R.E.M. Listening Club


i really like Bittersweet Me, it’s a simple song on the face of it but it’s paced perfectly.

Listening back I’m struck by how many ‘rock’ songs there are on the album - it’s got a reputation as a ruminative, introverted album but there’s arguably as much fuzz on New Adventures as there is on Monster.


I’ve always thought they peaked with this record. Part of that reasoning, other than the high standard, was that I always felt it nailed they rockier and quieter sides in one album. There’s plenty of fuzz but I’d argue about 40% of the record is non-fuzz.


Regarding the ‘rock’ songs, ‘Departure’ is probably my favourite. Such a fun song. “Shit, I still see a word, think of YOU!!” I read somewhere that this song is about River Phoenix in a somewhat abstract way.


just realised i parroted this comment below. completely unintentional, don’t think i’d seen this post til now.


It’s great. The only time R.E.M. sounded like The Hold Steady


Hey, so out of all the albums so far in this thread this is the album I’ve revisited the most as a result. I’ve really loved listening to new advdntures again this week and it’s appeal hasn’t dulled, if anything it has reinforced my previous feelings for it, unlike many of my other previous favourites in this thread. I think I’ve found my winner (so far).


One think I’ll add too. For such a long and varied album it’s been sequenced perfectly. Starts perfect, ends perfect. Every song is in the right place


Really like New Adventures in HiFi these days, in no small part because of the devotion and praise it receives on these boards. Not perfect by any means but would probably make it into my top 5 R.E.M albums which is some praise indeed.

What a shame the band mysteriously disappeared and never made another note of music after it, eh? Thread’s been great whilst it lasted.


Still one great and one solid album left by my reckoning FKAAJ, so hope you stick around. Admittedly a bit of a sticky patch to navigate shortly though…


This is perhaps why it’s stayed the course so well though? There’s no Shiny Happy People/Sidewinder Sleeps equivalent to burn out on and few big choruses, so the result is a beautifully made slow burner of a record that rewards repeat listens.

It’s also one of the few R.E.M. records that doesn’t feel anchored to a particular time by its production style I think.


The world would be a poorer place without this.


Absolutely. I have spent an inordinate amount of time seriously weighing up the two options (which is of course a waste of time)

On the one hand, if they finished after New Adventures they’d have a legitimate case for the strongest discography front to back of anyone ever. 10 albums, only 2 being a 7/10 (Document and Monster), 6 being a 9/10 or above.

However in all seriousness there have been enough beautiful individual songs from Up onwards that it is worth keeping that era. Maybe none of them would seriously trouble my top 30 R.E.M songs but a Greatest hits from that era would probably better than that of most rock bands.

Walk Unafraid
At My Most Beautiful
Imitation of Life
The Great Beyond
Leaving New York
Living Well’s the Best Revenge
Supernatural Superserious
Hollow Man
Mr. Richards
All the Best

Plus the two live CDs are incredible


I’m a genuine R.E.M. purist hipster in that I adore pretty much everything up to New Ads and have never listened to any of the subsequent albums (although have obviously heard a lot of the songs).


the real purists stopped listening around Green, m9


Ok, seemed worthwhile giving New Adventures a few days longer than originally planned, but time to move on.

Plenty of change this time around with Bill Berry, manager Jefferson Holt and producer Scott Litt all having departed.

For me their last consistently great album and final instalment of an incredible four album run. Admittedly a record I struggle to view objectively given the Jools Holland special around this time which I played to death on some crappy long play VHS recording and featured a lot of these songs.



I had just turned 11 when Green came out.


The Jools Holland special you mention has been included on the DVD with the BBC Box Set recently released.


‘Up’ is a strange one in that it has some great stuff on it, however, it is too long and is one of the worst sequenced albums ever (apart from ‘Falls To Climb’, which is a great way to end it). My alternative tracklisting would be:

  1. Daysleeper
  2. Hope
  3. Suspicion
  4. At My Most Beautiful
  5. Walk Unafraid
  6. Why Not Smile
  7. You’re in The Air
  8. The Apologist
  9. Sad Professor
  10. Falls To Climb


Long time since I listened to Up. Always thought there were a few classics but far too much below par filler.


Why Not Smile is just lovely… had completely forgotten about this song.