I spent most of my workday listening to music today, and really enjoyed it. One album I revisited, thanks to a remaster and, basically, nostalgia, was “Green” by R.E.M. Green was my first R.E.M. album, which I got when I was in middle school. (I don’t remember how I learned about them. I know it wasn’t from hearing “Stand”. It was probably from browsing “Rolling Stone” in a bookstore.)
Now, instead of reading liner notes while I listen to an album, I surf the web for album reviews to read instead. The best “Green” review I found today was by Andrezj Lukowski on Drowned in Sound:
Green is the end of something and the beginning of something else and the continuation of something greater, but rather than get lost in grand narratives, maybe let’s focus on what it sounds like.
For the most part, Green sounds like innocence, a sense of youth and light and simplicity and clumsiness and play that had not been in the band’s makeup when they burst out of the Georgian murk with the Chronic Town and Murmur.
I don’t really know what the changes the remaster did to the album. It may have just made everything louder. Whatever the improvements were, the album sounded great on my super nice headphones. Of course, when I was a kid, listening to “Green” on repeat in my bedroom, I had real, but very cheap, speakers, so the experience isn’t exactly comparable.
On other R.E.M. album remasters, I have found that I can understand every one of Michael Stipe’s elliptical, nonsense lyrics on R.E.M.’s oldest songs, and that isn’t always a good thing. By the time R.E.M. made “Green”, Michael Stipe’s lyrics were a lot more straightforward, and his singing was clear and up front in the mix.
Anyway, “Green” was and is still great. It was fun to revisit it today.