Review #96: Automatic For The People, R.E.M.

Karla Clifton
2 min readJun 3, 2021

#96: Automatic For The People, R.E.M.

I always hear R.E.M. referred to as “college rock,” and I’ve never really known what that means. According to my best friend Wikipedia, it’s just rock that college students played on their radio station to avoid the mainstream. Okay, so it’s alt-rock. Why not just say that?

Whatever. I guess it doesn’t matter, I am very into R.E.M. and think that the end of the world will start with an earthquake, birds and snakes and aeroplanes, but Lenny Bruce won’t be afraid. Did you know R.E.M. broke up in 2011? I respect that, very dignified.

The RS blurb talks about how brave it was for R.E.M. to release such an acousticky album, which is a funny way to say it.. Automatic For The People rocks about as hard as melted soft-serve vanilla ice cream. But I love when grunge is soft.

Have you seen Michael Stipe recently?? He looks like a war veteran Father Christmas.


“Try Not To Breathe” — Whatever you say, Michael Stipe!

“The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite” — Not a misspelling. “Call me when you try to wake her up” is the chorus. I did not know the sidewinder was female!

“Everybody Hurts” — This is a punk rock song.

“New Orleans Instrumental #1” — Instrumental You Can Vibe To #1.

“Monty Got A Raw Deal” — About actor Montgomery Clift. Michael Stipe said that Elizabeth Taylor told him “The love that we had was more powerful than any love I’ve ever known. There was no name for it then, and there’s no name for it now.” WOW.

“Ignoreland” — Reading R.E.M. lyrics is like reading a William Borroughs book.

“Star Me Kitten” — I think R.E.M. might be a weird band.

“Man On The Moon” — Tell me this bass guitar doesn’t make you feel like you’re a man on the moon. This song has the word Yeah 56 times.

“Nightswimming” — This is a punk rock piano ballad.


“Drive” — I wasn’t ready for “Drive” when “Drive” came on.

“Find The River” — I almost never like songs about rivers. But people love writing songs about rivers, so I guess I’ll just have to continue to suffer.


R.E.M. deserves to be here, and I wish them a happy retirement.

Review #95: Take Care, Drake

Review #97: Master of Puppets, Metallica