A record that began with a message to the kids about control (“Drive”) ends with a song suggesting that we’re all powerless in the face of mortality.
Automatic for the People
On the 'Automatic for the People' highlight, Michael Stipe employs the only known way to time-travel: memories.
The song was ready. Everything was there: Bass, drums, guitars. There was only one slight problem. It didn’t have a title, or lyrics, or vocals.
The famous actress Meg Ryan convinced R.E.M. to alter the title of the lusty 'Automatic' ballad, so they turned it into an in-joke.
'Ignoreland' was the most biting and specific political critique of R.E.M.'s then-12-year career.
The tragic life of film star Montgomery Clift, and a Greek instrument called the bouzouki, inspired R.E.M.'s mysterious "Monty Got a Raw Deal."
Taking inspiration from the Big Easy, and some wine, R.E.M. created a late-night atmosphere on 'Automatic''s lone instrumental track.
A meditation on loss, the quiet, pulsing "Sweetness Follows" might be the centerpiece of 'Automatic for the People.'
R.E.M.'s R&B-influenced ballad took an uncharacteristically direct approach to the subject of suicide.
With a little inspiration from a doo-wop classic, this bouncy track brought some levity to the moody 'Automatic for the People.' But what does the song mean?