R.E.M.'s 1992 album Automatic For The People still sounds amazing 30 years later
Automatic For The People was released in the United States on October 6, 1992, (released one day earlier in the U.K. & Europe) and solidified R.E.M. as one of the best bands of their generation.
Not because it's sold over 20 million copies worldwide, not because it can claim six singles including gigantic hits such as "Everybody Hurts" and "Man on the Moon", and not because it was the follow-up to one of the biggest albums of the 90s, Out of Time, but because it's one of the best-crafted albums to have been released over the past three decades.
The album delivers the most hauntingly beautiful sounds and melodies one could want when settling into a pair of headphones and needing to be taken away for a while.
"This is the members of R.E.M. delving deeper than ever; grown sadder and wiser, the Athens subversives reveal a darker vision that shimmers with new, complex beauty." - Paul Evans/Rolling Stone
The darkness of the music is accompanied by lyrical themes of loss, mourning, isolation, and depression. It's not as bleak as you think because woven into the introspective thoughts and sounds are hints of promise and hope.
Helping the band achieve the atmosphere and ambiance the record is bathed in, is none other than John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. His astonishing abilities with strings, arrangements, and textures add a dimension to Automatic... that would never have been achieved without him.
Somehow, 30 years have slipped by since its release but the record doesn't sound a day older than when it debuted.
Listen to it today, with a special focus on the final two tracks, "Nightswimming" and "Find The River", and you'll understand the power that Automatic For The People still wields.