I was an R.E.M. nut for a long time. Monster was the first record that didn’t slay me. It was good. Parts of it were outstanding. Overall though… it just didn’t do it for me. I mean, none of their records were perfect… well… Pageant and Document and Reckoning and Automatic were kinda perfect, but it wasn’t all that unusual for an album to have a weak moment or two. Monster didn’t have any duds per se, nothing awful like Stand or Shiny Happy People or Radio Song, but somehow as a whole it didn’t stand up for me.
They just released a 25th anniversary edition, which in itself is terrible because 25 years? Are you kidding me? I’ve been listening to it and maybe it’s the passage of time, or maybe I’m just not as critical or cynical as I used to be, but it’s working for me much more than it used to. The outtakes are all fluff. There’s nothing that makes me think it should have made the cut. In fact, I don’t think any of them are even close to finished. How many had vocals? One? Two? I haven’t gotten to the live stuff yet (actually, the first live track just started playing in my headphones as I write this) so I have no thoughts on that.
The remixes are pretty different than the original release. There’s probably a good story there, but I don’t know it.
Give it a listen. Pretend you’re 25 years younger than you are today and rock out to R.E.M. at their most rawker.
PS: I don’t know why I embedded the Spotify player. I don’t think it will work unless you’re signed in, and why on Earth would you do that? I keep doing it though… and probably will do it more in the future. Jerk.