R.E.M.
Green


3.0
good

Review

by DrFunkenstein47 USER (1 Reviews)
February 22nd, 2013 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pop Review '13

Having released five underground albums showcasing their unique mix of folk, rock and country, R.E.M. signed a record deal with Warner Bros that promised the band total creative freedom. Green, released in 1988, was the band’s major label debut and benefitted from the resulting increased record distribution, becoming R.E.M.’s best-selling album to date and their first to go platinum in the UK. Developing on the politically themed songs featured on Document, Green addresses many political issues such as the use of “agent orange” as a weapon during the Vietnam war; openly referring to the subject on the hit single "Orange Crush." Left wing politics also dominate the album’s packaging, with the album’s title referring to Green politics. Although orange packaging seems strange for an album of this title, staring at the cover and then closing one’s eyes causes a green image to appear. The seemingly meaningless feather-like cover art now makes sense and forms the texture of green grass; you’ll all be trying it later.

Green shows what bassist Mike Mills refers to as “the three facets of R.E.M.” “Kinda goofy,” Ironic pop songs like "Stand," “harder edged songs” such as the aforementioned "Orange Crush" and the “beautiful, wistful, mid-tempo ballad,” represented here by "You Are Everything" and "Hairshirt." Unlike on the album’s predecessors, Green’s mid tempo ballads prominently feature Peter Buck’s mandolin, which would form part of the signature R.E.M sound over the next two albums. The instrumental experimentation doesn’t stop there however, with accordion and piano providing perfect accompaniment in the stunning ballad "You Are Everything." Such experimentation provides a different feel to the “wistful mid-tempo” edge of R.E.M. heard on earlier tracks such as Murmur’s "Perfect Circle." The use of cello is also introduced in "World Leader Pretend," hinting at further use of strings which was realised on Out of Time and Automatic for the People.

For me, a highlight of the R.E.M. sound is Mike Mills’ superb backing vocals. Mills is arguably the finest backing vocalist in the history of rock and roll and doesn’t fail to impress on Green. The interplay between Stipe and Mills during "The Wrong Child" brings the song to life, passing phrases between the two voices gives the song a beautiful, eerie quality: “What do I do?” “What can I do?” “What should I do?” “What do I say?” Vocal harmonies in "Stand" and "I Remember California" make the choruses soar, taking them to a new level. With Stipe’s unmistakable vocals the centre-point of R.E.M.’s sound, Mills will remain their unsung hero, though I’m sure a remix of "Turn You Inside Out" with his vocals removed would prove his importance.

Green provides a stepping stone between cult underground status and the “biggest band in the world” status that R.E.M. would achieve with the huge commercial success of Out of Time and Automatic for the People. An experimental album in many aspects, Green lacks the cohesive feel of Lifes Rich Pageant or, to a lesser extent, Document. The balance of the album also lets it down somewhat, with the departure from the guitar-rock of the IRS releases; Green arrives at a more acoustic destination, a style later mastered on Out of Time. Unfortunately this change results in Green getting its wheels stuck in a mid-tempo mire which can lead to the album getting a little wearing. On previous albums there were fast paced, energetic songs like "I Believe" and "It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" which reset the balance of the more melancholy numbers; On Green, even the big singles "Orange Crush" and "Stand" plod along at a leisurely rate. After "The Wrong Child," the listener requires a faster number to redress the balance of the album, instead they get the hard-hitting "Orange Crush," with its message of horrible war crimes. As a result of this, by the time Green reaches "I Remember California," I can be found shouting “cheer up Michael, for god’s sake” at my stereo.

R.E.M.’s largest problem is of their own making. The sheer brilliance of some of their albums can make it hard for each one to appear stunning when delving through their massive back-catalogue. Green is an important album in many aspects, putting R.E.M. on the map in Europe and having an effect on the Grunge boom of the early 90’s, with Kurt Cobain placing Green amongst his list entitled “Top 50 by Nirvana." In isolation, this album would probably receive a higher rating; however, with masterpieces like Murmur and Document in my collection, I find it slides down the R.E.M. pecking order. Despite the album’s pacing problems, Green hones the R.E.M. formula for their first massive commercial success with Out of Time in 1991 and prepares the band for global stardom.


user ratings (302)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DrFunkenstein47
February 22nd 2013


16 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you kind sir!

StallionMang
January 12th 2014


5633 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I must be the only one who doesn't like Orange Crush, mainly because it just sounds way too derivative of The One I Love

Digging: The Antlers - In the Attic of the Universe

dannyboy89
March 28th 2014


11962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Jammin' REM 'cause why not?

Band doesn't seem to get much love on Sput, yet they were alt-rock pioneers.

This is pretty good, but there are a couple of dull tracks.

dannyboy89
March 28th 2014


11962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

These guys weren't that good at making acoustic tracks.

Brabiz
August 10th 2014


212 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh god, Stand brings back those Get A Life feels.

Digging: Harakiri for the Sky - Aokigahara

jagride
August 29th 2014


2339 Comments


people who say feels should be shot on sight

KILL
August 29th 2014


71795 Comments


seriously what a bunch of faggots

zakalwe
August 29th 2014


8116 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nope I won't hear a bad word said dude!

jagride
August 29th 2014


2339 Comments


really cheapens the heartfelt emotions that stipe brings to the music! you heard this one?

ArsMoriendi
August 29th 2014


4363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I must be the only one who doesn't like Orange Crush, mainly because it just sounds way too derivative of The One I Love"

I like it a lot, but I strongly prefer "The One I Love" if that makes you feel any better.

Digging: Stanley Clarke - School Days

KILL
August 29th 2014


71795 Comments


nah i need to listen to more, every time i go to i put on murmur like a safe bitch

zakalwe
August 29th 2014


8116 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's cos you know that if you spin You Are The Everything you'll end up wiping away the tears with your girly locks and you just can't face being a fanny!

KILL
August 29th 2014


71795 Comments


lol sadly lost my locks a few months back, i'm open to discovering my emotions and shit, only behind blue eyes can get to my warheart

ArsMoriendi
August 29th 2014


4363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"World Leader Pretend" and "Stand" are tied for my favorites on here.

zakalwe
August 29th 2014


8116 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm with ya there kill dude.


jagride
August 29th 2014


2339 Comments


yeah this doesn't touch the first few albums but one of the things i appreciate about these guys is how
they transitioned from stuff like fables of the reconstruction to being a huge band writing goofy shit
like shiny happy people and stand but still making respectable albums

KILL
August 29th 2014


71795 Comments


ive heard lifes rich pageant thats a great one, also monster cos my dad always played it as a kid, dont really dig anything off that tho

dude jam the who i'm about to rock to some odorono


ArsMoriendi
August 29th 2014


4363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lifes Richest Pageant is great. KILL, you'd probably like Document.

jagride
August 29th 2014


2339 Comments


monster is where the rot set in

who are high up on my priority list but im working on reposting my urinals review

KILL
August 29th 2014


71795 Comments


werent happy with the first one then? hope you do soon dude its funny theyre like one of the biggest rock bands ever yet its almost impossible to get people to jam them on here



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