R.E.M: Monster( Deluxe Edition)- 2019

Monster the stellar album from R.E.M gets the respect it deserves 25 years later(yikes where does the time go?) in this massive 64 song set which clocks in at 4 hours 30 minutes!

Disc: 1 (CD) Monster remastered
1. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
2. Crush With Eyeliner
3. King Of Comedy
4. I Don’t Sleep, I Dream
5. Star 69
6. Strange Currencies
7. Tongue
8. Bang And Blame
9. I Took Your Name
10. Let Me In
11. Circus Envy
12. You

Disc: 2 (CD) Unreleased Demos
1. Pete’s Hit
2. Uptempo Mo Distortion
3. Uptempo Ricky
4. Harlan County with Whistling
5. Lost Song
6. AM Boo
7. Mike’s Gtr
8. Sputnik 1 Remix
9. Black Sky 4-14
10. Revolution 4-21
11. Rocker with vocal
12. Time Is On Mike’s Side
13. 1Experiment 4-28 no vocal
14. Highland Fling 4-29
15. Cranky 4-29

Disc: 3 (CD) Monster Scott Litt 2019 remix
1. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (2019 Remix)
2. Crush With Eyeliner (2019 Remix)
3. King Of Comedy (2019 Remix)
4. I Don’t Sleep, I Dream (2019 Remix)
5. Star 69 (2019 Remix)
6. Strange Currencies (2019 Remix)
7. Tongue (2019 Remix)
8. Bang And Blame (2019 Remix)
9. I Took Your Name (2019 Remix)
10. Let Me In (2019 Remix)
11. Circus Envy (2019 Remix)
12. You (2019 Remix)

Disc: 4 (CD) Live in Chicago 6/3/95 – Monster 1995 Tour (Part One)
1. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
2. Circus Envy
3. Crush With Eyeliner
4. Near Wild Heaven
5. Welcome To The Occupation
6. Undertow
7. I Took Your Name
8. Strange Currencies
9. Me In Honey
10. Revolution
11. Tongue
12. Man On The Moon
13. Country Feedback
14. Monty Got A Raw Deal

Disc: 5 (CD) Live in Chicago 6/3/95 – Monster 1995 Tour (Part Two)
1. Losing My Religion
2. You
3. Departure
4. Orange Crush
5. Get Up
6. Star 69
7. Let Me In
8. Everybody Hurts
9. So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)
10. Pop Song 89
11. Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Now, that’s getting your money’s worth of what I would consider R.E.M’s best album (my opinion) that has the Guitar of Peter Buck cranked up which back in 1994 a lot of acts had to do as Kurt and his Tattered Cardigan had changed the sonic soundscape of music.

Kudos to Micheal Stipe/Mike Mills/Bill Berry and Buck for putting out this full retro lool of a classic album or what I would consider classic.

I’m not the only that thinks that as Monster at the time of its release debuted at Number 1 in Canada and went 6 times Platinum!

R.E.M adapted to this change and put out a rocking album which I reviewed as a Birthday Gift from my sister (Kristin) back in 1994!

25 years later it’s time for the upgrade which comes with a bunch of demos (15 songs) all with different working titles(lot’s of musical only tunes no vocals) and compared to the final product of what you hear with Monster the guitars are clean sounding. Interesting as there is one song that is country-infused rock with whistling instead of singing.

R.E.M fuses Glam Rock and Grunge and viola a classic is released 

Course the original 12 song release is remastered and leads off the box set but what is a really interesting move is that R.E.M producer Scott Litt remixed the whole Monster again so there is a second version of Monster album and it sounds totally different than the original sonically speaking. Gone are the echoey guitar blasts during What’s the Frequency Kenneth. It’s an interesting listen and neat to hear.

The 25 song live set from Chicago(1995) is a wicked show and features a bunch of tracks of course from Monster as well as the hits from years past up till that point. The show itself sounds like its direct from the soundboard which is how it should be. Peter Bucks guitar has a dirty tone to it which is fantastic as well it’s great to heat Mike Mills driving some of those tunes on his Bass like Crush With Eyeliner. Stipe’s vocals I can tell you are live as this show( his voice is going hoarse towards the end) has not been tweaked and that’s how it should be! I love Orange Crush with those lyrics…

(Follow me, don’t follow me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(Collar me, don’t collar me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I’ve had my fun and now it’s time
To serve your conscience overseas (over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me

1994-1996 must have been a weird time in the history of R.E.M as they were plagued with health issues(Hernia with Stipe and a brain aneurysm suffered by Berry) yet they soldiered on with what I would consider there best album.

Even though Monster sold like gangbusters at first I noticed that once second-hand CD shops opened here in Thunder Bay copies of Monster would be sitting in the used bins!

That confused me at first as I thought are people deaf in hearing some great based driven guitar rock? I quickly realized that perhaps some people were spooked that there was no Shiny Happy People like R.E.M tunes on Monster.

I asked my pal Mikey Ladano as he used to work at a Record Shop at this time in Kitchener and confirmed that people would bring Monster in to sell. Mikey said he kept the orange cases as the original cover artwork and CD cases were orange. Blue is being used for the reissue!

This is a deluxe edition you should own. I like the fact that with all these recent reissues bands are putting out actual live shows from that era that they are releasing these deluxe editions. Monster is pricey on Amazon pushing close to a 100 (Peter) bucks so it was way out of my league so I took the cheaper alternative route which is iTunes.

You have to hand it to R.E.M as it’s been 8 years since they broke up and yet they remain friendly towards each other (Stipe and Mills have been plugging this reissue together) as well as they own all there Masters so this album is coming straight from them. The only other band who walked away with class was RUSH.

‘Life is strange, yeah (Life is strange)
What can I make myself be? (Fake her)’

 

 

19 thoughts on “R.E.M: Monster( Deluxe Edition)- 2019”

  1. Nice one Deke! I love that bands are releasing live shows from the era of the album, it makes these reissues so worth it. They took a page from Coverdale’s playbook. And $100 (Peter) Bucks is a lot!!! They didn’t take that from David as his are usually $60-70 and you get a DVD with his.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to read that you’re a Monster enthusiast, Deke. This is an alltimer for me and I have been listening to this anniversary edition a fair bit. Loads of great stuff there and while I don’t think I’ll spend too much time with the demo stuff, it’s really interesting to hear the stuff that they were pulling together when they made this one.

    The Litt remix has been growing on me – at first I was missing some of the guitar sound (especially on What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?), but some of the remixes are actually really good. Eye opening at least – especially when you hear some of the other bits and pieces a bit clearer.

    And the live stuff is particularly good, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Geoff for reading and what a pretty decent 3 pack of rock albums they put out or trilogy if we want to be politically correct!
      I’m really glad I caught em when they actually showed up here in Tbay.

      Liked by 1 person

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