R.E.M. has been around since 1983 when they released there debut Murmur. R.E.M. has released a total of 13 albums in there career. I own most of there albums and Out of Time ranks towards the bottom for me. Out of Time is R.E.M’s 7th album. R.E.M. is an alt/rock, jangle pop band that writes catchy songs and there music has a folk feel to it. This is one of R.E.M’s most inventive and fun albums. There are more happy, fun songs on Out of Time than depressing, or dark folk tunes. Out of Time is a fun album, and is probably there most popular album. While this album is fun, it can also be boring in many ways.
R.E.M. added additional members to this album to make it more fun and exciting. The B-52's Kate Pierson makes an appearance in a few tracks adding some female vocals. On “Radio Song” the rapper KRS-One raps and ads in some smooth back up vocals. Even though R.E.M. ads in some guests to give the music some spice it really doesn’t do too much. Sure the music is fun, but in a different way. I have always liked R.E.M. because they made simple, catchy, sometimes even dark tunes and now there isn’t a lot of that on this album. Out of Time also features some changes in instruments. R.E.M. has added in moogs and most noticeably string instruments. While these instruments don’t completely dominate the music they play a big role in the overall sound. Basically R.E.M. has dropped some of the simple folk tunes and experimented with Out of Time.
The problem with this album is that you don’t want to come back for more. This album is effective for an occasional listen but it’s not good for more than one listen every two weeks or so. R.E.M. explore with different sounds in this album. “Shiny Happy People” is an ironic, upbeat song that will instantly put a smile on your face. “Me In Honey” is also an upbeat tune. “Radio Song” is oddly enough a funk song and in my opinion it doesn’t work well. While “Shiny Happy People” is a fun upbeat track “Radio Song” is fun for an occasional listen but just doesn’t do it for a regular listen. “Low” and the popular radio hit “Losing my Religion” are both great classic songs that are dark, and melancholy. While R.E.M. has about four or five solid tracks on this album I’m afraid that the rest of these songs are hit or miss. This album is a fun catchy experience but there isn’t a lot of substance.
The lyrics on this album are good on some songs, and then horrible on others. “Country Feedback” and “Losing my Religion” have the best lyrics and they are dark, and interesting. However on songs like “Shiny Happy People” and “Radio Song” the lyrics are worthless and have nothing to say. Basically you either love these songs or you hate them. The lyrics don’t bring down the album, but they certainly aren’t a highlight unlike other R.E.M. albums. Michael Stripes vocals are country influenced, and happy in some of the more upbeat tracks. His vocals can also be dark, rough and depressing in the more moody and gentle tracks. Stripe shows a lot of range and his vocals fit well with the different moods of these tracks. Now guest member Kate Pierson’s female vocals play a big role in “Shiny Happy People” and “Me in Honey.” Her vocals are high pitched and they mix well with the happy and joyful feel of those two tracks.
While other R.E.M. albums can be played over and over again Out of Time doesn’t have much replay value. This album can also be very frustrating to. Whenever I decide I want to listen to this I am usually disappointed. I think to myself that I want to hear songs like “Texarkana” and “Country Feedback” so I give this album a spin. I am disappointed just because it is to inconsistent and there are too many songs that I dislike. Out of these eleven tracks I enjoy about six or seven of them for a regular listen. If I want happy music than some of these songs work, but the darker ones don’t. Out of Time is an inconsistent album and there are some darker, depressing tracks, and then there are joyful, uplifting tracks. Once again this album isn’t an album I can pick up and listen to whenever I please.
Instrumentally R.E.M. is powered by an acoustic guitar, a mandolin, and most noticeably a string section. The music makes an alt/pop or even a folk/pop sound. R.E.M. has moved on from there debut Murmur and has changed there sound to more of a rock band instead of post-punk. I will tell you that I hate country music and I’m not a folk fan by any means but this album isn’t that bad even though it has obvious country influences. R.E.M. isn’t a hard rocking band, they play softer rock music and it has a lick of country and garage rock added to its sound. When you listen to Out of Time you can relax or just enjoy the happier songs. Some R.E.M. purists will enjoy the darker songs on the album. Out of Time has something for everyone to enjoy, unfortunately I enjoy only about two-thirds of the whole album.
Overall this is a weak R.E.M. album. This is probably my least favorite R.E.M. album with the exception of Dead Letter Office. While there are some great songs on this album R.E.M. just doesn’t get things done. While there was a few awesome singles released off the album that doesn’t mean that this album is good. Out of Time is lacking when it comes to consistency, but I would consider this to be an experimental album. Most of these songs are catchy and will satisfy most casual listeners, but when it comes to hardcore fans of the band then it will be a disappointment. While Out of Time has a few great songs, it is lacking and just doesn’t measure up to other R.E.M. albums.
For an R.E.M. album - 2/5
Overall Rating -3/5
Album Art : http://img.epinions.com/images/opti/2f/b0/136019-resized200.jpg
Some amazing songs
Some dark songs, and some uplifting ones
Too many bad tracks
Doesn’t compare to other R.E.M. albums
Some claimed that R.E.M. sold out
Recommended Tracks :
“Losing My Religion”