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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Automatic For The People: Themes Of Mortality & Dying Resurrected On REM Reissue

REM frontman Michael Stipe has reflected that the band's seminal album, Automatic For The People, concerns topics of "mortality and dying," but he further notes, "mortality is a theme that writers have chosen to work with throughout time." 

"It speaks of the fragility and beauty of life and living life to the fullest in the present moment. It happens all too quickly and we all know that." bassist Mike Mills asserts, "I think it's our most cohesive record…It's the strongest from first to last."

And now the band are reissuing the album to commemorate the title's 25th Anniversary.

The four-disc Deluxe Edition will offer a wealth of previously unreleased material. 

The band selected twenty never-before-heard demos from the LP's sessions, including the fully-realized, unreleased track Mike's Pop Song and the oft-mused about song, Devil Rides Backwards. 

Mike Mills hadn't heard this demo for 25 years and admits it was "a very pleasant surprise". With a lovely, upbeat melody, not unlike the classic Near Wild Heaven.

Following the success of their multiplatinum Out of Time in 1991, the band's reputation was skyrocketing with critics and fans alike. 

However, R.E.M.'s decision not to tour behind it, and with no plan to tour its successor, the band chose to push further into unexplored sonic territory. 

The recording was thus characterised by experimentation and playfulness in the studio resulting in a largely acoustic sound full of eerie and ambiguous commentary on the nature of mainstream fame they"d recently found. 

To this day, songs like "Everybody Hurts," "Drive," "Nightswimming" and "Man on the Moon," as well as lesser known but sublime songs like "Try Not To Breathe" and "Monty Got a Raw Deal," still resonate throughout the collective music and pop culture.

Formed in 1980, the legendary group went on to win multiple Grammys and produce 15 studio albums, plus many others including greatest hits and live documents. 

Noted for both their profound contributions to the alternative rock genre and their status as one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time, the band's three-decade long career remains a legacy of music that defined an era and a model for musicians paving their own career path. R.E.M. (comprised of Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe) was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 before disbanding amicably in 2011.

For more info on the reissue of REM's Automatic For The People CLICK HERE

by: Mike Cobley

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