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Automatic for the People CD

446 customer reviews

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Automatic For The People
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Audio CD, CD, October 6, 1992
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Product Description

Certified at 4 million units by the RIAA. (2/95)

Continuing to specialize in the art of curve-throwing, R.E.M. followed up its 1991 smash, Out of Time, with this fragile album of soft melodies and string arrangements. The sympathetic ballad "Everybody Hurts" must have prevented countless suicide attempts, while the Andy Kaufman tribute "Man on the Moon" (with Michael Stipe affecting an Elvis Presley imitation) and the rock-into-oblivion "Drive" are among the quartet's strongest hits. (The opening line, "Hey, kids, rock and roll," isn't so much a rallying cry as an expression of anxiety.) It takes a few listens for its charms to unfold, but Automatic is the gem between bigger hits Out of Time and Monster. --Steve Knopper
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 6, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002MG1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (446 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,006 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

163 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Biker395 on April 9, 2001
Format: Audio CD
AFTP is easily one of the best CDs of the `90s.
"Drive" sets the tone for the album. It sounds much like a funeral march. From the first five notes, it's direction is clear: dark, moody, and foreboding ... you know the this is no ordinary CD ... there are no "shining happy people" here ...
AFTP begins by tackling the decision to live or die. "Try Not to Breathe" is about deciding to die. It presents the thoughts of an old man who has lived a full life and has decided that he is ready to go. He muses what the world will be like without him and how he'll be remembered when he's gone.
"Everybody Hurts" is about deciding to live. The case is made that hurting is a necessary and temporary part of life ... it's not a reason to give up. Nor do we hurt alone. The lyrics and melody are nakedly simple and direct.
"Sweetness Follows" is about the healing and perspective that the death of a loved one can sometimes bring. The image is of the death of a loved one who was made more distant by a preoccupation with the banal, everyday concerns of life. Their death is a wake up call to forget the little things and recognize the power of the relationships with those we love.
"Man on the Moon" is probably the best known of the songs on AFTP. It wonders aloud ... what is it like in heaven? The human beings of the ages (Moses, Newton, and Darwin) are used to evoke a sense of an infinite hereafter. One wonders, what does someone like Andy Kaufman do in heaven amidst the likes of Moses? Well, Andy Kaufman is there, still "goofing on" Elvis, still wrestling, and still having breakfast with Mr. Blassie. Maybe it's not such a serious place after all.
"Nightswimming" is a bullet through the heart.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
"Automatic For The People" is truly one of the greatest albums of all time. Its use of compelling imagery makes it one of the most passionate and emotional albums that this or any other band has ever released. "Automatic" is fully worthy of every one of the fifty-million-plus people worldwide who have bought it. I say without hesitation that I belive it surely will go down in history as one of the greatest albums of all time.
"Drive" is a great album opener. Its moody, somber strains and downbeat, dark riffs give it a serious and powerful feel. It reflects the entire feel of the album.
"Try Not To Breathe" is a passionate and serious look at life and its dilemmas.
"The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight" is a catchy but serious expression of Michael Stipe's opinion of American pop culture. It is lyrically and musically a great pop song that has decptively real undertones.
"Everybody Hurts" is without question the most heartfelt, sincere and emotional song to ever hit the airwaves of American radio. It is a passionate and soulful plea to teenagers thinking life isn't worth living. It is inspiring, uplifting, and thoroughly beautiful. Asong of true hope and inspiration for the lost.
"New Orleans Instrumental No. 2" is a great follow-up to "Everybody Hurts", allowing the listener to take a deep breath and reflect on what they just heard. As sadly beautiful as anything.
"Sweetness Follows" is a direct contrast to "Everybody Hurts". It is a song about death and depression. Dramatic both lyrically and musically.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By G. A. Piva on November 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I own 400 Cd's. Out of those 400, i have maybe 10 Five star albums. This is one of them. REM hit a peak with this record that most bands can only dream about. The songs, which string together and bring forth the true definition of an "album", are flawless. With "Drive", lead singer Michael Stipe, while he could scream his feelings into the song, tell the youth of America: "Hey, kids, rock and roll, nobody tells you where to go" almost in a whisper. His whisper and his feelings are found throughout the album, and are very effective. From "Try Not To Breathe" to "Find The River", The underlying theme is melencoly. The songs are sad, but at the same time, uplifting. In "Try Not to Breathe", Stipe sings about needing to "fly over my grave again", while in "Everybody Hurts", he tells the whole world, and i'm sure many people that have contemplated suicide, to "hold on". The whole time the music behind him, provided by guitarist Peter Buck, bassist and keyboardist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry, flow right along with the words. I think there is more use of e-minor on this album then on any other in the history of music. However, Buck uses this chord more effectivly then anyone, making it sound as fresh and melodic as it can be. All three musicians sounds as tight as ever, building the songs from scratch and presenting them to the world with striking beauty. I feel that this ablum stands next to Radiohead's "OK Computer" as the best album of the 90's, and for any true music lover out there, this is a must.
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