I see most of our Bloggers are still in vacation mode so i’m going to do something I haven’t done for a while, an Awesomely Awful Album post!
Monster was the first R.E.M album I ever really got into. I knew and liked a handful of R.E.M. songs liked Losing My Religion, Stand (as the theme song for Get A Life) & It’s the End of the World quite a bit. But at 14 (when this album came out), I sort of saw R.E.M. along the same lines as Sinead O’Conner, a harder edged Adult Contemporary rock act. This was mainly due to the softer sound of Automatic for the People hitting my then teen ears. As I got older I would of course discover and truly appreciate how amazing Automatic is, and most of R.E.M.’s catalog for that matter. But Monster still to this day is probably my favorite R.E.M. album.
I know amongst R.E.M. die-hards this is album is the dividing line between true R.E.M. fans and johnny-come-latelys (i.e. Me). It’s pretty transparent that R.E.M. was trying to appeal to the new breed of Alternative Rock radio fans (again i.e. Me) and “Grunging” up their sound on Monster, but so what? Sell-out move or not R.E.M. really knew how to make an amazing album that appealed to a new generation of fans, while staying true to the band at it’s core. Monster lacks a single bad song and really stands the test of time (at least for me). While I concede that in 1994 Monster sounded like a drastic departure for the band, but listening back to it now, is it really that different from the R.E.M. of the 80s? Yes it’s louder, noisier and has crossover appeal but the song writing is still strong. I think more bands should consider “selling-out” if it meant an album as solid as this!- My Pal the Crook