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Monster - R.E.M.

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12 Reviews

Genre: Rock - Pop Rock / Artist: REM / Audio CD released 1994-09-26 at Warner

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    12 Reviews
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      01.05.2009 22:53
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      Monster

      R.E.M reinvented themselves after their highly successful (both critically and commercially) Automatic For The People. Most of the people who said that they can only write and sing songs in acoustic backgrounds and with up-lifting vocals were pretty much surprised when Monster came out in September 1994. Peter Buck's style of playing was electric, more electric than ever. The lead-single 'What's The Frequency Kenneth?' is the perfect example of how different the songs were on this album. While it's one of their better albums, Monster is sometimes slow and too weird, not all of the songs are amazing. There are some songs that are OK and some that are great. It was a transition for the band, nevertheless, it was quite successful. I would recommend the following songs as a must-listen: The above mentioned lead-single, Crush With Eyeliner, Strange Currencies, Bang And Blame and Let Me In, which was written about Kurt Cobain after he committed suicide in April 1994. It's probably R.E.M's most strange work to date. But it's still 'good' strange.

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        29.03.2002 00:09
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        Monster is a good album but not a great album which the previous two albums were(Automatic for the people and Out of time)so the general public were disappointed when this album was released and it was panned by the critics however it didnt deserve the criticism wholly.The album does see the band exploring new direction and does take some time to totally appreciate the content but if your a R.E.M diehard then you have to buy it.However not there greatest work and the overtone of the whole album is that great advice-if it isnt broke dont fix it!!!R.E.M did return to form later with the quite brilliant "up"which never got the recognition it deserved due mainly to this album monster which put the public and press off them.

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          15.10.2001 23:20
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          This was the last REM record I added to my collection thanks to the bad press it got-but despite that, it is one of my favourite REM albums, (bar Green, Reveal, and New Adventures). The opening track is absolutely brilliant, and if you know the words it's even better. Crush With Eyeliner brings it down a bit by sounding the same at the beginning, and I dislike King of Comedy. Star69 and Bang and Blame are excellent, but by far the best tracks on this album are What's The Frequency, Kenneth?, Strange Currencies and Tongue. Strange Currencies may sound like Everybody Hurts, but the lyrics are fantastic, and the almost spoken-word singing is typically REM. Tongue, written from a female perspective, is brilliant, the piano background, and the falsetto combine to make Tongue my favourite track. That, and it mentions Chocolate Cake. That's always good. Don't ignore this album because of the reviews it got. I am always too ready to criticise, and if I can be bothered to write the review, it's got to be good.

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            23.10.2000 19:52

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            Well this is the album that included the hit single What's The Frequency Kenneth. The album apart from that isn't the best one that has come from the REM camp. It is lacking in places in inspiration, and against Out of Time or Automatic for the People it will not stand the test of time! It lacks the classic sound to the sounds, and the superb lyrics that are prevailant on so many other REM songs! This is a must for any massive fan of REM, as it will help complete any collection, but for those people on the periphery it might be one of the ones to give a miss.

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            05.10.2000 06:33
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            I'm surprised REM's Monster album has yet had a single opinion written about it as it surely one of the best !! If you were to buy this album for only 1 reason, it would have to be to listen to one of my favourite all-time REM songs, "What's The Frequency Kenneth?". This rarely gets any air-play compared to "Losing My Religion", for example. If you have not heard this song I advise you to visit a cd e-commerce site and listen to a short clip sample. This alone will make you want to buy Monster! All the other songs are up to the usual standard we have come to expect from REM and this album confirms that they have been one of the most influential music groups in the last 2 decades.

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              04.10.2000 07:54
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              It is perhaps characteristic of REM that with the world baying for another AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE, their much anticipated follow-up turned out to be a hard rock album almost guaranteed to alienate half of their newly expanded fan base. Indeed the critical and public reception to MONSTER was lukewarm, and it remains one of their most awkward and unwelcoming albums. It begins well enough with the storming single 'What's The Frequency, Kenneth' and the bizarre 'Crush With Eyeliner', but as the album wears on it becomes clear that there is no real theme or direction here except a general urge to make a bit of a racket - which was no doubt the point, but results in a lack of depth and clarity. Of course it is by no means a bad album, since there is no such thing as a bad REM album, and 'Bang and Blame' and 'Star 69' are examples of the harder sound probably paying off. But it is perhaps telling that MONSTER's very best moments, such as 'Tongue' and 'Strange Currencies' sound like out-takes from AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE. Much of REM's work on the IRS label contained raw-edged rock, but whereas that was '60s-tinged garage rock, MONSTER is '90s neo-grunge, with dense and distorted guitars and messily produced vocals. It just doesn't quite convince at times, any more than it would likely convince if Sonic Youth (whose Thurston Moore features on this album) were to make a folk-pop album like OUT OF TIME or AUTOMATIC. Like many of REM's fans, I was probably spoilt by so many fantastic albums, and expected nothing short of a masterpiece. And a masterpiece MONSTER is not. But it still contains enough of the band's brilliance to be an essential album to own, and a fascinating example of a band bravely and enthusiastically over-reaching.

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              07.09.2000 00:39

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              This is definitely a decent album, as it’s got some really catchy tunes on it. Bang and Blame is the track that gave me a soft spot for REM, and I’ll always like its almost dancey feel. King Of Comedy and Cruch With Eyeliner strike me as quintessential REM, and are both good examples. On top of these are a number of other very decent tracks, and my personakl favourite, the supremely catchy Circus Envy. I wouldn’t have bought this CD if it was more than a fiver (I got it second hand) but I’m nonetheless glad I own it.

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              24.08.2000 19:41
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              Well, it was always going to happen, wasn't it? Automatic for the People and Out of Time proved too difficult an act to follow for Michael Stipe and the boys from Athens. Time will decide the fate for this offering, it may be the low point in the middle of a glorious career or the start of a major slide. Saying this, Monster has its ups as well as downs, noteably the truly Monster track "whats the frequency, Kenneth?", if CD singles hadn't been created, this one would be worth the RRP by itself with its edgy, distortion blessed guitar riffs. The bad far outweighs the good, unfortunately and at best I would have to label this as a mediocre Monster, claws ground down and teeth extracted.

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                22.08.2000 00:48

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                Monster is probably my favourite REM album. It is one of their most upbeat (except perhaps for the Kurt Cobain tribute song, Let Me In) and is easily their most 'rock' album. From the opening chords of What's The Frequency Kenneth, you know this isn't traditional mandolin REM fare, but an experiment in being a rock band. Peter Buck puts his acoustic guitar away for the moment and plugs in a Rickenbacker through a few effects pedals and the result is the most energetic REM album to date.

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                21.08.2000 23:21
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                Monster sees REM heading off in a different direction after Michael Stipe's own promise that the albums following Automatic For The People would be rock. This is somewhat ironic as Monster features songs in the same style that the country-folk pop rock REM of the early 1980s sought to rise against. As an album it is very good, but as an REM album it lacks the edge of earlier and later efforts. The album sees REM going for the world sound that the public demanded after the success of their previous two massive selling albums (out of time, automatic for the people)...and the devastatingly unfortunate world tour that accompanied the monster album suggests that REM were trying to capture the emotions of the time; is it any coincidence that in 1993-94 the biggest selling albums were of the rock genre (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden etc). Whilst there are some tracks on the album that manage to create a 'big-sound' with REM's typical quality (in particular the brilliant stadium song Bang And Blame and the massive hit single Whats The Frequency, Kenneth?) there are others that fail to come up to standard...King Of Comedy in particular is a let down. Let Me In is apparently a note to the recently (at the time of writing) deceased Kurt Cobain, a close friend of Michael Stipe's, but the heavily distorted and directionless rambles of Peter Buck's guitar do not do justice to Stipe, the REM, to the song, or to Kurt...it appears a wasted song on the CD. Still Monster has it's other side and tracks like 'I Don't Sleep, I Dream', 'Tongue' and 'Strange Currencies' show that REM could still make music to their pre-Monster style, and that was a direction that would eventually take its course in further releases. Whilst Monster was critically unpopular and has been cliched as 'experimental' it is not in reality a bad album. Any band who was not REM would be proud of Monster, but for a band who have produced albums of brilliant quality (Automatic for the people, Up, out of time, document, murmur) Monster is a let down...and may be looked upon in the future as a minor stain on an otherwise flawless career. If you like REM buy this CD, if you like any other decent music buy this CD...however if you have only heard Automatic For The People then do not expect to find an equal with Monster, as good as it is it cannot realistically compete with the REM massive albums (which is somewhat ironic again, REM's attempt to make a 'huge' rock album ended with one of their 'smallest' albums to date). A good album depsite it's drawbacks. Tracklist: 'Whats The Frequency, Kenneth?' Crush With Eyeliner, King Of Comedy, 'I Don't Sleep, I Dream', Star 69, Strange Currencies, Tongue, Bang And Blame, I Took Your Name, Let Me In, Circus Envy, You

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                  21.08.2000 15:40
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                  This is the REM CD you're most likely to see in a bargain bin, and if you do see it cheap, buy it. It, but it has the usual quota of classic songs The collection may not be their best, it is rather 'experimental', heavier, perhaps less cohesive than their other CDs, with a plethora of styles, but it has a high quota of classic songs. The only track I habitually skip is King of Comedy - which would sound OK on an INXS album, but just seems out of place here. Opener "What's the Frequency Kenneth" grabs your attention - and that backwards guitar solo is weird compelling. ; On "Let me in", Stipe's vocal is accompanied only by Peter Buck's heavy metal guitar (oh, and a bit of tambourine). Guitar feedback is a central part of "Circus Envy" but it is strangely effective, even melodic. Tracks like "Strange Currencies" and "I Don't sleep, I dream" have very strong melodies and hooklines - these are the ones I end up singing to myself after the record's over. "Tongue" is a very soulful (not to mention sexy) song - with vocals which bring to mind Smokey Robinson. The final track "You" is similar to mid-80's REM. You may not love every track on Monster, as it is so varied, but if you like REM at all, you should find plenty to turn you on.

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                  17.08.2000 04:14

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                  I'm surprised REM's Monster album has yet had a single opinion written about it as it surely one of the best !! If you were to buy this album for only 1 reason, it would have to be to listen to one of my favourite all-time REM songs, "What's The Frequency Kenneth?". This rarely gets any air-play compared to "Losing My Religion", for example. If you have not heard this song I advise you to visit a cd e-commerce site and listen to a short clip sample. This alone will make you want to buy Monster! All the other songs are up to the usual standard we have come to expect from REM and this album confirms that they have been one of the most influential music groups in the last 2 decades.

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              • Product Details

                Disc #1 Tracklisting
                1 What's The Frequency Kenneth
                2 Crush With Eyeliner
                3 King Of Comedy
                4 I Don't Sleep I Dream
                5 Star 69
                6 Strange Currencies
                7 Tongue
                8 Bang And Blame
                9 I Took Your Name
                10 Let Me In
                11 Circus Envy
                12 You