R.E.M – Green (1988)

Jared Fisch, Eastside Underground Editor

R.E.M. was an American rock band that paved the way for bands like Nirvana. R.E.M. from Athens, GA, helped grow the alternative rock scene. R.E.M. was composed of four main band members: Michael Stipe (lead singer), Peter Buck (guitarist), Mike Mills (bassist) and Bill Berry (drummer). They released their sixth album Green in 1988. This is the first album they released after beginning to work with the Warner Bros. record label. To promote this new album R.E.M. went on a world tour which drove album sales to skyrocket over half a million units and reach double platinum in the U.S. and Canada.

Green has an overall chill vibe running throughout the album. R.E.M. goes from intense drum beats to the soft strumming of an acoustic guitar which can both be found in Green. Many songs like track three, “You Are The Everything” and track nine, “Hairshirt” have the calm strumming of an acoustic guitar which brings a peaceful attitude to the listener. Track three, “You Are The Everything” opens with the blissful sound of crickets chirping on a summer night which only adds on to the serenity of this album. Track two, “Get Up” is a more intense song that contains heavier drum beats and electric guitar strumming.

Track four, “Stand” is another upbeat song which calls upon the listener to think about direction in a deeper way with lyrics like: “Stand in the place where you live/ now face north/ think about direction/ wonder why you haven’t before.” Track five, “World Leader Pretend”, which has a darker feel within its lyrics and instruments, follows up the seemingly calm previous track. Lyrics like: “I sit at my table and wage war on myself” brings a dark and evil feel to this song. Stipe’s voice, which seems to be deeper in this song, adds to that mysterious vibe.

Overall, Stipe combined his voice with the instruments to create a wonderful feel to this album.

The descriptive lyrics like in track ten, “I Remember California” really popped as Stipe sang about redwood trees. Stipe brought these descriptive lyrics throughout the album to really make it a masterpiece.