Tag Archives: R.e.m.

Recollection Volume 19 – Automatic For The People

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses… 

Album: Automatic For The People
Artist: R.E.M.
Released: 1992
Format(s) I own it on: CD

With the recent passing of Nash The Slash, I’m tempted to write about his album Dreams and Nightmares, but I promised myself this would be random. So for now, R.E.M. …

Automatic For The PeopleI was 10 when this album came out. It was always around throughout my life. The singles on this album were in heavy rotation on Toronto stations and Much Music. The videos for “Everybody Hurts” and “Man On The Moon” were always on television. That image of Michael Stipe wandering that freeway is permanently associated with the song.

It was only a year and a half earlier that Out of Time was released and R.E.M. entered my world. “Shiny Happy People” and “Losing My Religion” were documents of the era. A gentler transition from the prefabricated pop of the ’80s into the grunge and alternative of the ’90s was allowed through R.E.M., rather than the jarring burst of energy from Nirvana.

Though this record was always around me, I never bought it. My building has a book exchange. Someone once left a stack of CDs there, and I grabbed myself a free copy of Automatic For The People. It might have taken me forever to have a copy, but I feel I know it so well.

R.E.M. have an amazing skill at writing well-crafted addictive pop songs. Automatic For The People is amongst their most commercial release. They released six singles from the album, three of which did extremely well on Canadian charts, and the other three did well to great on other charts.

These songs stand the test of time, and are rooted in a tradition of great pop music with an easy line of sight to the mastery of Lennon-McCartney.


“Everybody Hurts,” “Drive,” Nightswimming,” and “Man on the Moon.” Duh.


“New Orleans Instrumental No. 1” and “Sweetness Follows” is a bit of a dull spot on the album. They aren’t bad per se, but they don’t stand out like the rest.

Men 15.25 (80%) | Women 3.75 (20%)
Canada 5.8 (31%) | USA 9.53 (50%) | UK 3.66 (19%)
Ontario 2 (33%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (33%) | New Brunswick 1 (16%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (16%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)



Criminal Records

Dear Criminal Records,
When you first opened, there wasn’t any gap in the Toronto record store scene. We had Rotate This, Soundscapes, Sonic Boom, we might have even had Sam’s still. Toronto’s music nerds were happy. Then you opened, I remember seeing your sign on Queen Street and being excited for this new record store, even though I had no use for ANOTHER one. Then one day, I went in, I was greeted with incredible prices, fantastic selection, wonderful staff/owners, and a lot of vinyl. Though we didn’t need another record store, we learned we needed a great record store, and you showed Toronto how amazing one can be.

It’s been years now, and today you close your doors for good. As I entered the store I immediately saw friends, all gathering around with their purchases saying goodbye to a Toronto institution. It was bittersweet flipping through the racks, seeing many albums that I wanted, it reminded me of the first time Sam The Record Man closed.

Some good did come out of today’s sad affair, I did walk away with a handful of records. I’m now going to listen to them and weep.



For those interested, records acquired are:

  • Paul McCartney – “We All Stand Together” 7″
  • Fran Healy – “Wreckorder”
  • Little Scream – “The Golden Record”
  • Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”
  • Mount Eerie – “Black Wooden”
  • Papercuts – “Fading Parade”
  • R.E.M. – “Chronic Town”
  • Stereolab – “Not Music”