With 1987's Document album taking them into arenas rather than high school gyms, REM left IRS records and signed a major label deal with Warners, after resisting the courtship of major labels since before their debut album.
But the following year's Green seems to be exactly the kind of record they were afraid to make. As if painfully aware that they weren't on an indie label any more, REM crafted an oddball stadium-pop sound and made their most fanatically politicised record to date.
At times, this politicised nature and the gleaming production go well together. 'Pop Song '89' is a fabulously ironic, anti-pop opener with a riff that at first annoys, and then delights. 'World Leader Pretend' is a vintage REM song, a mid-tempo manifesto and their first song with printed lyrics. 'Turn You Inside Out' echoes 'Finest Worksong' but soon becomes something entirely of its own as it progresses. And 'Orange Crush,' despite sounding like REM doing an impression of U2, is a perfectly serviceable stadium rock song.
But elsewhere the album is stuffed full of failed experiments like the untitled closing track or simply underwhelming material like 'I Remember California'. On 'Stand', meanwhile, ironic intent or not, the band are just embarassingly bad.
Green was REM's first genuine transitional album, and they had one more left in them before they made what was truly their masterpiece. But Green is still worth buying for its shining moments.
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