Saturday, 9 July 2011

#446 - "New Adventures In Hi-Fi" - R.E.M.

Released On:  Warner Bros., 1996

I first got into modern rock music the summer before this album was released.  As I was first forming an opinion of music and what was pleasing, the local radio station was playing "E-Bow The Letter", "The Wakeup Bomb", and "Bittersweet Me" in regular rotation.  This album has forever since reminded me of being fourteen and discovering everything for the first time.  For the band it was a retreat from the bombastic guitar noise that made 1994's Monster such a drag, and a willingness to use that noise in moderation and in balance with the somber acoustics that informed Automatic For The People.  The Monster tour did not go swimmingly, but they took a page from their opening act (*cough* Radiohead *cough*) and recorded these songs on the road (presumably learning the mistakes they made on Monster in the process).  There was still a lot of studio-amped loudness ("Leave", "The Wakeup Bomb") but it didn't overwhelm the listener this time around, and it tended to sound more like R.E.M discovering volume rather than R.E.M. discovering grunge.  "Bittersweet Me" especially sounded like a contemporary update of something from their 80s IRS output.  Sometimes at night when I close my eyes I can still hear "E-Bow The Letter" rattling around in there.

Where You'd Know It From:  Radio and television, aging Gen-Xers.



Track Listing:
1.  How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us (4:31)
2.  The Wake-Up Bomb (5:08)
3.  New Test Leper (5:26)
4.  Undertow (5:09)
5.  E-Bow The Letter (5:24)
6.  Leave (7:17)
7.  Departure (3:29)
8.  Bittersweet Me (4:05)
9.  Be Mine (5:33)
10.  Binky The Doormat (5:01)
11.  Zither (2:34)
12.  So Fast, So Numb (4:12)
13.  Low Desert (3:31)
14.  Electrolite (4:05)

("E-Bow The Letter")

("Bittersweet Me")


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