808s / The UK's Greatest Hits

The UK’s Greatest Hits: 60. Automatic For The People – R.E.M.

R.E.M._-_Automatic_for_the_People
Automatic For The People  – R.E.M. 
– 1992

First listen?: Yes

It’s no surprise that R.E.M. have managed to score one of the biggest selling albums of all time, their huge career in the 90s have made them a staple of radio ever since. Automatic For The People is the obvious favourite of their albums, given that it contains their most iconic hits Man On The Moon, Everybody Hurts and Nightswimming, none of which made the top spot here in the UK, with Everybody Hurts being the only top 10 from the album. As someone who’s history with R.E.M. is as small as hearing their greatest hits playing in the house growing up, it’s surprising to see that this was the group’s 8th studio album. Having their breakthrough so late in their career means that R.E.M. aren’t having to prove anything here. Automatic For The People is full of confidence, both vocally from Michael Stipe and lyrically from the band as a whole. It gives the more rock focused songs like opener Drive a storytelling quality, while ballads like Nightswimming are delivered with an ease and relatable quality. It’s an interesting record that manages to walk that line between Alternative and mainstream pop effortlessly, the sort of songs you’d could hear on both Heart and Absolute Radio. Perhaps that’s why it managed to build such a following, it’s a universal album that holds up well 24 years on.

Rating: 7/10

Will I listen again?: Probably not, though I’m sure to hear the big hits once again soon.

Best Track: I think I have to go with Man On The Moon here, it’s probably my favourite R.E.M. hit and here it stands out.

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