Released: Sep 27, 1994
Styles: Alternative Pop/ Rock
Number Of Tracks: 12
Monster doesn't have the conceptual unity or consistently brilliant songwriting of Automatic, but it does offer a wide range of sonic textures that have never been heard on an R.E.M. album before.
Ababil_Albarn, on september 27, 2004 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The anomaly in REM 's entire catalougue, "Monster" is the closest thing REM's gonna get to a conventional rock record. Buck's Nirvana-esque guitar work dominates the most of the album with Berry's thunderous drums just behind him while Mills's bass is reduced to a weak purr. Representative of the prior statement would be the songs "Star 69", "Crush With Eyeliner" and "I Took Your Name". But Mills' presence isn't totally gone with the essensial basslines to the singles such as "What's The Frequancy, Kenneth?" and "Bang And Blame"
But the production quality isn't up to REM standards (because Buck wanted it to be) but its just rapes the REM sound a little, at least the definition of each instrument not that clear. But it is not Scott Litt's producing capabilities that I'm questioning but it's just the decision Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe to go in this direction almost feet first. But they did want to make new material that can be easily translated live because they did have that "Monster" tour to go through. The sound only warrents a 3. // 6
Lyrics: Stipe lyrics on "Monster" is his most un-personal and sexual. He plays characters more than he is just plain himself. To some extent he plays a reformed female prostitute on "Tongue", "Don't lay that stuff all over me/It pains me", and a unhappy wife and her husband on "I Don't Sleep, I Dream", "I don't sleep, I dream/I'll settle for a cup of coffee but you know what I really need" and "Am I good in bed? /I don't know, I guess so" respectively. It's intrigueing to read the lyrics while hearing the record and the lyrics on Monster are among his best. Although, some discression is advised.
The vocals on the other hand just sucks. The distorted voice on "King Of Comedy" Echo on "Star 69" The spacy falsettos on almost all the songs? No they just dont work. What the songs on "Monster" needed are direct vocals that Stipe is so good at, the distorted vouce may work on "Lotus" (from "Up", 1998) and the echo worked on "Drive" (from "Automatic For The People", 1993) but just not here. But lyricwise it's a 5. // 10
Overall Impression: It's bit weird to hear REM distorted like this. The whole record sounds well distorted. "Monster" is arguebly REM worst record with "Reveal" (2001) [overproduced by Pat McCarthy] and "Fables Of The Reconstuction" (1985) [the f--ked up sound quality] just behind. Bottom Line: REM should never do a record like this again. P.S. But they rock anyway 4. // 8
guitar_man_jan, on february 04, 2005 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: What more can say about this fantastic band that hasn't already been said before? Another great album from REM, with very much the same sound as previous albums. I'm not complaining though. But, there are some down-points as with most albums. Not as many songs seemed to attract my attention as with other albums of theirs. // 8
Lyrics: Wierd and wonderful lyrics from REM once again. But it is hard to relate to the lyrics with everyday life because of the complexities of them. I have troubled understanding what some of them are about. But you can tell that they mean something to someone, and that a lot of effort has been put in to the songs as usual, although as I have said before, not as many songs caught my attention as did with other albums. The singer once again has a fantastic voice, and has very much stayed the same style, which is not a disappointment. // 8
Overall Impression: I really enjoyed this album, although there are not as many potential hits on it, and not as many "memorable" songs. Some very nice work though, and some classic REM sounds and styles. I really enjoyed this, but it isn't their best to be honest. A great album though. // 8