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R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People reissue confirmed for 2017 on new label

Following last year’s reissue of R.E.M.‘s 1991 album Out Of Time, it has been widely expected that the 1992 follow-up, Automatic For The People would also be issued for its 25th anniversary this year. This assumption has been officially confirmed by Concord Bicycle Music, as they announce a new reissue label, Craft Recordings…

Concord are effectively rebranding their growing catalog division and in a press release state that the new label will offer “a tightly curated selection of deluxe CD and vinyl box sets, hi-resolution digital albums, as well as stand-alone LPs.”

They go on to say that “using the original analog masters whenever possible, the company will create thoughtfully produced, detailed packaging with a commitment to preservation and a meticulous devotion to quality.”

As well as “a 25th anniversary edition of R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People” Craft Recordings will this year issue “a box set celebrating the centennial of John Lee Hooker“. Jazz fans will enjoy the first release, which will be a deluxe vinyl edition of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane’s Complete 1957 Recordings.

The Monk/Coltrane box will be released on 26 May 2017 and and you read more about that here. SDE will keep you up to date with news on other Craft Recordings releases, including R.E.M.

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46 responses to R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People reissue confirmed for 2017 on new label

  1. Ern says:

    Now we’re talking. My favourite REM album. It will be interesting to see what extras turn up for this. Excited? You betcha.

    • Marco says:

      They didn’t go on tour to promote AFTP, they only played one single show at the 40 Watt Club in Athens which was “released” in several CD singles from the Monster album…so a proper 40 Watt Club show might be an option for the three CD version…for the rest: demos? Alternate takes? Time will tell…

      • CJ says:

        They didn’t tour, but I think they did quite a few live appearances during the time, as I have several bootlegs from the period (all quite good, actually) which are collections of one-shot appearances from around that era. The proper show would be nice, but I’d also love to get an official release of some of the bootleg material I have.

        Please, please, please, please let there be a 5.1 mix.

        • Andrew M says:

          There already is a 5.1 mix. And it’s brilliant.

          • Mike the Fish says:

            There is a 5.1 mix and some of it loses the energy from the original stereo mixes. There’s also a sync error on the intro to Try Not To Breathe.

  2. movement says:

    Are they going to botch this like they did for Out of Time?

  3. Pablo says:

    Nice album, but I would like to see a Monster SDE… and please stop! it is not necessary to continue, I guess…

    • Danny says:

      Nooooo! I want a “New adventures in hi-fi” SDE!

    • Frank says:

      Bite your tongue man! There are plenty of actual REM fans out there that LIKE more REM albums than the highly overrated Automatic For The People. There’s no reason whatsoever that the SDE’s of all of their albums shouldn’t continue.

      I for one would very much welcome remastered versions of Accelerate and Collapse Into Now since Jacknife Lee basically butchered them for release.

  4. Kauwgompie says:

    Yes, best R.E.M. album, well deserved re-issue. Very curious about Craft Recordings. A new label devoted to reissues is always welcome. I checked out the Concord Music artist list. I saw a ton of jazz artists. They did pick the right cherry with R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People. I didn’t see many other artists as widely popular as R.E.M. in their roster.

  5. John says:

    Hopefully we will get the Athens Greenpeace show which I believe is the only live show played in “support” of this record.

  6. Dave H says:

    Like ‘Out of Time’ I imagine the already released 5.1 surround mix will be upgraded from DVD-A to Blu-ray audio.

  7. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Fantastic album, roll on October then..?

  8. CJ says:

    I read an article at one point not long ago that labeled this the album where everyone “should have abandoned REM.” I’m not sure what crack flakes the author was smoking while writing that one, because I think this is their singular absolute best album–even better than Out of Time. I can understand why some people are divided on Monster or New Adventures in high Fi, but I was always under the impression that Automatic for the People was one of the albums that virtually all REM fans, even the most casual ones, could unite around (with, probably, the exception of the hipster fans who believed they never should have released anything after Document, or even the ones that think Document was too “commercial”).

    • Craig says:

      I’d put Automatic about half way down on my list of favourites of theirs but a SDE will be an instant buy.
      I’d love them to continue with a Monster SDE but that seems to be considered an ‘uncool’ album now so suspect it’ll stop there.

      • Kevin says:

        As far as I know, the Concord deal includes their entire Warner output, but I suspect it’ll stop with Reveal. I’m interested as far as Up (a very underrated album, IMHO).

        • chrrr says:

          Oh yeah. Up is totally underrated. As for slagging off Automatic… seems to be the common critic’s disease of disregarding the popular choice. In my opinion all albums past Out of Time go on a tad too long. They still managed to write about the same number of excellent tracks per album until (and including) Up. After that things went downhill.

        • Craig says:

          Agree with you on Up, I’ve always loved that album it’s the one I return most of the last few albums. Hopefully the SDEs will carry on that far.

          • CJ says:

            I’ve never understood the drubbing that Up took. To me it was really a turn to their classic form after a few more experimental albums (which also had high points, but were a bit more “difficult” to listen to).

    • richard says:

      I have to agree with said journalist, this was the album that killed REM for me, it basically ironed out all the oddness and mystique of the band and presented a fairly bland new sound that left me cold.
      I loved Drive when it first came out and was super excited for the album but Everybody Hurts, Man In The Moon, Sidewinder etc were just irritating and saccharine to my ears. The goofy songs like Stand and Shiny Happy People were fine by me because they still had that strangeness that REM did so well, Green has always been my favorite anyway!
      Be interested to see what they dig up for this reissue anyway.

  9. Christophe says:

    Regarding the early years individual boxes no future SDE is worth buying …démos…alternate…blah blah the REMtv box was good enough and complete.

  10. Saar Freedman says:

    there were a bunch of b-sides, almost all of which have been previously released on the “automatic box” singles box set , there were However 12″ remixes for “drive” that were never officially available on cd so I do hope they get those in.

  11. richie says:

    I`ve been a fan since the very beginning, seeing the band at barely a third full at the Royal Court, Liverpool and other places in Thatcher`s sad and grey England. REM were superb every time and in the years following. The Special Editions, `Monster` & `New Adventures` are my least favourite albums but why shouldn`t they be given the S.E, treatment. AFTP is a very good album and I look forward to the S.E. There wasn`t much wrong with the 5:1 DVD-A already released so I`m not that bothered if there is another 5:1 mix but I expect there will be.

    I would prefer out-takes and demos to live extras, I already, as do most fans have the boots/grey area releases from that time.

    I loved all the albums following `NAIHF` and hope they ALL get the S.E. treatment.

  12. Tim-meh says:

    Its Around The Sun that deserves a kicking. Abysmal record.Please don’t bother with the SDE treatment.

    • Daran says:

      Yet it has some very strong songs on it. I can listen to it up to half way before thinking it’s gone awry.

  13. Rob C says:

    This is great news however I’m concerned with the price tag that goes with it. I still haven’t bought Out Of Time, one of my faves, because of the hefty price tag.

    That’s why I appreciated the IRS & Green reissues – simple 2-cd sets in a clamshell box at a very affordable price.

    Sadly, if you use Out Of Time as an example, the band have priced out their fanbase.

  14. David M says:

    Their best album, I expect the following:

    – Remastered album
    – B sides (there are many)
    – Demos
    – Live album from a rare appearance
    – Blu-ray surround and videos

  15. Peregrine Worsthorne says:

    REM sold out after Chronic Town.

  16. I’ve never really understood the critical acclaim this album is afforded. The opening ‘Drive’ is my favourite R.E.M. song and I don’t mind ‘Man On the Moon’ but much of the rest is very average indeed with the appalling ‘Night Swimming’ – one of the plainest and most insipid songs I’ve ever heard – being the main offender. Different strokes for different folks and all that I guess.

    • David M says:

      Nightswimming is a beautiful, evocative song. Other great songs on this record are Sweetness Follows, Try Not to Breathe, Find the River, Everybody Hurts (yes) etc

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Sweetness Follows is one of my favourite REM songs. There is something about the tone of the album, the feeling it evokes.. it’s disturbing and moving and despite Sidewinder etc. if feels unified, like a proper album.

  17. TheScoundrel says:

    Utter masterpiece. Eternal!

  18. Dogfacedboy says:

    Even if you take all the singles off you are left with a great set of songs. Try Not To Breathe and Sweetness Follows are devastatingly beautiful and bleak. Monty and Ignoreland slices of Document era agi-pop and Star Me Kitten lounge music from Venus.

    Don’t know when your bread is buttered.

  19. Guest Coast says:

    According to remtimeline.com, there are some interesting outtakes from the Automatic sessions…

    – “Big Talk”: a fully-formed song demoed 2/92; R.E.M. spent three days recording and mixing it and came back to it twice more in the Bearsville, NY recording sessions 4/92. Never performed live or bootlegged;
    – “Eastern 9311”: another song with music and lyrics demoed 2/92 and recorded at Bearsville 4/92. Also never performed or bootlegged;
    – “6/8 Sailor,” “Peter’s New Song,” “Bill’s Acoustic Song,” “Mike’s Pop Song,” “Mike’s Organ Song”: almost certainly instrumental demos but four were cut at Bearsville;
    – “Michael’s Organ”: instrumental demo for “Everybody Hurts” demoed 2/92;
    – Alternate versions of AFTP songs recorded at Kingsway Studios in New Orleans 3/92 — the band spent two weeks here but only four known recordings were made (New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 and No. 2, Monty Got A Raw Deal and Drive);
    – “Nightswimming” with oboe recorded at string sessions with John Paul Jones 5/92;

    So that’s at least two unreleased songs with lyrics, five unreleased instrumentals and potentially tons of alternate versions.

    Give the skimpiness of the Document, Green and Out Of Time sets as far as demos and outtakes are concerned, I’d say the Greenpeace/40 Watt show is almost a certainty but the outtakes and demos may be disappointing. At least if they release the 2/92 demo tape from John Keane’s we’ll get:

    Photograph/Find The River/Fruity Organ/Drive/Big Talk/Everybody Hurts/Peter’s New Song/Chance (Dub)/Bill’s Acoustic Song/The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite/Eastern 9311/Man On The Moon (no vocals)/Mike’s Pop Song/Try Not To Breathe (no vocals)/Monty Got A Raw Deal/Ignoreland/Sweetness Follows

    That would give us versions of both unreleased songs with vocals, nine AFTP demos, three unreleased instrumentals, and alt versions of some B-sides.

  20. Rich says:

    I agree this album stands out as a complete work, it all fits together with a consistent feel to it, I can happily relax into the mellow sound from start to finish.

    I really hope they don’t remaster it, there is absolutely no need but they did it to Out Of Time so they will probably turn up the loudness on this one too which will be a shame, it really doesn’t need messing with as it sounds beautiful as it is.

    I always thought this was their last great album, but recently I’ve been revisiting New Adventures In HiFi and after 20yrs I’m actually surprised how much I like it, I doubt that will extend to the rest of them but you never know!

  21. Doug says:

    AFtP is one of my absolute favourites except for “Drive”, which I think would have made a great non-album single, but which I inevitably skip when I put the album on. No accounting for taste, I suppose.

    I have the DVD-Audio release, so will wait and read reviews before deciding whether to invest in this new version.

    • Guest Coast says:

      I think this is the case with a lot of R.E.M.’s singles — “Radio Song,” “Losing My Religion” and “Shiny Happy People” are not of a piece with the rest of OOT, “Stand” could easily be excised from Green and so on.

      Supposedly during this period in R.E.M.’s creative arc Berry, Buck and Mills would frequently demo instrumental tracks without Stipe, make a mixtape of them and Stipe would drive around in his old Volvo making trips to Atlanta, driving around town, etc. listening to the instrumental demos and basically making up lyrics as he drove around. That’s what I always associate with “Drive” — this free-association of hackneyed/cliched “rock” lyrics and grade-school rhymes that sort-of fit the music but don’t really rise to the level of Zepped-out melodrama the strings and lead guitar promise.

      But it would be really weird if the album just kicked off with “Try Not To Breathe” (although that would be awesome too…kind of similar to how Lifes Rich Pageant just goes right for the rock).

  22. Nick Preece says:

    Great to Hear! One of the Best Albums of all time – I have Thousands of LPs and to this day, this is the only LP I heard at the time of release in my Local Our Price and Bought there and then!

  23. Charlotte Cordray says:

    #1 on my list of best albums. Would be flawless but for “Ignoreland.”

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