Out of Time R.E.M.
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- 1Radio Song04:15
- 2Losing My Religion04:28
- 4Near Wild Heaven03:19
- 6Shiny Happy People03:46
- 8Half A World Away03:29
- 10Country Feedback04:09
- 11Me In Honey04:09
Info for Out of Time
After putting Athens, GA, on the musical map in the early '80s, R.E.M. went on to become one of the world's biggest bands. Fusing folk, garage rock, pop sensibilities, and insightful lyrics delivered with Michael Stipe's inimitable lead vocals, these alt-rock forefathers built a massive indie following, and in 1988 unleashed their major-label debut, Warner Bros. Green. This roots rock tour de force was followed in '91 by the Grammy-winning #1 blockbuster Out of Time, which led to an ongoing stream of masterpieces.
'Yes, it's a departure, but no, it's not so radical a departure that it is unrecognizable as R.E.M. Out of Time moves this unconventional band another step forward; a discernible connection to past records remains, but it is not constricting. The point is that R.E.M. has done it again: defied and fulfilled the conflicting expectation of a broad, mainstream audience and a smaller, more demanding — and possessive — cult. This may well be America's best rock & roll band, as this magazine's cover once proclaimed, but the group would probably wave off that honorific. Surely, however, R.E.M. is America's most resourceful rock & roll band.
R.E.M.'s greatest resource is its four members — not their musicianship, in technical terms, so much as the ideas and personalities that they express through their music — and they've remained unerringly true to their instincts. Such fidelity is difficult to maintain amid critical acclaim and climbing sales figures, which you'd expect might lead them self-consciously to break with or replicate a successful formula. But R.E.M., unpredictable and self-invented, has always operated more on intuition than formulas. This band does not carry a map, and not knowing what lies around the next curve is part of the fascination and fun of following R.E.M.
Musically, Out of Time is R.E.M.'s most baroque album; it breaks out of the guitar-bass-drums-voice format to make room for everything from harpsichord and strings, on 'Half a World Away,' to funky, Jimmy Smith-style organ and a cameo rap by KRS-One of Boogie Down Productions, on 'Radio Song.' The songs are enriched, not cluttered, by these embellishments. Kate Pierson of the B-52's sings on three numbers, shining on the roistering folk-country duet 'Me in Honey,' and Peter Holsapple, the former dB's leader who accompanied the band on its last tour, lends a hand here and there on guitar and bass.
All of this indicates that R.E.M. is no longer a closed circle, and the outreach allows the group to broaden its scope without diluting its essential character. As on Document and Green, the band and Scott Litt share the production credit on Out of Time, and despite the added flourishes the album is certainly not overproduced. There's no superficial glazing, and the raw, unvarnished content of the songs cuts through. The strings convey emotion, whether they are as sepulchral as doomsday ('Low') or as lithe as springtime ('Near Wild Heaven'). Even when instruments are layered upon one another, as in the subtle swell of strings, guitars and mandolins on the existentially despondent 'Losing My Religion,' they make a point. That point is 'Life gets bigger,' and R.E.M. deals with life's billowing complexities throughout Out of Time.
The band members, especially bassist Mike Mills, move outside of their prescribed roles to experiment a little. Mills, for instance, pumps up the jam on 'Radio Song,' ripping into its prickly innards on organ, while guitarist Peter Buck creates sparks with his serrated 'Fame'-style attack and drummer Bill Berry syncopates like an honorary Funkadelic. Mills's organ also sets the funereal mood of 'Low,' on which Berry can be heard tapping congas, and Buck's stinging sustain drenches 'Country Feedback' in plaintive, rippling waves of sound.
As the instrumentalists open themselves up, singer Michael Stipe bares his soul. He's long since stopped concealing his identity in an artful murmur, of course, but the extent to which, on Out of Time, he unburdens himself of doubt, disappointment and bile — and suggest maybe just a faint ray of cock-eyed hope — is nothing short of revelatory. Except for 'Endgame' and a strange, fable-like ramble entitled 'Belong,' all of the album is sung in the first person. Every song has an 'I,' 'me,' 'my' or 'mine' in it, and there's often a 'you' as well. Even 'Radio Song,' an in-your-face number that makes an objective statement about the world outside the self, springs from a subjective reaction: 'I tried to sing along, but damn that radio's song!' Most of the time, Stipe waxes downbeat, sounding 'low low low' and outcast. He sings, 'This could be the saddest dusk I've ever seen,' on 'Half a World Away,' and 'It's all the same, the same, a shame, for me,' on 'Me in Honey.' Technically, he has never sounded better, singing with surety, power and control. He dissects interpersonal relationships with a resigned sense of inevitability, filling songs with concrete details and unsparing analysis: 'It's crazy what you could have had/I mean it, I need this,' he sings with mounting emotion in 'Country Feedback.' The effect is arresting; his verisimilitude can't be denied, because his voice insists on it.
In contrast, there's the heavenly pop chorale of 'Near Wild Heaven' (recalling nothing quite so much as 'Good Vibration'-era Beach Boys) and the breezy, evocative 'Endgame,' the former largely sung by Mills and the latter mostly played by Buck. Stipe himself gets joyful, or appears to, on 'Shiny Happy People,' which commences with a sprightly waltz figure, then is yoked by a spunky riff from Buck before Stipe chimes in: 'Meet me in the crowd/ People, people/Throw your love around/ Love me, love me/ Take it into town/Happy, happy/Put it in the ground where the flowers grow.' These are either the most absurdly sunny or bitingly cynical lyrics he's ever written, and your guess is as good as mine or maybe even Stipe's. More characteristic of 'Out of Time ' is 'Half a World Away,' in which urgent, minor-key music is married to doleful words as the singer steels himself 'to go it alone and hold it alone, haul it along and hold it.'
The songs on Out of Time are seemingly small scale in their first-person obsessions, but their meanings spread out to encompass shared feelings of dread, loneliness, anomie and a growing loss of faith. There are no treatises on ecology or foreign policy, no oblique strategies or hidden agendas. There doesn't have to be; all of that is implicit in the atmosphere of entropy, of things falling apart, that's evoked and detailed candidly, with glimmering beauty and unsurpassable sadness, on Out of Time.' (Parke Puterbaugh, Rolling Stone Magazine)
Bill Berry, drums, piano, vocals
Peter Buck, guitars, mandolin
Mike Mills, bass, organ, piano, harpsichord, vocals (lead vocal on 'Near Wild Heaven' and 'Texarkana')
Michael Stipe, lead vocals, bass melodica
KRS-One, vocals on 'Radio Song
Kate Pierson, vocals on 'Shiny Happy People' and (tracks 10, 11)
Peter Holsapple, bass (tracks 1, 3) acoustic guitar (tracks 2, 6, 9) electric guitar (track 7)
Scott Litt, echo-loop feed (track 1)
John Keane, pedal steel guitar (track 9, 10)
Kidd Jordan, baritone saxophone (tracks 1, 4), tenor saxophone (tracks 1, 5), alto saxophone track 1), bass clarinet (tracks 3, 5)
Cecil Welch, flugelhorn (track 5)
Mark Bingham, string arrangements (tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Dave Kempers, violin
David Braitberg, violin
David Arenz, violin
Ellie Arenz, violin
Paul Murphy, lead viola
Reid Harris, viola
Andrew Cox, cello
Elizabeth Murphy, cello
Ralph Jones, double bass
Produced by: Scott Litt & R.E.M.
Engineer: Scott Litt, John Keane
Masterd by: Stephen Marcussen, Precision Mastering, California
Mixed at Paisley Park Studios, Minnesota
Recorded: Bearsville Studios, Woodstock, NY, Sep-Oct 1990
were an alternative rock band formed in Athens, Georgia, United States in 1980. The band originally consisted of Michael Stipe (vocals), Peter Buck (guitar, mandolin), Mike Mills (bass, keyboards, vocals) and Bill Berry (drums). Berry retired from the band in October 1997 after having suffered a brain aneurysm in 1995.
R.E.M. released its first single, 'Radio Free Europe', in 1981 on the independent record label Hib-Tone. The single was followed by the Chronic Town EP in 1982, the band's first release on I.R.S. Records. In 1983, the group released its critically acclaimed debut album, Murmur, and built its reputation over the next few years through subsequent releases, constant touring, and the support of college radio. Following years of underground success, R.E.M. achieved a mainstream hit in 1987 with the single 'The One I Love'. The group signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1988, and began to espouse political and environmental concerns while playing large arenas worldwide.
By the early 1990s, when alternative rock began to experience broad mainstream success, R.E.M. was viewed as a pioneer of the genre and released its two most commercially successful albums, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), which veered from the band's established sound. R.E.M.'s 1994 release, Monster, was a return to a more rock-oriented sound. The band began its first tour in six years to support the album; the tour was marred by medical emergencies suffered by three band members. In 1996, R.E.M. re-signed with Warner Bros. for a reported US$80 million, at the time the most expensive recording contract in history. The following year, Bill Berry left the band, while Buck, Mills, and Stipe continued the group as a three-piece. Through some changes in musical style, the band continued its career into the next decade with mixed critical and commercial success. In 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Work on the group's fourteenth album commenced in early 2007. The band recorded with producer Jacknife Lee in Vancouver and Dublin, where it played five nights in the Olympia Theatre between June 30 and July 5 as part of a 'working rehearsal'. R.E.M. Live, the band's first live album (featuring songs from a 2005 Dublin show), was released in October 2007. The group followed this with the 2009 live album Live at The Olympia, which features performances from their 2005 residency. R.E.M. released Accelerate in early 2008. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard charts, and became the band's eighth album to top the British album charts. Rolling Stone reviewer David Fricke considered Accelerate an improvement over the band's previous post-Berry albums, calling it 'one of the best records R.E.M. have ever made.'
In 2010, R.E.M. released the video album R.E.M. Live from Austin, TX—a concert recorded for Austin City Limits in 2008. The group recorded its fifteenth album, Collapse into Now (2011), with Jacknife Lee in locales including Berlin, Nashville, and New Orleans. For the album, the band aimed for a more expansive sound than the intentionally short and speedy approach implemented on Accelerate. The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200, becoming the group's tenth album to reach the top ten of the chart. This release fulfilled R.E.M.'s contractual obligations to Warner Bros., and they began recording material without a contract a few months later with the possible intention of self-releasing the work.
On September 21, 2011, the band announced via its website that it was 'calling it a day as a band'. Stipe said that he hoped their fans realized it 'wasn't an easy decision': 'All things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.' Long-time associate and former Warner Bros. Senior Vice President of Emerging Technology Ethan Kaplan has speculated that shake-ups at the record label influenced the group's decision to disband. The band members will finish their collaboration by assembling the compilation album Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011, scheduled for release in November 2011. The album will be the first to collect songs from R.E.M.'s I.R.S. and Warner Bros. tenures, as well as the group's final studio recordings from post-Collapse into Now sessions.
On 21 September 2011, after over 30 years together, R.E.M. announced that they had split up. (Source: artists.letssingit.com)
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