R.E.M. – Stream the New “Monster” Reissue With Previously Unreleased Tracks | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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R.E.M. – Stream the New “Monster” Reissue With Previously Unreleased Tracks

Monster Reissue Out Now via Craft Recordings

Nov 01, 2019 R.E.M.
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R.E.M. have released a 25th anniversary deluxe box set reissue of their 1994 album Monster today via Craft Recordings. The box set includes a new remix of the entire album by original producer Scott Litt, as well as various unreleased tracks, including demos, and a 1995 live show recorded in Chicago. Now that the reissue is out, you can stream the whole thing below.

Previously R.E.M. shared a new remix of the album’s single “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” by Litt. Then they shared another bonus track from the reissue, “Revolution 4-21 (Demo).” The final version of the song, “Revolution,” appeared on the soundtrack to the worst Batman film ever, 1997’s Batman and Robin (the one with George Clooney). Then they shared a new Litt remix of the album’s “Let Me In,” via a lyric video. The song was written in response to the suicide of the band’s friend Kurt Cobain and features one of his guitars. The new version stripped back some of the distortion to make the vocals cleaner and also exorcised the keyboards. Then they shared another bonus track, the previously unreleased instrumental song “Uptempo Mo Distortion.”

Then they launched a cool new A/B experience on their website where you can hear each song and switch back and forth at whim between the original 1994 mix and the new one, while the songs are playing. It gives an interesting window into the changes Litt has made: the original version sounds muddier, the new one cleaner with Michael Stipe’s vocals much higher and clearer in the mix. If you have Spotify or Apple Music you can do it with the full songs, otherwise it is 30-second snippets. Try it out on their website here.

The Monster reissue comes in a six-disc set that includes the original album, a disc of demos, the whole album remixed, two live concerts, and a Blu-ray featuring all the album’s music videos and the Road Movie concert film. It’s also available in other CD, LP, and digital configurations.

Monster found R.E.M. experimenting with their sound. It followed the release of 1992’s mammoth Automatic For the People, which sold 18 million copies worldwide, and so the band took a chance on a rawer, more rock and glam sound.

“We were trying to feel like a different band,” the band’s Peter Buck said in a previous press release. “We wanted to get away from who we were.”

As a result, Monster was still a success, debuting at #1, but perhaps not quite as much as the album before it and it did divide some fans and critics.

Monster‘s producer Scott Litt was never happy with the original mix of the album and so has remixed the whole thing. “I had told the band through the years that if there was ever a chance to take another shot at mixing the album, I wanted to do it,” said Litt in the press release. The band’s Mike Mills added: “I think as he listened to it over the years, he began to hear a different way to realize those songs.”

R.E.M. also recently shared a previously unreleased song, “Fascinating,” to benefit Bahamas hurricane relief efforts by Mercy Corps. The song was recorded in Nassau, Bahamas in 2004 for their Around the Sun album (released later that year), but it didn’t make the cut. You can stream it or download it from Bandcamp for a donation of $2.00 or more. Hurricane Dorian caused much destruction in Bahamas’ northwest islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco in early September. “Fascinating” was one of our Songs of the Week.

An original version of “Fascinating” was intended for R.E.M.‘s 2001-released album Reveal, before being cut at the last minute, despite being frontman Michael Stipe’s favorite song from the Reveal sessions (according to David Buckley’s R.E.M. biography, Fiction), but the album was too long and something had to be cut. It was re-recorded by Stipe and his bandmates Peter Buck and Mike Mills in 2004 for Reveal (co-produced by Pat McCarthy and R.E.M, and engineered by Jamie Candiloro), but was cut again because the lush song didn’t fit the vibe of the rest of the album, which was sparer.

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe also recently shared his first ever solo song, “Your Capricious Soul.” It is available to download for 77 cents (or more if you’d like) from www.michaelstipe.com, with all proceeds for the next year going to the climate change organization Extinction Rebellion.

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