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Monster

January 31, 2012 | Format: MP3

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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was walking through the used-record shop and was disgusted to find several copies of Monster. Why did so many people give this tantalizing rock record away? Perhaps because it doesn't offer the mainstream chamber-folk that hooked them on Automatic, or the jangle-pop that 80's purists want still more of. Monster is NOT the shallow, failed attempt at grunge that many of these crazy reviewers would have you believe. It's still got more musical scope than Automatic and its songs range from wild rockouts to fuzzy ballads. The beautiful, shimerring "Strange Currencies" is what the plodding "Everybody Hurts" should've been. "Circus Envy", "Star 69", and "What's the Freq.." are also standout cuts. A few of the more experimental tracks seem half-formed, but none are annoying. Awash in feedback and pulsing with creativity, Monster is as unique as any REM album. Delete your "What's the Frequency, Kenneth" mp3 and buy the whole album, 'cause it's far more than the slip-up, sellout record these fools would have you believe.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't normally write reviews for discs as over-reviewed as this one (109 reviews and counting), but I thought I might be able to offer a different perspective on this album, seeing as how my two favorite REM albums are 'Monster' and 'Murmur', and I find 'Green' unlistenable! This may put me in a special group of REM fans...so let me explain why I love this album so!
If 'Automatic' was the first sign that REM was breaking out of the pretentious, chirpy, god-awful bubble gum of 'Green' and 'Out Of Time' by becoming more serious and austere (albeit extremely low-energy), then 'Monster' finished REM's re-emergence as a newer, better-than-ever and extremely hard-rocking ensemble. Gone are any additional instruments (strings, brass, mandolins, etc.), this is just the four REM dudes rocking their socks off. They also seem to be enjoying the new energy level, and that sense of enthusiasm permeates the album.
For you gloom n' doom fans (me too!) there are still the tormented 'Let Me In' and the wistful and countrified 'Strange Currencies', also the ethereal raga-rock of 'You'. But this album is mostly about the rockers. From 'What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" on, this CD never lets up the loud, buzzing and partified atmosphere. I also like how Stipe sings in a variety of voices, falsetto on 'Tongue', and a Gordon Lightfoot-esque growl for 'Crush With Eyeliner'. Other faves are 'I Took Your Name' and the chugging 'Circus Envy'. The only tune I'm not 100 percent behind is 'King Of Comedy', although it has great lyrics, it's a wee bit grating.
All in all, if you like REM, AND you like to rock, pick this one up. Used, it's often cheaper than any other album by them (probably due to most fans wanting to hear 'Losing My Religion' redone another 1000 times...).
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Format: Vinyl
I was glancing through reviews of this album and ALL of the poor ones said things like "I've listened to them since the beginning and this sucks!" or "It's not the R.E.M that I grew up with..." or "It's their lame attempt at cashing in on grunge!" or most especially "They should've broken up after AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE!". While I understand that music, like all art, is subjective, I can't fathom the "fans" that don't see anything of value on an album that has some of their best songs ever. After the one-two mega-success punch of OUT OF TIME and AUTOMATIC, R.E.M knew that they were pretty much on top of the world. They were all over the radio; they were all over MTV (For you young people, MTV actually stands for Music Television, and they used to play lots and lots of music!); and they were about to tour all over the world. To be totally honest, after their massive success, if they decided to tour based on the work of OUT OF TIME and/or AFTP and continue with smaller venues, it would have been a colossal mistake. They were about to become arena rockers. They needed a rock and roll album that fit their aesthetic.

That idea of a R.E.M Arena Rocker Album is what gave birth to MONSTER. Out of this album, not only was there a distinctly different sound in contrast to the flowing melodies of OUT OF TIME and sorrowful tone of AFTP, there was also a distinctly different look to the band. Michael came out, head shaved to the scalp with a greater spring in his step and a Elvis-pelvis, but Mike also came out in amazingly hilarious glam-rock leisure suits (all of them the same, except the color). These were no longer the shy post-collegians with their art-rock style; this was an R.E.M we had never seen before and certainly hadn't heard before.

From the most anthemic opening to an R.E.
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Format: Audio CD
Wow. Who thought that a single record could be a sell-out, monotonous, a masterpiece, both the band's worst and best record, and blasphemous? But those are your exact words... Since we all seem to have an opinion about the actual music (some of us have too much of an opinion, believing it as fact), why don't we discuss the record completely objectively?
Point #1. The album is unique for REM. They may have flirted with the idea of stoner rock, glam rock, grunge rock, or whatever else you wanna call this record, but they had never released a full album of it.
Point #2. The album is risky. After salvaging their career by having good "pop" songs on "Document," REM find themselves in an identical situation; trying to keep old fans while they try something new.
Point #3. The album heralded (at least) 5 singles and had millions of buyers, many of whom had not listened to the band previously. (So goes the "No Hits" theory so many reviewers have referred to. REM obviously thinks differently.)
Point #4. REM picked up a few new fresh-faced fans, while losing a considerable amount of hard-cores. People have a very hard time stretching themselves, experiencing new things, facing the unknown. Many vintage fans would be happy if REM kept producing and selling the same album over and over (referring to the similar song structure and sounds on the first four albums.) As soon as a new element is introduced to a familiar equation, the subject ceases to be comfortable, and the listener feels "cheated."
Opinion: I find this to be neither REM's best nor their worst album. But I find it to be the band's most important record, because they stray so far off from their patented sound. They explore. They test.
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