R.E.M. Green

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Still Baron
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R.E.M. Green

Postby Still Baron » 08 Nov 2019, 04:06

Released on this day (that's about to end) in 1988.


People don't talk about this one much anymore, do they? It came out at a strange time, and maybe R.E.M. embodied the shifting sands of our kind of thing in the late 80s. This seemed like the biggest thing in my world for a time, but who could've known that what was around the corner would dwarf it as "alternative" music, or whatever it was, really did take over the world for a few years. It didn't happen quite yet at this point. The late 80s were still pretty interesting as there were so many disparate and weird things going on that didn't seem connected yet.

I guess it was a strange time to be an REM fan as well. I have mused elsewhere that this was probably where they definitively lost a large chunk of their early audience. But me? I was 14 and it sounded pretty fucking righteous to me. They were really important to me around then.

There's lots to like on this record, but I don't blame those who find lots to dislike. All of REM's best and worst tendencies (post Fables) are found on this record, from the bombastic rock numbers to the cloying pop numbers to the humorless dirges. I hadn't listened to it (or much post Fables) REM in a long time. I'm finding my way back into it and some of it is surprisingly comfortable for me.
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Charlie O.
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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby Charlie O. » 08 Nov 2019, 06:09

It was their first album for a proper major label (IRS was technically an indie with major distribution), it was reported (rumored?) that they'd got several million dollars for signing to Warners, and when I finally heard it I thought they had robbed the bank. I seriously believed with all my heart that they had deliberately made a shitty album just to make their mint and now that they had it they'd probably break up.

Within... I dunno, a couple of months?... I'd done a one-eighty on it.

I don't love it quite as much as the first few, but I do love it.

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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby robertff » 08 Nov 2019, 07:08

Never really had a problem with it.


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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby C » 08 Nov 2019, 07:53

I have always really enjoyed it.

One of about two or three of theirs that I play from time to time

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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby soundchaser » 08 Nov 2019, 09:39

I didn’t really know about R.E.M until Shiny Happy People was a hit: I was really surprised to find that the girl singer was not in the band when I bought Out Of Time...oops. I think the OPs assessment of Green is pretty spot on and for that reason, I don’t play it very much. When I want an R.E.M fix, I’m usually drawn to New Adventures In Hi-Fi, which is just a flat out great album.

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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby Deebank » 08 Nov 2019, 12:38

I haven't listened to Green in decades.

I think this is where it all went wrong for me.
I'd been a huge fan until this point - I was still a fan post Green, but they'd lost some of what made them so great - a process that I think started after Fables really.

I went to see them on the Green tour and it had all got a bit Peter Gabriel / U2 for my liking. Again though, I still enjoyed it, but they didn't sound half as good as they did on the live bootlegs I had from the earlier days. A mate of mine saw them on the Fables tour and I was envious.

There's no real criticism here though, bands have to move on and develop and they certainly had some good stuff left in them, it didn't all go totally to shit and they improved on Out of Time and AFTP but the real solid gold nuggets were in the past at this point.

Their first on a major label of course...
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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby Kinkhurt » 08 Nov 2019, 13:06

Green is a funny old album, its where a lot of old timers parted company with them, I did - but I don't think its a bad album. Lots of things changed - the soundscape is a lot more complex, they weren't a simple 4 piece on record anymore and that lost me - plus you could hear Stipe's lyrics, they even printed WLP's on the inside cover - heresy! REM lost some mystique with this record, known as 'maturing' in some parts, 'selling out' in others.

The track ordering is weird it could esily be an album of 2 clear halves -
Pop Song, Get Up, Stand,Orange Crush, World Leader, Inside -> You, Wrong Child, Hairshirt, California, Untitled

the way its sequenced is weird - its part amped-up Document, part boutique Fables, which is no bad thing I just don't think the 2 components mix that well.

I prefer the Fables based stuff to my ears they're playing to their strengths the songs have atmosphere and depth. It sounds like REM - the strength is in the composition rather than the musicianship. California is the highlight of that set , You are Everything ranks next to Flowers of Guatemala for me - just optimal REM, class. Wrong Child is an awkward thing - a bit atonal and almost outstays its welcome - good to have it there though.

The Document based tracks make them sound like a conventional rock band and it weakens them, I think you have to have more muso-chops to play that stuff, its too obvious. U2 are a similar band, if they're "being U2" so-to-speak, they're untouchable, if they're being a rock band - doing covers, or twatting about with 'Rattle and Hum' style material they just sound mediocre. Orange Crush is the exception though, the One I Love on steroids,they tapped lightening that day.

I saw them on the Green tour a few times but the Pink Pop festival gig on that tour was the best I saw them, ever - I've seen them in shitty clubs and refectories and a few enormodomes but that day they were massive - the sound, backdrop visuals, Stipe aloofness, Buck being a rock star, weird covers -optimal REM for sure.
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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby Hightea » 08 Nov 2019, 14:43

Early fan of REM saw them in the club days. Green was more an experimental album for REM they seemed to be looking for a new direction after their success with Document. I think this album turned off their early year fans, but I wasn't one of them although I did find the album had a few clunkers. Pop song 89 was a turnoff for me at the time but Orange Crush, Turn You Inside-Out, Get Up and You Are the Everything were and still are all gems. Untitled is the band having fun as they all changed instruments. Saw them play untitled as the last song on the Green tour in Mass, crazy show they were on fire that night much better than the next days show at MSG. It was odd to see REM on this tour as they were now turning into more of an art and pop band with actual hit songs, different instruments and projections. That would go even further on their next album.

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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby Mike Boom » 08 Nov 2019, 15:01

Great album - has some of their very best stuff on it, like Hairshirt, California, Untitled.
The concert video Tourfilm is also excellent.

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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby Matt Wilson » 08 Nov 2019, 20:56


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Re: R.E.M. Green

Postby Six String » 11 Nov 2019, 17:01

I stopped listening/buying at this point so I don't know the album very well though I've obviously heard some tracks. They were a breath of fresh air when they arrived but I never cared for their major label work, what little I heard to be fair.