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R.E.M. / Green 25th Anniversary

R.E.M. / Green 25th Anniversary reissue

The problem with the new 25th anniversary deluxe edition of R.E.M‘s Green (released a few weeks ago) is its lack of ambition. The new set comes with one single bonus CD, featuring some of a 1989 live concert from Greensboro. You can imagine the meeting at Warner HQ:

  • – “Next on the agenda, the 25th anniversary reissue of R.E.M.’s Green. Ideas, people?”
  • “What are the band willing to offer in terms of demos and unreleased material?”
  • – “Nothing”
  • “Okay…”
  • “How about we couple the album with that concert that we put out on that Tourfilm VHS from decades ago?”
  • – “I like it. Put the two discs in a box and throw in some postcards, and a poster that will remain folded forever. Done.”
  • [Troublemaker] “Er, the gig won’t fit onto one CD…”
  • – “Even better! An opportunity to create a bonus EP for Record Store Day. This meeting is now closed.”

To be fair, the artwork looks great on the matt-laminated clamshell box and the Greensboro gig is superb but, I’m sorry, if you’re going to make a big deal about the 25th anniversary on the sticker then you need to turn up to the party with a decent present (for the fans). In 2005 for the 17th anniversary of Green we got a CD/DVD-A double pack which presented the entire album in high-res stereo and 5.1 Surround sound. In addition, there was also a video documentary included as well as a couple of videos and a photo gallery.

This new edition does offer a new remastering for CD (not in the 2005 issue) but why not replicate the 5.1, and include that as well? And where are the extra tracks from the singles, such as Memphis Train Blues (Stand), the cover of Syd Barrett’s Dark Globe (Orange Crush) or the band’s version of Iggy Pop’s Funtime?

R.E.M. / Green 25th Anniversary Edition 2CD box set

The album itself remains a stunning achievement, but Warner Music appear to have been very tentative when it comes to investing the time and money required to come up with a really interesting, fan-pleasing deluxe set. Given that this was the first album on the major label back in 1988, it’s all rather surprising. Perhaps they were constrained by the wishes of the band, or maybe the money is still in the Warner piggy bank waiting to invest in a mega, super deluxe 25th anniversary edition of Out Of Time for 2016.

Either way, the only consolation for the R.E.M. fan who already owns the Tourfilm DVD and has bought the special edition of Green mentioned above, is that the modest nature of this set is matched by a modest price.


Green: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition:

Disc 1: Original album:

  • 1. Pop Song 89
  • 2. Get Up
  • 3. You Are the Everything
  • 4. Stand
  • 5. World Leader Pretend
  • 6. The Wrong Child
  • 7. Orange Crush
  • 8. Turn You Inside Out
  • 9. Hairshirt
  • 10 I Remember California
  • 11 Untitled

Disc 2: Live in Greensboro, 1989:

  • 1. Stand
  • 2. The One I Love
  • 3. Turn You Inside Out
  • 4. Belong
  • 5. Exhuming McCarthy
  • 6. Good Advices
  • 7. Orange Crush
  • 8. Cuyahoga
  • 9. These Days
  • 10 World Leader Pretend
  • 11 I Believe
  • 12 Get Up
  • 13 Life and How to Live It
  • 14 Its the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
  • 15 Pop Song 89
  • 16 Fall on Me
  • 17 You Are the Everything
  • 18 Begin the Begin
  • 19 Low
  • 20 Finest Worksong
  • 21 Perfect Circle

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18 responses to R.E.M. / Green 25th Anniversary

  1. Gregg Alley says:

    At least U.S. customers received an original 1989 tour patch with the purchase of the EP, and an original 1989 tour program with purchase of the Deluxe Edition.

  2. don says:

    This is my favorite REM album and yes, I agree that the reissue suffers from a lack of ambition. They should have added some b-sides and demos. And the liner notes, while well-written, are a bit sparse. They could have included a track-by-track commentary as well as images of the single sleeves, etc.

    On the plus side, the live disc is really good. The band is on fire and the crowd is energized. The combination of this live disc and the Record Store Day EP is easily the best live concert the band has ever released.

  3. The CD/DVD-A edition takes some beating and should’ve been included here. I’ll stick with that.

  4. Stevie Dal says:

    Not just this one though , ALL the REM reissues lately have had only a live disc, it’s not on. I’ve refused to buy them again. They should each have come with a disc of B Sides and rarities , THEN i would have forked out and there will be many like me. poor show !

    PS , the recent reissue of Sandie Shaw’s “Hello Angel” is a must , lots of Smiths/Morrissey related songs (main reason i got it) but the quality of the album has surprised me , it’s superb !

  5. John E. says:

    To be fair, the live disc features a few songs that weren’t on “Tourfilm” (“Exhuming McCarthy”, “Good Advices”, “Cuyahoga”, “Life And How To Live It” – as well as full versions of “Belong” and “Low”, which were used as interstitial music in the video). But yeah, they could easily have fit the B-sides onto the first disc.

  6. Ken Moore says:

    I’m holding out hope that we will get a greatly expanded “Dead Letter Office” at some point that will include most, if not all of the B-Sides that are so great and sorely missing from these anniversary reissues.

  7. Simon Evans says:

    @Steve: To be fair, both Fables and Pagaent had second discs consisting of rather excellent demos rather than live material like Murmur, Reckoning and Document.

    I will probably not be getting this one though, I have the original CD and some of the singles already. £12 may well be a modest price for a special edition but there are discs higher on my wish list to be honest.

  8. Will says:

    It’s a really poor release. Such a disappointment.
    There is so much they could’ve done….but didn’t.
    I ended up downloading the hi-res version from HDTracks. You get the live disc plus the tracks from the record store e.p.

  9. Richard says:

    Like the package overall but agree the (continuous) omission of cover songs in the live sets is frustrating, After Hours was a highlight of that tour and should have been included. Is it the licensing costs or something why all the cover songs are cut out?
    Thankfully the Record Store ep wasn’t too hard or expensive (as i feared) to get but would have been handy if it fitted in the actual box, not like its that full in there.
    And yes b-sides and demos would have been nice too!

  10. Charles says:

    I haven’t got any of these anniversary releases yet. Can anyone confirm the audio is an upgrade on the original releases?

    I have to say one reason I have not bought them is the packaging. Why do they have to put them in these awful boxes that don’t fit easily on a shelf or in a rack. I would have much preferred slimline 2CD jewel cases.

  11. James says:

    The sound is sharper and not ‘loudness warred’. Better than the rather shrill Document and LRP remasters. Definitely an improvement.

  12. chris says:

    The main problem with these and any other super-duper deluxe remastered blah blah blah releases seems to be a constant of not asking FANS what should be included in these sets. The Gabriel So box being a case in point. As a fan since day dot of R.E.M., these reissues have been a constant missed opportunity. And having the encore disc as a RSD only release, is just plain mean. Let’s face it, the market for these reissues is for fans who have already re-bought the albums countless times. So how about cutting us some slack!
    And the matt-laminated box misses a crucial point by omitting the ‘4’ that was superimposed over the ‘R’ of Green, which was said to be due to Stipe typing 4 instead of R and the error remaining. A lovely touch lost.

  13. ste7enpk says:

    I agree Richard, it is a great shame that ‘After Hours’ wasn’t included on the live portion. Nonetheless I may well download the Hi-Res copy of the Greensboro set from HD-Tracks (thanks Will). Does anyone know where I might fond the full original set list and running order was?

  14. Ste7enpk says:

    Thanks for the setlist link. Appreciate it!

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