world. I still love parts of Automatic, particularly the moody, circular "Drive", the mournful "Find the River", the yearning "Try Not To Breathe" and the cinematic "Monty Got A Raw Deal". The arrangements make the record in many ways too: I think Stipe found something quite unique in his vocals on this record: they're forceful without being strident or hectoring, and lyrically he had never been more direct.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 15 Nov 2017, 02:56
by Still Baron
I can’t believe so many of you like “Drive” enough to mention it. One of their worst singles and one of the duds on what is otherwise one of their best records.

Find The River
Sweetness Follows
Nightswimming

Had you asked me before everything blew up, I’m sure Man on the Moon or one of the other hits would’ve been in there, but by god I never need to hear some of those songs again.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 15 Nov 2017, 09:46
by Deebank
I like the funereal trio of Try Not To Breathe, Sweetness Follows and Find The River, but I'm not a massive fan. I prefer Out Of Time to this but for me it's really all about their first three or four LPs.

Wasn't there a theory at the time that Stipe had HIV? Whatever, there's a real sense of doomed acceptance on these three songs especially. They do it very well.
'Leave the road and memorise this life that flashed before your eyes'

Gives me shivers.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 15 Nov 2017, 10:48
by Goat Boy
Deebank wrote:I like the funereal trio of Try Not To Breathe, Sweetness Follows and Find The River, but I'm not a massive fan. I prefer Out Of Time to this but for me it's really all about their first three or four LPs.

Wasn't there a theory at the time that Stipe had HIV? Whatever, there's a real sense of doomed acceptance on these three songs especially. They do it very well.
'Leave the road and memorise this life that flashed before your eyes'

Gives me shivers.



There were rumours at the time of general poor health and I do recall AIDS being mentioned. I’m not sure how aware people were of Stipes sexuality back then?

I voted for Drive, Try Not To Breathe and Find The River.

The singles do suffer from being overplayed but then I listened to Sidewinder last night and really enjoyed it. It might be a few years before I can enjoy Man On The Moon again though.

Find The River is one of their greatest songs. I remember playing it to a mate whilst he was on pills and he ended up listening to it about dozen times in a row.

I know people criticise Stipes lyrics but I think he managed to capture something universal on this album with a degree of elegance.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 17 Nov 2017, 18:56
by Polishgirl
I voted Drive, Sidewinder and Swimming, but I love Try Not To Breathe, and nothing is duff; I guess I’ve been put off Everybody Hurts because- inevitably- it’s been hijacked for endless mawkish things.

Sidewinder is just ebullient nonsense which perks up what is otherwise a pretty sombre tone. Drive is a great opener.

Nightswimming - well, it makes my scary no nonsense Yorkshire friend cry, so I’ve got no fucking chance. It’s beautiful.

Re: Automatic For The People

Posted: 18 Nov 2017, 04:05
by Quaco
As I recall, it's one R.E.M. album I can listen to without vomiting.