R.E.M. – Automatic For the People

To an untrained ear this may sound like a a bunch of boring dad rock – plodding, mid-tempo, inoffensive, but it uses sneaky tricks to wriggle its way into my heart. This album is obsessed with death, features a diatribe against Republicans with the best political lyrics I can think of in ANY song, and isn’t afraid to laugh at itself. Plus, it’d take a a real asshole to not feel sympathetic towards the completely unselfish “Everybody Hurts,” hokey as it may be.

It helps, of course, that every single song has a melody that’ll stick in your side-asses (ears) for the rest of your life. The only exception is the sort-of-creepy-but-mostly-great come-on song “Star Me Kitten,” which is obviously meant to be titled “Fuck Me Kitten,” but R.E.M. is a bunch of respectable artists. Oh, and the ping-pong instrumental in the middle, but even that is beautiful and elegaic! And it sold eighteen million copies! That’s what a couple well-placed blowjobs’ll do for ya!

So yes, by rights its dad-rock, but really? The songs are about death, fucking, and Andy Kaufman. A solid lineup. Plus its bookended by classy artistic whatsthises, and the best two songs are the quietest – “Sweetness Follows” and “Nightswimming” are freaking gorgeous, and what is our job as atheist humans if not to remind each other of the beautiful things that exist?

Now, after they’re done exploring the majesty and beauty of the end of life, I eagerly await the release that will explore the majesty and beauty of titfucking, also a part of any meaningful life. Unless you’re comically ugly, that is. Like the balding woman across the street at the streetcar stop wearing a bright red tracksuit! Haha! This person, whose struggles I do not understand and will never understand, is comical in appearance to me!

9/10

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