by Aeaon USER (3 Reviews)
July 10th, 2005 | 82 replies

Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

R.E.M is:
Michael Stipe
Peter Buck
Mike Mills
Bill Berry

Monster is R.E.M's "hard rock" moment. After the dark and haunting Automatic For THe People, R.E.M decided to return to being a rock band. Instead of another Green or Document, R.E.M decided to take their jangle pop sound and crank up the volumes on the guitar.

For most part, this is a pretty decent album with a few weak songs, and the tour that was launched was quite successful. Unfortunately, this album received negative comments by critics, and some of the older fans considered it to be a big deprture by some of the bands previous works. Despite what others say, this is a pretty good album, but not the best place to start if you want ot get into REM.

The disortion on this album is quite heavy at times. Most of the lyrics are different too, on tracks such as Bang and Blame, Star 69, and Crush WIth Eyeliner. Michael Stipe's vocals are quite different too, and he croons a few times throughout the album, but his voice is a tiny bit weak at times on this album as well.

What's The Frequency Kenneth
After hearing the distorted guitar chords in this song, you can definitely tell that this album is going to be different than what you expected. This song is actually a single, and was pretty popular on MTV. A good way to open the album. 10/10

Crush With Eyeliner
THe catchiest song on this album, and the distortion is quite similar to the previous song and quite catchy too. Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth also contributes to this track. 10/10

King Of Comedy
THis one's pretty different than the previous tracks. It kind of provides a more funky kind of feeling rather than alternative rock feeling. Michael Stipe sing sort of quiet, and the distortion is different. 9/10

I Don't Sleep, I Dream
No distortion on this one but it's pretty melodic. Michael Stipe sings like his usual self on this one, but croons a few times throughout this track. 9/10

Star 69
IMO, the album begins to slip a little. It sounds very punk, unlike anything REM has done before. Unforunately, Michael Stipe's singing throughout is kind of repetitive, and the lyrics are pretty weak. But this one shows that the band was just trying to have fun, playing loud music. 6/10

Strange Currencies
A decent track, but no distortion on this one. Michael Stipe's singing gets kind of repetitive after a while though. Another average track. 7/10

This is an odd track. For most part, there's no guitar, just piano. Michael Stipe signs high pitched throughout the whole track, making it kind of hard to understand what he's singing. Also includes a solo from Peter Buck. 5/10

Bang and Blame
This is where the album starts getting really good again. This song turned out to be as successful as the first two, and it's pretty catchy too. The song ends at 4 minutes, but then it comes back again with Peter Buck playing something similar to Crush With Eyeliner. 10/10

I Took Your Name
Started with Peter Buck playing the same guitar chord throughout the track. Michael Stipe's vocals are smilar to Crush With Eyeliner, but not quite as good. 8/10

Let Me In
Starts with Peter Buck playing guitar chords without drums. Many consider this to be a tribute to Kurt Cobain FYI. Yet the lyrics are quite hard to understand. 9/10

Circus Envy
The distortion in this song is extremely heavy making it hard to understand what Michael Stipe is singing. Not a very good track, and gets kind of boring after a while. 5/10

Peter Bucks' guitar playing kind of reminds me of a country song I heard one time for some reason. This track is better than theprevious one, but gets a little repetitive towards the end. Michael Stipe's vocals are the end of the track are no suprise though. 7/10

This album is pretty good from what I've heard, but don't expect it to be great. If you want to get into REM, you should listen to early albums such as Murmur and Document before this one. It might give you a better opinion of the band.


user ratings (465)
other reviews of this album
putnam39 (3.5)
REM did not make Monster easy – it is difficult to warm to the impersonality of the album’s form...

tribestros (4)
Wait, wasn't Monster released in 1994 and not 1983? Who cares, it's a fresh, upbeat, and heavy trip...

Zebra (3.5)

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 10th 2005


Well the distortion is at least.

September 10th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I just bought this album about two weeks ago. Although your review was excellent I have to disagree that Monster is a solid 3.5 or maybe even a 4 out of 5.

September 12th 2005


Album Rating: 1.5

This album sucks and your review isn't too hot either.

Nice effort though.

edit: What's the Frequency Kenneth is already, but the rest is pretty trashy. This Message Edited On 09.12.05

September 17th 2005


Meh, I suck at reviewing albums. I know.

November 7th 2005


Album Rating: 3.0

I've only heard a handful of tracks off this album, but I thought they were all pretty good. The rest of it must be pretty bad.

December 1st 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

I never saw any professional critiques of this album, so when I bought it, I didn't know that it was one of REM's 'weaker' albums. I think it is one of their best efforts, with songs like "Kenneth," "Crush With Eyeliner," and "Star 69." In my opinion, you were way too harsh on this album. It was very nice to see REM do something different (We don't see this backlash when Radiohead changes their style every album). This album is unfairly looked down upon, if you ask me.

December 1st 2005


Truly awful band
In my opinion, one of the worst successful bands ever, coming a close second to the Dire Straits. I can't find any redeeming features:
Extremely dull instrumentals
Awful melodies
Poor vocals with bad songs

December 1st 2005


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off


The bands earlier work has excellent melodies, Monster is a hit or miss album.

The instruments can be dull at times, but they're usually decent.

The vocals can be poor at times, but they grow on you if you listen to the band regulary.

Remember, this is just my opinion.

March 26th 2006


Not good to admit this, but this was my first CD...
Hey, what can I say, REM is from my hometown.

The Jungler
March 26th 2006


Whats so bad about that? Eifel 65 was my first.

April 22nd 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

This album gets a 3 from me on the strength of the stuff that is actually listenable. It's just a stick in the mud some of the time with no life or movement in some of the tunes. King Of Comedy, I Don't Sleep I Dream, Bang And Blame, and Let Me In barely get the job done IMO, and the closer should of just been left off the album. The rest of it is more then passable, but the album just lacks cohesion and any real focus. It's a good album, but barely, as it is painfully middle of the road and average in some places.

August 20th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

LOVE this album. The noise / distortion is spectavular. If you're a Sonic Youth, VU, or Radiohead fan, this is the REM album for you. There ARE a couple of low points, such as "Bang and Blame" and "Star 69", but "I Don't Sleep I Dream," and "What's the Frequency Kenneth?" make up for those low points with their highs. And the rest of the album is pretty damn good anyway.

I couldn' believe I found this for 99 cents in a used cd shop; and I further couldn't believe how comercially unsuccessful it was (as it was released in the early 90s grunge era, and should have fit right in); or how critically unacclaimed it was.

Pick it up! It's always on hand in a used cd shop, and always cheap!

May 6th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

All the distortion really doesn't do much for me and I don't feel supposed hard rock "edge" of this album. I like "What's the Frequency, Kenneth," "Star 69," "Strange Currencies," and "Tongue," but the rest of this sounds pretty drab to me at this point.

May 6th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

I need to try this record again. Post-Automatic 90s stuff I'm often a little unsure of.

April 25th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

this album is highly underrated and doesn't get the praise it deserves yes it's very different from the usual r.e.m. musical formula but that's what makes it a classic.

July 30th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I think this is a pretty good album, and it deserves a good 3.5, like somebody said here. Some moments are great, like "What's The Frequency, Kenneth", or "Crush With Eyeliner". "Star 69" is another good song, I like it quite a bit, too bad it's pretty underrated.

July 30th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I think this is a pretty good album, and it deserves a good 3.5, like somebody said here. Some moments are great, like "What's The Frequency, Kenneth", or "Crush With Eyeliner". "Star 69" is another good song, I like it quite a bit, too bad it's pretty underrated.

January 31st 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

I really like the sound and style of the album. But not enough good tunes on it.

Outstanding good songs: Bang And Blame and Let Me In

Good songs: What's The Frequency Kenneth? and Crush WIth Eyeliner

January 31st 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Album is far underrated imo.

January 31st 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

It's pretty alright; they've done a lot better.

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