R.E.M. Listening Club


Was also my first gig, at Huddersfield. Support from Beautiful South and Magnapop, and someone else… Yours?


Not my first gig but I was there.


Think Terrorvision were on one of the days as well. I might be wrong but weren’t Oasis supposed to be on the bill but cancelled?

Went to both shows at Huddersfield and then both at Milton Keynes as well. One of the best weeks of my life!


Yeah, Oasis were supposed to be the main support but they cancelled. They did support REM at Slane Castle though. There is a theory that the behaviour of Oasis during their support at Slane inspired the lyrics to ‘The Wake-Up Bomb’ (“I get high in my low-ass boot-cut jean”, “Practice my T-Rex moves and make the scene”, “I had to teach the world to sing”, “Yeah, atomic, supersonic, What a joke, I’m dumb”)


Are we stopping at Monster, because I think that’s a bit unfair on New Adventures in Hi-Fi, which is great?


We’re going all the way through. Thought I’d give Monster an extra few days as it got lost in the run up to Christmas. New adventures (literally) on monday.


Yeah, I’ve seen an interview with Michael Stipe where he refers to them as ‘boneheads’.


Sure that wasn’t just about one of them?


Interesting to read this, because I’ve always thought that song was a thinly-veiled swipe at the younger Gallagher sibling…


Mine was Slane, with Oasis supporting.
Belly were also on the bill that day, but we arrived as they were just finishing their set. Had a teen crush on Tanya Donnelly at the time so was well gutted that I missed them.


Ok, apologies that I haven’t had chance to pick this up again before now. Enjoyed returning to Monster over the last few weeks and following the discussion. Hopefully nobody minded the extended break.

Chat above about Wake Up Bomb leads us nicely into the next record, and it’s another belter:

New Adventures In Hi-Fi


One of their very best albums, certainly their last really good one for me. So many of my favourite R.E.M. moments are here - E-Bow, Leave, Bittersweet Me, Be Mine, Electrolite, So Fast So Numb…


I think it takes a while to hit its stride - probably from Undertow onwards - but then it’s largely excellent.


I remember when this album came out and it got great reviews across the board, however, all anyone was talking about at the time was the very lucrative new deal they just signed with Warners. Seeing as ‘New Adventures’ sold half of what ‘Monster’ did and the sales declined with each album, not such a smart move from Warners at that time.


Actually, Binky the Doormat and Zither back to back are a bit dull. Otherwise, very strong record. Personal faves would be:

E-Bow the Letter
Be Mine


Their last great album. Unfortunately, they released the wrong singles off it (‘E-Bow’ is a terrible choice of first single and ‘Bittersweet Me’ is just a bit rubbish) and it didn’t do as well as previous albums. It is a little long, therefore, i would be ok with ‘Zither’ & ‘Bittersweet Me’ being taken off. ‘Undertow’, ‘Departure’, ‘Be Mine’ & ‘Electrolite’ are all amazing and the monochrome cover is great too.


Leave is such a belter WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO


what singles would you have gone for? I think E-Bow is one of their best songs easily, yes very uncompromising but i think Patti Smith on vocals was enough of a draw commercially. also think Bittersweet Me was the most obvious man-in-suit claps his hands and says “that! that’s the single!”
New Test Leper is the only other contender for me, and that hardly pulled up trees when it was eventually released.


Well, yeah, now i think about it, the album is a bit lacking in obvious singles. I would have gone for ‘Electrolite’ as the lead single then ‘The Wake-Up Bomb’ and then…‘So Fast, So Numb’…maybe.


I love New Adventures in Hi-Fi. One of my favourite REM albums. Always thought it was a little under appreciated. I read somewhere that Michael Stipe regarded it as REM at their peak and it was his favourite album.