"Hey, kids, rock 'n' roll, nobody tells you where to go."
R.E.M. has succeeded to do what many bands are unable to do: surpass and move beyond their previous album. "Automatic for the People," R.E.M.'s newest album, released in early October, has a completely new sound.
While some of the new songs are very much in the style R.E.M. has succeeded with before, most are very different. Some of the most notable are "Drive," a "vote please" song (and almost a collage of lyrics), "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1," just what it says (and a very good instrumental too, I look forward to hearing nos. 2, 3, and 4), and "Monty Got A Raw Deal."
For those fans who can't handle change, "Everybody Hurts," "Ignoreland," and "Nightswimming"("Nightswimming" being one of the best songs on the album, comparable to "You Are The Everything" from "Green") are good songs that have the same feel of previous R.E.M. tunes.
There are weak spots on the album. "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" gets boring fast, as does the too-cute "Man on the Moon."
However, "Automatic for the People" is worth a listen, if just to hear the instrumental, "Drive," and "Nightswimming." It is a strong step beyond "Out of Time," and hopefully a look at a strong future for R.E.M. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.