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Automatic for the People

Automatic for the People

4.8 8
by R.E.M.

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OK, so they're not simply shiny, happy people, but then R.E.M. never really were. The quartet responded to the immense commercial success of 1991's OUT OF TIME (almost overnight by record industry standards) with this collection of poetically introspective songs. AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE followed its predecessor by a mere 18 months, but remarkably, the tone is vastly


OK, so they're not simply shiny, happy people, but then R.E.M. never really were. The quartet responded to the immense commercial success of 1991's OUT OF TIME (almost overnight by record industry standards) with this collection of poetically introspective songs. AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE followed its predecessor by a mere 18 months, but remarkably, the tone is vastly different. Lush and serene where OUT OF TIME is lean and perky, AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE is in many ways a continuation of the "unplugged" tour that preceded its sessions. However, the arrangements are more precise and meticulous. "Drive" and "Man on the Moon" are major highlights, while "Everybody Hurts" quickly became a theme for headline variations everywhere. More than ever, this recording shows that R.E.M. could handle the pressures of superstardom with a minimum of obdurate insolence.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Turning away from the sweet pop of Out of Time, R.E.M. created a haunting, melancholy masterpiece with Automatic for the People. At its core, the album is a collection of folk songs about aging, death, and loss, but the music has a grand, epic sweep provided by layers of lush strings, interweaving acoustic instruments, and shimmering keyboards. Automatic for the People captures the group at a crossroads, as they moved from cult heroes to elder statesmen, and the album is a graceful transition into their new status. It is a reflective album, with frank discussions on mortality, but it is not a despairing record -- "Nightswimming," "Everybody Hurts," and "Sweetness Follows" have a comforting melancholy, while "Find the River" provides a positive sense of closure. R.E.M. have never been as emotionally direct as they are on Automatic for the People, nor have they ever created music quite as rich and timeless, and while the record is not an easy listen, it is the most rewarding record in their oeuvre.

Product Details

Release Date:
Concord Records


Album Credits

Performance Credits

R.E.M.   Primary Artist
John Paul Jones   Performing Ensemble
Peter Buck   Guitar,Group Member
Knox Chandler   Cello
Patti Gouvas   Violin
George Hanson   Conductor
Reid Harris   Viola
Kathleen Kee   Cello
Daniel Lauter   Cello
Scott Litt   Harmonica,Contrabass Clarinet,Clavinet
Mike Mills   Bass
Elizabeth Murphy   Cello
Heidi Nitchie   Viola
Lonnie Ottzen   Violin
Sandy Salzinger   Violin
Michael Stipe   Vocals,Group Member
Sou-Chun Su   Violin
Judy Taylor   Violin
Deborah Workman   Oboe
Bill Berry   Drums
Denise Berginson-Smith   Violin
Lonnie Ditzen   Violin
Bertis Downs   Track Performer
Jefferson Holt   Track Performer
Jody Taylor   Violin
Paul Murphy   Leader,Viola
Daniel Laufer   Cello
Elizabeth Proctor Murphy   Cello

Technical Credits

Mark Howard   Engineer
Ed Brooks   Engineer
George Cowan   Engineer
John Keane   Engineer
Scott Litt   Producer
Clif Norrell   Engineer
R.E.M.   Producer
Michael Stipe   Art Direction
Tom Recchion   Art Direction
Ted Malia   Engineer
Andrew Roshberg   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Automatic for the People 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
REM are the only band that can make you sing "I beleive in coyotes and time as an abstract" in the shower without feeling just a little bit self concious- the only band who can sing Stand, a song they have admitted is "the stupidist thing" they ever wrote, with the same passion and truth as the very personal song of crisis, Losing My Religion. In that same manner they approach the issues of death and human fragility on their folk/rock masterpiece, Automatic For The People. I don't know exactly what weaves this albums magic, is it Peter Bucks understated acoustic playing? Or is it his meaty feedback guitars that seem to appear all over the album? Is it Mills considered bass work, like the double basslines in New Orleans Instrumental? Is it Berry's sure mastery of the drum kit, playing a de-emphasized backbeat on Man On The Moon? Is it Stipes lyrics, some of his most poetic and emotional- or is it his awesome delivery of them, such as the aggrivation on Drive, or the earnest turns on Find The River and Sidewinder? One thing is for sure, its the culmination of their talent, taking the studio band ethic of Out Of Time, the southerness of Fables, the statements of Lifes Rich Pageant and Document and mixing them into a heady beverage you could marinate in daily. I guarantee this album most definitely will become one of your favourites.
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
This is the Best album from a group that knows how to make great albums. It's a joy to hear.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I already had this in cassette (yes, that ages me but I'm a fan from way back), and I bought the CD knowing all the songs well and loving it so it's well worth it. What can you say about the first song (Drive). I love the guitar solo throughout the song, though that's not all there is to the song. You have to hear it, awesome song! I would have bought it just for that song, but I got to know and love all the other songs and now I cannot do without Michael Stipe's mournful voice or the music and the guitars. Just listen to the last song (The River). It's the kind of song that the more you hear it the more you love it. It speaks to your soul. This CD has some of the great hits like "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite", "Everybody Hurts", and "Man on the Moon" (a masterpiece). I'd recommend this CD to anyone. If you've never heard them you would get to love them. The good thing about buying a CD is you discover gems like "Night Swimming" and "The River" that you get to love and even can't do without. I like the cover picture and I love the story about how they got the name for the CD. They were in a small town and found a restaurant with that name, Automatic for the people. They asked the owner about it and he said he named it so because that's how he felt. They asked him for permission to use the name and he gave it. They mention him and the restaurant in the CD Credits. I love this CD! In fact, it's one for my favorites. If I had to dwindle down my possessions, this one I'd keep. If I lost it, I'd buy it again. Hope this helps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Beginning with "Drive" Automatic for the People grabs you and doesn't let you go. It is haunting and memorable. The best of REM and a representation of introspective rock at its peak.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Messrs. Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe have reached their ne plus ultra with this album, offering up death, loss, and grief, but conversely giving us rays of hope within the dark clouds. The largely acoustic instrumentation conjures up the gravity of the subject matter convincingly; Peter Buck weaves his acoustic and electric guitars, plus mandolin and bouzouki seamlessly in and out of the song textures, Mike Mills with his bass and keyboard work shows why he plays such a pivotal role in the bands' arrangements, Bill Berry's drumming is always tasteful and in the right places at the right times, Michael Stipe's lyrics and vocals have never been more direct and heartfelt as they are here, the albums' apotheosis ''Everybody Hurts'' with its message of not giving in to thoughts of suicide, plus the penultimate and closing tracks, ''Nightswimming'' and ''Find The River''; the former with its wistful nostalgia for ones' carefree days of youth, the latter with the offer of finding the way to a new life. R.E.M. have triumphantly shown that you can tackle such weighty subjects in a pop music context without falling into the twin traps of bathos and woe-is-me self-pity that have befallen many others who have tried to traverse this road.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago