It seems that somehow I’ve got four weeks behind on the classic album write-ups. I’ll try to get through at least a couple today. The first one is REM’s Green.

Some Historical Context

I don’t remember when I first heard REM. I remember being aware of Document but I’m not sure how soon after its release I first heard it. I suspect that Green was the first of their albums that I was aware of as it was released.

I do remember that being into REM was a big test of someone’s cool back at the end of the 80s. And a knowledge of the albums before this one was a measure of exactly how cool you were.

In about 1997 a friend of mine met Michael Stipe in our local pub. True story.

The rest of this blog post will be written as I listen to the album.

The Songs

1. Pop Song 89

Pretty typical bouncy REM pop to start the album. This was a single and therefore got lots of radio play (I suspect I was listening to, the sadly missed, GLR at the time). Still sounds good to me.

2. Get Up

Another single from the album. Not as instantly recognisable though. Short and sweet.

3. You Are The Everything

There are a number of tracks on this album whose titles I don’t recognise. I’m sure I’ll know them all when we get to them. This is the first. And, yes, I know it. It’s the one that sounds like it should really be on Automatic For The People – lots of jangly mandolin.

4. Stand

Probably the best known song on the album. Probably one of REM’s best known songs. I still like this a lot.

5. World Leader Pretend

Everyone knows this one too. It wasn’t a single, but got a lot of radio play back then. Still sounds great.

6. The Wrong Child

Here’s one I really don’t remember. It’s ok. Nothing special.

7. Orange Crush

A jolly pop song about Agent Orange. Lovely. The album is called “Green” and its cover is orange. When “Orange Crush” was released as a single, the cover was green.

8. Turn You Inside-Out

Another title that I don’t recognise. But I know (and really like) the song.

9. Hairshirt

Yeah. I quite like this. But it’s nothing special compared to some of the other tracks.

10. I Remember California

Same as with Hairshirt, really. The album doesn’t end on a strong note.

11. Untitled

An untitled song that really doesn’t go anywhere.

In Summary

This wasn’t as good as I remember. Sure, there are some great tracks. But a lot of it is just ok. In retrospect it’s just marking time between Document (the album that first brought them to most people’s attention) and Out of Time (the album that made them really famous). I’d far rather listen to either of those.

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