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R.E.M. - Monster (25th Anniversary Edition)

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Monster (25th Anniversary Edition)

R.E.M.

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A brilliant distillation of '90s alt-rock. A crass and noisy attempt to cash in on grunge. A band in need of rock tunes for an upcoming tour after six years off the road. The fact that R.E.M.'s ninth album Monster can after still inspire such polarities is proof enough that it's worth a fresh listen. New mixes by Scott Litt, a trove of demos and a 1995 live show from Chicago featuring mostly a post-I.R.S. years setlist fills out the portrait of the 25th Anniversary reissue of one of R.E.M.'s most contentious albums.

With liner notes in which Peter Buck admits, "We wanted to get away from who we were," Monster 25 is the sound not only of Buck, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Bill Berry pondering what it means to suddenly be rock stars, but also of a band deep in one of those periodic left turns that artists need to pass through or call it quits. And while the lyrics are typical Stipe-ian jabberwocky mangled further by vocals buried in the original mix, it's Peter Buck's ever-present guitar, bashing out crunchy power chords bathed in delay, reverb and buzzsaw distortion, that remains the album's most controversial aspect as he ditches his former loyalty to acoustic textures and intricate arrangements for an overdriven, rocked up Cobain-life heft and snarl that's fiercely front and center in the mix.

The remixed album is a very different experience from the original: the instrumental parts are now clearly delineated, instead of a blurry, roaring mix. "Tongue" drops the four beat count off in favor of a simple piano and loud tambourine. The organ, which was prominent in the original, has been lowered in the remix. "Circus Envy's" sizzling guitar distortion has been dialed back and Berry's drums have been pulled forward. Most noticeable of all are Stipe's vocals, some of which are entirely different takes from the original album's. "Crush with Eyeliner" begins with Stipe voicing an unaccompanied "la, la, la" and continues with a more stylized T. Rex and Iggy Pop-influenced vocal take than the original. Some of the changes are outright deletions. Buck's organ in "Let Me In," and his choppy guitar part in "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", and the percussion in "You" are completely gone. These changes are needed context, connecting the album to the band's musical progression and in the process making it seem less like an outlier. © Robert Baird / Qobuz

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Monster (25th Anniversary Edition)

R.E.M.

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1
What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (Remix) 00:03:39

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

2
Crush With Eyeliner (Remix) 00:04:35

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Thurston Moore, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

3
King Of Comedy (Remix) 00:04:00

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sally Dworsky, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

4
I Don’t Sleep, I Dream (Remix) 00:03:56

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

5
Star 69 (Remix) 00:03:07

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

6
Strange Currencies (Remix) 00:03:52

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

7
Tongue (Remix) 00:04:00

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

8
Bang And Blame (Remix) 00:05:12

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sally Dworsky, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

9
I Took Your Name (Remix) 00:04:02

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

10
Let Me In (Remix) 00:03:08

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

11
Circus Envy (Remix) 00:04:15

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

12
You (Remix) 00:04:50

Bill Berry, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Mills, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., Producer, Recording Producer, MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - William Berry, ComposerLyricist - SCOTT LITT, Producer, Recording Producer - Clif Norrell, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2019 R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., Under exclusive license to Craft Recordings. Manufactured and Distributed by Concord.

Album Description

A brilliant distillation of '90s alt-rock. A crass and noisy attempt to cash in on grunge. A band in need of rock tunes for an upcoming tour after six years off the road. The fact that R.E.M.'s ninth album Monster can after still inspire such polarities is proof enough that it's worth a fresh listen. New mixes by Scott Litt, a trove of demos and a 1995 live show from Chicago featuring mostly a post-I.R.S. years setlist fills out the portrait of the 25th Anniversary reissue of one of R.E.M.'s most contentious albums.

With liner notes in which Peter Buck admits, "We wanted to get away from who we were," Monster 25 is the sound not only of Buck, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Bill Berry pondering what it means to suddenly be rock stars, but also of a band deep in one of those periodic left turns that artists need to pass through or call it quits. And while the lyrics are typical Stipe-ian jabberwocky mangled further by vocals buried in the original mix, it's Peter Buck's ever-present guitar, bashing out crunchy power chords bathed in delay, reverb and buzzsaw distortion, that remains the album's most controversial aspect as he ditches his former loyalty to acoustic textures and intricate arrangements for an overdriven, rocked up Cobain-life heft and snarl that's fiercely front and center in the mix.

The remixed album is a very different experience from the original: the instrumental parts are now clearly delineated, instead of a blurry, roaring mix. "Tongue" drops the four beat count off in favor of a simple piano and loud tambourine. The organ, which was prominent in the original, has been lowered in the remix. "Circus Envy's" sizzling guitar distortion has been dialed back and Berry's drums have been pulled forward. Most noticeable of all are Stipe's vocals, some of which are entirely different takes from the original album's. "Crush with Eyeliner" begins with Stipe voicing an unaccompanied "la, la, la" and continues with a more stylized T. Rex and Iggy Pop-influenced vocal take than the original. Some of the changes are outright deletions. Buck's organ in "Let Me In," and his choppy guitar part in "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", and the percussion in "You" are completely gone. These changes are needed context, connecting the album to the band's musical progression and in the process making it seem less like an outlier. © Robert Baird / Qobuz

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