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Aptly titled, "Green", REM's sixth record album - and their first for globalmegacompany Warners who kept them until their disbandment in 2011 - saw them stride confidently, and with barely a glance, into the big leagues. At this point, the band moved from the Manchester Apollo to headlining the Birmingham NEC and Wembley Arena, the venues they were still playing in their final years.

On the surface though, the record is unbowed by commerciality : the more accessable songs - "Stand", "Orange Crush", and so forth - sound unforced, natural extensions of the quirky pop philosophy demonstrated on their previous albums. Here though, and with the astute muscle of Warner Bros. Behidn them, REM followed a path that frankly seems inconceivable now : that of a slowly growing cult band steadily becoming more popular with each record, before ascending from being the world's biggest cult band to one of the world's biggest bands. Only U2 eclipsed them in the early 90's, which is now, surprisingly two decades ago, and it is now "Green"s twenty fifth anniversary. As a record, well, you either know it or you don't. A spiky, literate and aware record, the title hints at naivety, at political ecology, and in reference to a state of embryonic, unmoulded nature.

As with other REM reissues/remasters, the additional material is almost exclusively unheard : here it is a live show from the tail end of the 1988-89 world tour from Greensboro, where the band were a tightly coiled, flawless music machine on borderline insanity after a decade of furious, frenzied touring. Whilst recorded for the 1989 live VHS "Tourfilm", and parts of it may have made b-sides in the great age of the CD single, this is the first time the show has been released in its entirity. (Well, almost : an extra five songs from the show are also on the Record Store Day "Live At Greenboro" EP). The slow dripfeed of live shows may become problematic for "Out of Time", "Automatic For The People", and "New Adventures In Hifi" where the band did not tour - but at least, after many decades of a scarcity of official live material the band are emptying the vaults to provide new, but old, music. Nonetheless, there are also a dearth of official avenues for the multitude of b-sides from the singles spawned by the era - such as the heartbreakingly broken version of Syd Barrett's "Dark Globe", the acoustic version of "Pop Song 89" : no doubt these are being held back for another dose of consumer exploitation at some point in the future. On the other hand, "Green" follows the REM canon of slow and dignified reissues with a elegantly packaged revisiting. Does anybody need it? Probably not. But this is the way that reissues and remasters should be given to us, with care, and with thought.
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on 25 November 2002
I'm torn between this and Automatic For The People as my favourite REM album (which given my favourite REM album would probably also be my favourite album of all time is fairly high praise). This is by no means as perfect or coherent an album as "Automatic..." or indeed "Out Of Time", "Reveal" and several others and it is indeed a transitory album but its flaws do not detract from its overall brilliance, which stems from having such a strong collection of songs. While Orange Crush" and "Stand" offer the pop, as it were, to draw in casual listeners, there are more complex, more beautiful songs once you are pulled in. Of these, "The Wrong Child" is the best, a painful paean to being different and am convinced, partially from experience, that the chorus "I'm not supposed to be like this...but it's ok" sum up being disabled, scarred or different as well as any words written in history. Elsewhere, "You Are The Everything" is beautiful and "World Leader Pretend" is a phenomenal song. While I feel "Automatic..." wins out as an album overall, I feel this is the album to buy if you are looking for Stipe's finest lyrics and trying to understand how REM got to where they are. A flawed masterpiece that, through its flaws, becomes even more of a masterpiece
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on 10 June 2013
Others have stated they do not like the packaging of these re-issues I for one love them , ok the cd sleeve is a bit of a pain but the boxes look great lined up together on the shelf
The remastered version ( of prob) my favourite REM album sounds great , a few distinct differences but like all music it depends on what system you play it on ..If you're going to invest in great quality formats then you should invest in a good system if not just download the compressed lossy MP3 version.
The other main reason to purchase this is the live cd, excellent quality and great to hear tracks that would later be included on out of time ( the first time hearing some of them live)
If you're a fan get it, its very well priced and again looks and sounds great
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on 30 July 2000
It was inevitable that signing to big boys Warner Bros would result in a big sounding album with a more commercial slant. But this is not to say that REM suddenly abandoned the credentials that made them such a fine album producing outfit throughout the 1980's. 'Green' is the sound of a band full of confidence. Previous album 'Document' had elevated their profile a great extent, now it was time to take their sound on to a bigger audience. From the opening track 'Pop Song 89' it's clear that they have opted for a more listener friendly approach, mixing typically oblique lyrics into a smooth pop format. There are other pop classics here too, 'Get Up' and 'Stand' being the most obvious examples. But most interesting of all is the world-weary, paranoid 'World Leader Pretend' which attempts to draw parallels between band spokesman and dictator without the pompous indulgence of, say, Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall'. 'Green' is the perfect transition album, capturing a band coming out of indie obscurity and blinking at the bright lights of the global stage. Fans of REM's later work will be able to get plenty from this album: it may not be as user-friendly as 'Out of Time' or 'Automatic for the People' but it's still a rewarding experience so if you liked the REM albums mentioned above (and, let's face it, most people only really know these two)don't hesitate to invest in 'Green'. You won't regret it. But don't stop there either, go further back to 'Document' and 'Lifes Rich Pageant' for even more relatively unknown gems.
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VINE VOICEon 25 October 2008
REM,s first album for a major label ( Warner Bros for who they signed a five album deal worth $10 million) was their sixth album and arguably the first that saw the band fall from the general standards of excellence they revelled in for their previous five albums on the IRS label. Coincidence? , probably, as under the terms if their contract with W.B. they were allowed complete artistic autonomy . Having pointed that out Green is still worth having in any collection as it does contain some tremendous tracks .
Released on the 7th November in 1988 , one day before the 88 presidential election , the recording of Green marked a significant shift in the groups recording methods. This was a conscious decision by the group ( no doubt with the compliance of producer Scott Litt) to avoid making an album similar to their previous . The band swapped instruments for some of the songs. Bill Berry played bass on "You Are The Everything ", "The Wrong Child" and Hairshirt" while Peter Buck contributed drums on the last untitled track ( copyrighted under the moniker "11" as it was the eleventh track appropriately enough) . Mike Mills played keyboards on many tracks , a role he would adopt for future recordings , and even learnt the accordion. They most notable addition however was Bucks use of the mandolin which he utilised on the three tracks on which Berry played bass.
The album , as had their previous albums Document (Remastered) and Life's Rich Pageant (Remastered) , kicks off in imperious affirmative style with "Pop Song 89" and "Get Up" which confirm with their sense of mischievous fun and gleaming pop hooks that here is a band truly embracing the transition from indie band to stadium hugging major players. "Stand" a big hit i find rather annoying with it,s big dumb arrangement and clunking chords but either side of that are the gorgeous "You Are The Everything " and the albums pinnacle "World Leader Pretend" ( with cello from Jane Scarpantoni and pedal steel from Bucky Baxter) a brilliant acerbic diatribe against the men who run things . A song that manages to sound both both mournful and angry.
The twisted slightly awkward "Turn You Inside Out" is preceded by the trademark harmonies of Mike Mills on "Orange Crush " where Michael Stipe , further moving towards mainstream acceptability with his more clarified vocals ( augmented by a megaphone on this track) perverts this with his oblique lyrics. From track nine -"Hairshirt" i feel the album rather runs out of steam though "I Remember California" is a pleasant wistful number.
REM were to move even emphatically towards the mainstream with their next album Out of Time which despite including one of their finest songs "Losing My Religion" is by far their weakest album , though many ( usually those who embrace what ever is most popular at the time) fee it,s their strongest. Green can be seen as the moment when the band stepped confidently into the commercial spotlight something they were to embrace fully ( and brilliantly with Automatic for the People) before the sonic experimentation ofNew Adventures in Hi-Fiand Up. So sometimes it seems the only way is indeed up.
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on 8 April 2010
This is REMs best and it is one of those rare albums with not one weak track/album fillers on it, and if you are new to REM (where the hell have you been) then this is the album to buy to see what all the fuss is about. It is just great song after great song.
There is beauty in the songs; You are the everything and Hairshirt.
There is sadness in the songs; World leader Pretend and I remenber Cailfornia.
and Raw power in the Songs I will turn You Inside Out and Orang Crush.
Also there is fun in the songs; Pop Song 69 and Stand.
This album has got it all a song for ever mood. sSo get in the mood and buy it.
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on 15 December 2007
'Green'-R.E.M.'s 1988 offering and first album for a major record label isn't a huge step forward from it's folk-rock tinged predecessor-'Document'.While 'Green' isn't as demanding,oblique and politically scathing as 'Document' it takes a few listens to imbed it's hooks into your pants.This was the album which saw R.E.M. move on from the indie rock material of their earlier albums(great as they were) and begin a journey which would elevate them to superstardom for the next decade and beyond.This is not to suggest that 'Green' is an easily accessible listen,it is a slow burner and with it's indirect,complex lyrics takes a few listens to appreciate.
'Green' as the title suggests is an environmental/politically themed affair and contains some of the Athens,Georgia fourpiece's strongest work.The opening two tracks 'Pop Song 89' and 'Get Up' are perfect three minute slices of jagged guitar pop.The environmentally themed 'You Are The Everything' is achingly beautiful with it's mandolins and haunting vocals.The overtly political 'World Leader Pretend' is a swipe at the men in suits who run this planet as Michael Stipe sings:
'I decree a stalemate,I divine my deeper motives,I recognise the weapons,I,ve practiced them well,I've used them myself,'
Unlike previous R.E.M. albums where the rhythm section has remained in the background Mike Mills and Bill Berry take more prominent roles on 'Green' and with Peter Buck's jangly,Byrds/McGuinn Rickenbacker the three musicians of the band are superb but the album belongs to Michael Stipe.As well as his oblique,political lyrics just witness his vocal range on the two acoustic tracks on offer-the poignant,sad 'Wrong Child' and the spine tingling 'Hairshirt'.
The environmental theme continues with 'Turn You Inside Out' with it's lyrics about pollution and the Alaskan oil spillage of the time.'I Remember California' is about 'traffic jams and all the boys and girls with tans,lemon slimes and tangerines,the oceans Trident submarines'-the state which R.E.M. once said was 'like a separate country rather than a part of the USA.'The album closes with an untitled bouncy track which holds up with the rest of the material
'Green' in my opinion was the last great R.E.M. album before they became a global,stadium band,an album that I think is superior to many fans' favourite albums 'Out Of Time' and 'Automatic For The People.'
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on 31 January 2002
It's no accident that "Green" is sandwiched in time between R.E.M.'s most demanding album ("Document") and their most accessible ("Out of Time"). In every sense it is a transitional product, marking the band's movement from parochial to global perspectives and from rock to pop.
The last word of the preceding paragraph may enrage some of the band's fans. But before you hit the "No" button, please let me clarify. I'm not comparing R.E.M. with the here-today-and-thankfully-gone-tomorrow pop that fills the singles charts, but rather with the thankfully-here-for-ever classic pop of the Beatles and Phil Spector (in other words the universal riverbed of pop, of which rock is only a sub-set). R.E.M. were actually stretching the unyielding envelope of rock from 'Radio Free Europe' onwards, but by the time of "Green" such narrow genre boundaries were no more than a plaything in their inquisitive hands.
The transition is appropriately marked by several traits that are now considered to the quintessential hallmarks of R.E.M.'s career, but which really made their first substantive appearance on "Green". All of these traits have their roots in a new found artistic self-confidence that expresses itself in a quantum leap of both vision and technique:
1) Experimentation with new sonic textures.
2) Willingness to risk alienating the established fan-base.
3) A typically post-modern playfulness with musical genres that simultaneously honours and subverts the band's own influences.
Some commentators of course claim to see these traits in the band's earlier work, but very few of these could offer conclusive evidence that they were interpreting the earlier stuff that way at the time it first appeared. It is an easy and excusable mistake to read back into an artist's earlier work insights that emerged at a later date, and I believe that to be the case here. In other words, however good the early albums were (and for me, they include some of the band's best work), they have been largely reinterpreted by critics and established fans in the light of more recent statements.
This leaves "Green", in historical terms, in a rather similar position to "Murmur": A ground-breaking album, not universally appreciated but with a massive cult following, that acted as the springboard for an entire phase in the band's history. Indeed, the last two albums ("Up" and "Reveal") have successfully opened up to deeper exploration several musical motifs that had their genesis in the "Green" sessions.
Of course that sort of historical significance doesn't necessarily make an entire album rewarding to listen to on its own terms, and when I first got my copy home I wondered if I'd made a mistake buying it. However it grew on me by leaps and bounds, and of all R.E.M.'s classic cuts it is now the one I return to most often.
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on 2 May 2015
R.E.M.s 6th studio release from 1988 was the start of a new chapter for the band, now on a major label with a 5 album deal. This album is a bit of a mixed bag it came out at a time when bands such as 'The Pixies' and 'New Order' were about and so there sound was more of a Indie alternative sound, and did fit in nicely with the current music scene. So Gone the days of there College country rock sound and now meet the new edgy indie sound. The Album kind of follows from there last album 'Document No.5' [only in the Indie vein] but then on another hand you do get great tracks like 'World leader pretend' which sounds similar to 'Losing my religion' or 'Man on the moon' with tracks like these this will shape there next break through release 'Out of time'

The one big hit single of this album is 'Orange Crush' a brilliant track which they performed on T.O.T.P and was a top 20 hit.

Other Singles such as 'Get Up' & 'Stand' were also great and were Top 40 hits

Other highlights are:
Pop Song 89
You are the everything
World leader pretend
Hairshirt
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All roads lead to this...the career defining album.The road paved by the band up to this album , has been an extraordinary one. The self confidence in their songwriting shown right from the getgo will remain one of greatest hallmarks in Rock and Roll history. Personally, I thought that Document No:5 would never be bettered, so when this was released I was totally blown away. IMHO EVERY song on this masterclass of an album stand up as a stone-cold classics and will always remain one of the album's in my Top Ten of all time. I guess it also helps if you are of a certain age and, like me, aware of the band from the beginning , so that the full impact of this albums arrival was more keenly felt. Overlook and underestimate this magnificent album at your peril. ENJOY!!!
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