PODCAST: Show Me Magic! R.E.M. discography retrospective Part Three

PODCAST: Show Me Magic! R.E.M. discography retrospective Part Three

To tie in with R.E.M.‘s fortieth anniversary of the start of their recording career and R.E.M. week on GIITTV, Bill Cummings and Jim Auton and guests set off on a look back on every album released by R.E.M.

In the third part Bill Cummings and Jim Auton are joined by R.E.M. fan and writer Nathan O’Hagan to discuss the records of R.E.M.’s commercial peak years: ‘Out of Time’, ‘Automatic for the People’, ‘Monster’ and ‘New Adventures in Hi-Fi.’

R.E.M. – Me in Honey
R.E.M. – Nightswimming
R.E.M. – Let Me In
R.E.M. – So Fast So Numb

Produced by Andy VonPip

  1. I’ve never really understood the “huge departure” discourse of Out of Time and subsequent REM albums. There were more mandolin songs on Green that OOT. What changed ostensibly is their production techniques became more polished and Michael’s lyrics continued their more linear evolution. That’s it. One of the things that I always loved about REM was how they seemed to re-write their songs in a episodic kind of way. Maybe this is only heard by my ears, but World Leader Pretend is a precursor to Losing My Religion (as King of Birds was before that). You can’t listen to Half A World Away without recalling You are the Everything and Hairshirt. Do I even need to mention Stand morphing into Shiny Happy People? But it runs even deeper than that. Dirges like Low can be recalled as far back as Time After Time. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, but to me OOT was more an epilogue than a new chapter, which is how it’s so often depicted. BTW unrelated to OOT, go back and listen to The Flowers of Guatemala and it’s not hard to hear where it’s going… add mainstream/straight forward lyrics, a hefty recording budget, strings and other instruments and you arrive at Everybody Hurts.

  2. Hi Denis good points, we did touch on that on the previous podcasts https://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2021/08/19/podcast-show-me-magic-r-e-m-discography-retrospective-part-two/ that you can see the through line from some of their earlier songs to Green/OOT and with Green songs like You Are the Everything/Hairshirt foreshadow Losing my religion/Automatic actually… I don’t necessarily think OOT was a huge departure but the more poppier side was definitely turned/amped up and there is more of a power pop element and Stipe’s lyrics are more direct. But yes you can still see the roots of what they were doing before that on Green/LRP et al. I’d agree it was more evolution with R.E.M. into their most commercial form than a sudden shift..

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.