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on 23 March 2003
This was the first REM album I listened to and , although I have listened to all their subsequent albums and Document, Life's Rich Pageant and Green before it, it still remains the most pleasurable. Like most REM albums, it has multiple meanings but it has generally come to be regarded as their 'love' album. This effect is partly achieved by Kate Pierson's warm and lively presence on tracks like Shiny Happy People and Me in Honey. To me, this album sounds like a lost summer, the mandolins and baroque instrumentation mourning loss of love, loss of lots of things. Automatic for the People would wallow more blatantly in nostalgia on Man on the Moon and politics in Drive and Ignoreland and twisted the tunes even more than Country Feedback was threatening on OOT. Their ultimate twisted album to come was Monster, that picked up where Automatic's Star Me Kitten left off.
So Out of Time is a lot of things- KRS-One's funny, ironic rap that makes you think (Radio Song) a sunny surf/road album (Near Wild Heaven, Texarkana), a baroque meditation (Losing my religion, Endgame, Half the World Away), and something inbetween (Shiny Happy People). The likes of Low and Belong sound ancient and tribal, a perfect counter-evolution of the Beach Boy style harmonies. But there is nothing simple about the thought processes behind this album- it takes a lot of intelligence, a lot of avant-garde thinking, to sound this upbeat yet this sombre. Michael Stipe's warm, resonant voice is recorded in digital while the instruments are recorded by analogue. The cover art and inside sleeves are, Green to some extent aside, clear and attractive for a change. Natural images of plant-life and the ocean are juxtaposed with their treatment- rendered in artistic photography, cut up, their colour changed and reinstalled like the marble steps and peep show images displayed in the sleeve's cartoons. The album looks lovely, the sound is crystal clear and it resonates with that sense of being revolutionary yet innocent that fully emerged, blinking in the summer of the very early nineties, from the likes of The La's, The Stone Roses and, in their own, more directly destructive way, Nirvana. To any ordinary band, this would be, undisputedly, their finest moment, but REM, almost unique amongst the majority of bands, have always had the intelligence and staying power to evolve on their best ideas. A work of genius.
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on 3 June 2003
Though there is some debate about whether it is REM's best work, Out of Time is without doubt a classic.
Most people will have only heard of Losing My Religion, deservedly one of their biggest hits, but beyond that the songs that will stay with you just keep coming.
Happy songs are what the album is best known for and the jangling, uplifting pop of Near Wild Heaven, Texakarna and Half A World Away are melodic easy to listen to but with more depth than your average rock song.
The true quality of the album though is in the darker, more introverted songs. Low is a stripped down, rhythmic examination of the end of a relationship, looking back and climaxing in an emotive acceptance of moving on.
Country Feedback however, is my true favourite, an orchestrated ballad of missed opportunities, drenched in fatigue and a general feeling of being washed out and drained (You come to me with excuses/Ducked out in a row/You wear me out). The slow, simple guitar accompanied by strings fills the background while a wailing, almost atonal lead guitar melody weaves around the lyrics and sears its way into your brain.
You need this.
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This album just overflows with quality songs like Radio Song, Shiny Happy People and Losing My Religion. Other highlights are Half A World Away, Texarkana and Near Wild Heaven. The melodies, lyrics and harmonising are just perfect, making up an album of superior melodic rock songs. The lyrics are gripping and poetic throughout. Rock doesn't come better than this. A classic!
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on 25 March 2001
Oh yes. Ten years after Out of Time was released, and it still ranks as one of my Favourite Albums of All Time. I've always liked R.E.M. - undergoing something of a renaissance in my listening at the moment - and this is almost undoubtedly the high point in their elephantine career. Not only are the singles there - Losing My Religion and Shiny Happy People being the obvious examples - but there is not a single track that can be seen as "filler". Indeed, it's the quieter, less accessible songs that grow with time. My favourites? Belong and Country Feedback. If you do one thing today, buy this album. Hurrah.
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on 31 July 2002
if you only buy one rem album,make it this one.never have a band broken free from the'college band'shackles produced an album encompassing so many styles.beautifull,jangly and melancholic are words that spring to mind.from the funky 'radio song' to the emotional and profoundly massive breakthrough anthem 'losing my religion' to the ironic pop of 'shiny happy people',stopping of at the beautiful 'me in honey' and the touching pop of'near wild heaven' and texarkana'.And what makes this so great is the varying of the vocals.guest appearances from the talented kate pierson and krs-1 and the majestic mike mills.buy it!now!
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on 15 March 2005
This is probably my favourite REM album, tied with their first, Murmur. They sound very alive on this recording, happy even, with a massive dose of sweet melancholy.
This set features a very nicely remastered CD of the album, plus a DVD/DVD-Audio. For those with normal DVD players, it features Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 surround, and DTS 5.1 surround.
For DVD-Audio compatible players it features 24bit/96khz 5.1 surround, and a fantastic sounding 24bit/192khz stereo track. This is obviously the one to listen to for hi-fi fanatics, and sounds fabulous, very open and warm.
Highly recommended set, get it!
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on 7 October 2001
People who accuse this album of being too happy aren't paying attention to the lyrics, which are
among Stipe's (and Mills's) best (and darkest). This is an album about love and the pain left
when it's gone.
KRS-One's rant aside, Radio Song is about that song that seems to follow you everywhere you go,
taunting you with the problems in your relationship. Losing My Religion is about the mania of love.
Low, in my opinion, is about being in love with someone with whom the subject seems impossible
to talk about. Near Wild Heaven is about a feeling of being broken, and trying to hold yourself
together despite it all. Endgame is an instrumental best described as going through a skywalk.
Shiny Happy People is, yes, about being with your friends, having fun and feeling happy, but it
cracks into Belong, which is about motherhood, peer pressure, and suicide. Half A World Away
seems to be about the feeling that the pressure's squarely on you to keep a relationship alive.
Texarkana... well, it sounds really good. I'm not sure what it's about.
Country Feedback is one of the best bad-day songs ever written. Need a song for a breakup that
neither party wants but one needs? Listen to this the day after the break or the day before,
depending on who's behind it. Me in Honey is about love during pregnancy, and has choice lines
that work in any situation.
If you like powerful and beautiful music with a strong dark undertone that occasionally rises to
the surface, this album is essential.
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on 4 February 2017
Very good album, it's a purchase you won't regret. I struggle to believe that a couple of the singles from this album (Radio Song and Shiny Happy People) didn't appear on the greatest hits album that I also own.
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on 24 July 2000
An absolutely fantastic album, every song is of the very highest calibre. "Losing My Religion" and "Shiny Happy People" are the easiest listening tracks, but once you get into this album you'll want to listen to it over and over again.
"Out of Time" is second only to the wonderful "Automatic For The People".
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Taking a year or so off to record this (then quite a thing to do), REM decided to stop touring and focus on making studio-albums Beatles-style. This gave the band and producer Scott Litt chance to create a richer sound- and also to employ guest vocalists, in this case Kate Pierson of the B52's and rapper KRS-1 (Boogie Down Productions)The dbs' Peter Holsapple, who fleshed the band out on the Green-Tour (see 'Tourfilm') also turns up here- though as someone pointed out to me, The dbs LP of the time was superior to this! (REM also worked on The Troggs' album released that year- which feels like a companion release to this).
'Out of Time' is a mixed-bag- Opener 'Radio Song' has a rap and is like a Booker-T-extension on 'Pop Song 89'; while 'Shiny Happy People' was initially a gorgeous-pop rush, its over-familiarity has drifted into irritability (Fatima Mansions would offer an amusing cover/critque on their 'Bertie's Brochures' mini-LP)Again, 'Losing My Religion' is just too overplayed and was a retread of 1988's 'World Leader Pretend' ultimately...
Michael Stipe wanted to make an LP of love-songs, but couldn't compose all the songs- thus Mike Mills fronts two-tracks, single 'Near Wild Heaven' & the alt-country-symphony of 'Texarkana' (I think Mills should sing more often- as long as he doesn't sing 'Superman'!!).
'Low', 'Belong' & 'Country Feedback' were all played on the Green-tour (see 'Tourfilm') and are darker in tone- the latter remains one of REM's finest moments and became a live-favourite. 'Endgame' is a lovely acoustic-folk instrumental with some "la, la"'s - this and tracks like 'Half a World Away' suggest that this was probably more the kind of album REM wanted to make with 'Fables of the Reconstruction'! 'Me in Honey' has a sound like a sweeter-take of 'Reckoning's 'Little America' and again features Kate Pierson- though musically it is close to peers 10,000 Maniacs (whom Stipe sang with several times).
'Out of Time' is a solid album with some great songs on, and would lead towards their commercial and creative peak, the following year's 'Automatic for the People.'
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