on its 25th anniversary

October 5, 1992:

R.E.M. release their eighth studio album, Automatic For The People — some of the most intimate work from the Athen’s legends.

Michael Stipe’s voice is sensational.

It lends itself so beautifully to the themes of storytelling and deep emotion on the record. Capturing just 10 stunning lyrics here was no easy task. Mainly because there are so many rich lines where you recognize how deep in thought the band was. You get the impression that every word was thought through and delicately placed. They surf the melodious and sometimes gracefully moody music perfectly.

Finally, this record has one of the greatest closing chapters of all time in “Find the River.” Really the entire song can be listed as an inspiring lyric. Dissecting the song allows you to break off the ups-and-downs to interpret as you see fit, but concluding on a moving thought that… “all of this coming your way.” Whatever “this” is. The instrumentation combined with Stipe’s alluring delivery make the song actually flow like a river, ultimately sending you off into the great wide open, soaking in what you just experienced with Automatic For The People while at the same time, looking forward to the next R.E.M monster.

Record quick facts:

  • The first single, “Drive”, was released on October 1, 1992 — just four days before the record release.
  • Automatic For The People contained the most singles of any record in the R.E.M catalog, with 6 of the 12 tracks being released over the course of a year
  • The album name is a tribute to the Athens, Georgia eatery, Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods
  • Much of the album was recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami
  • The lyrics to “Man on the Moon”, which Stipe thought of on a walk around Seattle, pay homage to the performer Andy Kaufman. Footage of Kaufman is shown on a small television screen towards the end of the music video.

Automatic For The People reissue, 25th anniversary addition

“Try Not To Breathe”

I will hold my breath
Until all these shivers subside
Just look in my eyes

“The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight”

Always had a smile and a reason to pretend
But their world has flat backgrounds
And little need to sleep but to dream
The sidewinder sleeps on his back

“Everybody Hurts”

When your day is long
And the night
The night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life
Well hang on
Don’t let yourself go
’Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes

Art by: Peter Strain

“Sweetness Follows”

It’s these little things, they can pull you under
Live your life filled with joy and thunder

“Monty Got a Raw Deal”

Heroes don’t come easy


Calculate the capital,
Up the republic my skinny ass
TV tells a million lies
The paper’s terrified to report
Anything that isn’t handed on a presidential spoon
I’m just profoundly frustrated by all this
So, fuck you, man (fuck ‘em)

“Find the River” (1)

Me, my thoughts are flower strewn
Ocean storm, bayberry moon
I have got to leave to find my way

“Find the River (2)

Pick up here and chase the ride
The river empties to the tide
Fall into the ocean

“Find the River” (3)

Strength and courage overrides
The privileged and weary eyes

“Find the River” (4)

Pick up here and chase the ride
The river empties to the tide
All of this is coming your way

Michael Stipe — Miami

Pre-order Automatic For The People Reissue, out November 10th.

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~ follow Jeff Gorra | twitter @JeffGorra |JeffGorra@ArtistWaves.com