REM played their first concert in Athens, Georgia in April 1980. Their line-up consisted of two Californians (guitarist Peter Buck and basist Mike Mills), a Minnesota native (drummer Bill Berry) and a single Georgian (singer Mike Mills) who had met at the University of Georgia. In the finest traditions of rock 'n' roll, all four dropped out and have since been labelled in some equarters the Godfathers of US 'alt-rock'.
Released in 1988, "Green" was the band's sixth full-length album, but their first to be released on a major label. Although they continued to work with Scott Litt, who had produced their previous album "Document", the two albums sound quite different to my ears. "Turn You Inside Out" is probably the one song on "Green" that wouldn't have sounded out of place on "Document" . It's also one of the better songs on this album - though, in contrast to the album's other highlighs, it's totally plugged in and features a guitar riff that grinds in a good way. "You Are The Everything" and "Hairshirt" are the two other tracks that stand out for me - gentle acoustic numbers that feature Peter Buck on mandolin rather than electric guitar. "World Leader Pretend" is another excellent track - a touch less acoustic, though it manages to keep an introspective feel while Bucky Baxter's pedal steel guitar adds a slight country feel to it. The band also saw some chart success wih singles lifted from this album - "Stand" reached the US Top Ten in early 1989 (it also features Peter Buck's first solo with a newly acquired wah-wah pedal), while "Orange Crush" made the UK's Top Thirty later that same year. However, I don't really think the years have been kind to either song - while I liked them both well enough at the time, I'd now consider them easily the weakest tracks on the album.
Overall, "Green" is a decent album. It some great tracks and is well worth four stars - but, on the whole, REM have done better.