Green (R.E.M. album)

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Green
A golden yellow background with dark green impressions of leaves on it and the words "GREEN" and "R.E.M." written on top in black
Cover to the standard release of Green
Studio album by R.E.M.
Released November 8, 1988 (1988-11-08)
Recorded Ardent Studios, Memphis, May–July 1988 (1988-07); Bearsville Studios, Woodstock, NY, July–September 1988 (1988-09)
Genre Alternative rock
Length 41:01
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Scott Litt and R.E.M.
R.E.M. chronology
Eponymous
(1988)
Green
(1988)
Tourfilm
(1990)
Singles from Green
  1. "Orange Crush"
    Released: December 1988 (1988-12)
  2. "Stand"
    Released: January 1989 (1989-01)
  3. "Pop Song 89"
    Released: May 1989 (1989-05)
  4. "Get Up"
    Released: September 1989 (1989-09)
Green promo cover
A crimson cover with rough hewn texture that has "GREEN" and "R.E.M." debossed on it in black
Promotional copies of Green came in a cloth case with a debossed cover. The dark colors and texture are meant to invoke the environmental message of the album.

Green is the sixth studio album by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released in November 1988. As its debut album for Warner Bros. Records, the band continued to explore political issues both in the album's lyrics and packaging. To promote Green, the band embarked on an 11 month world tour and released four singles: "Orange Crush", "Stand", "Pop Song 89", and "Get Up".

Background and recording[edit]

With the release of Document in 1987, R.E.M. fulfilled its contract with I.R.S. Records. Frustrated that its records did not see satisfactory overseas distribution, in early 1988 the band told I.R.S. head Jay Boberg that it was leaving the label.[1] Guitarist Peter Buck also explained that his group felt it was being pressured to sell well by I.R.S., yet felt I.R.S.'s distributor MCA Records did not consider the ensemble a priority.[2] R.E.M.'s management then approached any record companies that expressed interest in the band.[3] Though other labels offered more money, R.E.M. ultimately signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records—reportedly between $6 million and $12 million—due to the company's assurance of total creative freedom.[4] In light of its move to a major label, the band became defensive in interviews about accusations from some fans who claimed it was selling out.[5]

R.E.M. began the album process by recording demos at Robbie Collins' Underground Sound Recording Studio in Athens, Georgia. Bill Berry, Peter Buck and Mike Mills recorded the basic tracks in two configurations: (1) guitar, bass, and drums and (2) percussion, mandolin, and accordion. The demos were mixed by Robbie Collins, Buren Fowler (guitar tech for Pete Buck and later member of Drivin' & Cryin'), and David LaBruyere (later bassist for Vic Varney, Michelle Malone, and John Mayer) and presented to R.E.M. management. Michael Stipe used these recordings for his vocal arrangements.

The band recorded the studio album at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN with Scott Litt producing.

Music[edit]

In a 1988 interview, Peter Buck described Green as an album that didn't feature any typical R.E.M. songs. Describing the band's standard output as "Minor key, mid-tempo, enigmatic, semi-folk-rock-balladish things", the guitarist noted that for Green, "We wrote major key rock songs and switched instruments."[6] Singer Michael Stipe had reportedly told his bandmates to "not write any more R.E.M.-type songs". Bassist Mike Mills argued that Green was an experimental record, resulting in an album that was "haphazard, a little scattershot". Band biographer David Buckley wrote, "[S]onically, Green is all over the place, the result being a fascinatingly eclectic album rather than a unified artistic move forward".[7]

Green was reputedly envisioned as an album where one side would feature electric songs and the other, acoustic material, with the plan failing to come to fruition due to a lack of acoustic songs deemed fit for release. David Buckley highlighted three main musical strands on Green: "ironic pop songs" like "Stand" and "Pop Song 89", harder-hitting tracks such as "Orange Crush" and "Turn You Inside-Out", and "pastoral acoustic numbers" that had Peter Buck playing mandolin, with "The Eleventh Untitled Song" singled out as an anomaly. Buck had become fond of playing acoustic music with his friends in that period, and thus purchased an "oddly-shaped Italian mandolin-cum-lyre" in 1987; he would play the instrument on three of the tracks on Green. From this period onward, R.E.M. would swap instruments among members, and on Green the group also incorporated accordion, cello, and lap steel guitar.[8]

Packaging and artwork[edit]

The cover art was painted by New York City minimalist line painter Jon McCafferty. Promotional copies of the album were housed in a mauve, cloth-covered Digipack, with the title and artist debossed and a number "4" embossed over both of the "R"s. The color and texture are made to imitate tree bark.

The original pressings of the album and cassette tape covers had the number 4 spot varnished over the R in both "Green" and "R.E.M." In return, "R. Stand" appears instead of "4. Stand" on the track list on the back cover. Allegedly, this was a product of an early typing mistake: due to "4" being a number very close to "R" on the keyboard, "Green" was once misspelled "G4een", and the mistake was adopted this way. The album was the first by the band to feature printed lyrics, although only the lyrics to "World Leader Pretend" appeared.

Green is the first R.E.M. album to also be released in a special edition version, though it was only released as a promotional CD. R.E.M. would go on to create a special edition version of each subsequent album they released, with the exception of their final studio album—2011's Collapse into Now.

Although the title of the album is Green, the cover artwork to the LP is orange in color (this was changed to a lighter shade of yellow for some versions of the CD and cassette tape.) The reason for this is that, staring at the orange image for several seconds and then closing one's eyes causes a green negative image to appear. When viewed in this manner, the cover art appears to depict green grass.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[9]
BBC Music Favorable[10]
Robert Christgau B+ [11]
Pitchfork Media 8.4/10[12]
Q 5/5 stars[citation needed]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [13]
Trouser Press Favorable[14]

Green was released on November 7, 1988, in the United Kingdom, and the following day in the United States. R.E.M. chose the American release date to coincide with the 1988 presidential election, and used its increased profile during the period to criticize Republican candidate George H. W. Bush while praising Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis.[15] With warm critical reaction and the conversion of many new fans, Green ultimately went double-platinum in the U.S., reaching number 12, and peaked at number 27 in the UK. It was R.E.M.'s first gold album in the UK, making it the quartet's European breakthrough. "What I love about it is the immensely unlikely lyrics," remarked Neil Hannon, frontman of The Divine Comedy, "and, in the mandolin on 'You Are The Everything' and 'The Wrong Child', it's got a bit of what comes later but in a much purer way. It's so small and intense, it's amazing."[16]

The band would tour extensively in support of the album throughout 1989, before beginning work on 1991's Out of Time. Green has gone on to sell four million copies worldwide.[17]

R.E.M. supported the album with its biggest and most visually developed tour to date, featuring back-projections and art films playing on the stage.[18] The tour was much larger in scope than the "Work" tour that supported the previous album. This was especially true in venues outside of the United States due to Warner Bros. Records ability to market the band overseas. On the final night of the 11-month trek to support Green, at the Fox Theater, in Atlanta, GA, the band performed their first full-length album, "Murmur," in order, from start to finish, followed by "Green," in order, from start to finish. The night was concluded by an encore set performed by Microwave & the Melons—the road crew lead by guitar tech Mark "Microwave" Mytrowitz. It marked the only live performance of "The Wrong Child," and one of the few live performances of "Hairshirt." After the Green tour, the band members unofficially decided to take the following year off, the first extended break in the group's career.[19]

Some songs from Green—such as "Pop Song 89" and "Orange Crush"—had appeared occasionally on the "Work" tour in 1987. Though the lyrics were embryonic, the melodies and arrangements were similar to those that appeared on the finished record. Similarly, the band began playing versions of "Low" and "Belong" in the later part of the Green Tour, both of which would appear on their next album Out of Time.

Portions of the tour would be filmed for the band's first live video album Tourfilm.

The album was remastered in 2013 for its 25th anniversary, adding the bonus live album Live in Greensboro 1989 by Rhino Records; was released on May 14.[20] Additionally, the EP Live in Greensboro EP was released on April 20 as a promotion for Record Store Day.

Kurt Cobain listed it in his top fifty albums of all time. [21]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe.

Side one – "Air side"
  1. "Pop Song 89" – 3:04
  2. "Get Up" – 2:39
  3. "You Are the Everything" – 3:41
  4. "Stand" – 3:10
  5. "World Leader Pretend" – 4:17
  6. "The Wrong Child" – 3:36
Side two – "Metal side"
  1. "Orange Crush" – 3:51
  2. "Turn You Inside-Out" – 4:16
  3. "Hairshirt" – 3:55
  4. "I Remember California" – 4:59
  5. "11" – 3:10
25th anniversary disc two – Live in Greensboro, 1989
  1. "Stand" – 3:01
  2. "The One I Love" – 3:18
  3. "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" (digital download bonus track) – 3:39
  4. "Turn You Inside Out" – 4:09
  5. "Belong" – 4:09
  6. "Exhuming McCarthy" – 3:14
  7. "Good Advices" – 3:11
  8. "Orange Crush" – 3:41
  9. "Feeling Gravitys [sic] Pull" (digital download bonus track) – 6:18
  10. "Cuyahoga" – 4:11
  11. "These Days" – 3:36
  12. "World Leader Pretend" – 4:13
  13. "I Believe" – 4:14
  14. "I Remember California" (digital download bonus track) – 5:23
  15. "Get Up" – 2:34
  16. "Life and How to Live It" – 4:23
  17. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" – 4:32
  18. "Pop Song 89" – 3:10
  19. "Fall On Me" – 2:56
  20. "You Are the Everything" – 4:29
  21. "Begin the Begin" – 3:38
  22. "King of Birds" (digital download bonus track) – 5:09
  23. "Strange" (digital download bonus track) – 2:44
  24. "Low" – 5:19
  25. "Finest Worksong" – 3:43
  26. "Perfect Circle" - 4:08
Record Store Day 2013 Exclusive – Live in Greensboro EP
Side one
  1. "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" – 3:39
  2. "Feeling Gravitys [sic] Pull" – 6:18
  3. "Strange" – 2:44
Side two
  1. "King of Birds" – 5:09
  2. "I Remember California" – 5:23

The iTunes, Amazon MP3, Google Play and HDtracks versions of the 25th anniversary edition include all tracks from the Greensboro concert. The five additional songs are inserted in the track list as performed in the original concert.

Track listing notes[edit]

  • On the vinyl release, R.E.M. labeled side one (tracks 1–6) as the "Air side" and side two (tracks 7–11) as the "Metal side."
  • Track 4 ("Stand") is listed on the album as track "R".
  • Track 11, unlisted on the back cover and unnamed on the disc, is copyrighted under the title, "11".[22] It is listed on the iTunes Store as simply "Untitled".

Personnel[edit]

R.E.M.
Additional musicians
Production

Release history[edit]

In 2005, Warner Bros. Records issued an expanded two-disc edition of Green which includes a CD, a DVD-Audio disc containing a 5.1-channel surround sound mix by Elliot Scheiner, lyrics, and the original CD booklet with expanded liner notes.

Green
Region Date Label Format Catalog
United Kingdom November 7, 1988 Warner Bros. vinyl LP WX 234
Compact Disc 7599-25795-2
United States November 8, 1988 Warner Bros. LP 1-25795
Compact Disc 2-25795
cassette tape 4-25795
Canada November 8, 1988 Warner Music Canada LP 1-25795
Compact Disc 2-25795
cassette tape 4-25795
Germany November 11, 1988 Warner Music Germany Compact Disc 7599-25795-2
Japan December 10, 1988 Warner Music Japan Compact Disc 25P2-2389
Argentina 1988 Warner Bros. LP WEA 80127
Brazil 1988 Warner Bros. LP 6708035
Greece 1988 Warner Bros. LP 925795-1
Israel 1988 Warner Bros. LP BAN 925773-1
Mexico 1988 Warner Bros. LP LXWB-6813
Peru 1988 Warner Bros. cassette tape cn-wbr-0257945-4
South Africa 1988 Warner Bros./Tusk LP WBC 1654
Compact Disc WBCD 1654
Australia 1995 Warner Bros. Compact Disc 9257952
United States 2005 Warner Bros. Compact Disc/DVD-Audio DualDisc 73948
United States May 14, 2013 Warner Bros. Compact Disc 8122796570††

†† 25th anniversary edition, with bonus disc

Box sets
Region Date Label Format Catalog Notes
Australia 1995 Warner Bros. Compact Disc box set 9362460742 Packaged with Out of Time
Argentina 1998 Warner Bros. Compact Disc box set 9362 47180-2 Packaged with New Adventures in Hi-Fi, entitled "Doble Dosis"
France 1998 WEA Compact Disc box set WE 872 Packaged with New Adventures in Hi-Fi

Chart performance[edit]

Album
Year Chart Position
1988 Australian ARIA Charts 13[24]
Canada 14[24]
UK Albums Chart 27[24]
US Billboard 200 12[24]
2013 US Billboard 200 12[25]
Singles
Year Song Chart Position
1988 "Orange Crush" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1[26]
"Orange Crush" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 1[26]
"Pop Song 89" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 16[26]
"Stand" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 1[26]
"Stand" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1[26]
1989 "Pop Song 89" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 14[26]
"Pop Song 89" Billboard Hot 100 86[26]
"Stand" Billboard Hot 100 6[26]
"Turn You Inside-Out" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 7[26]
"Turn You Inside-Out" Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 10[26]
"Stand" UK Singles Chart 51[24]
"Orange Crush" UK Singles Chart 28[24]
"Stand" (re-release) UK Singles Chart 48[24]

Sales certifications[edit]

Organization Level Date
RIAA – U.S.[27] Gold January 10, 1989
Platinum February 14, 1989
Double Platinum August 17, 1994
BPI – UK[28] Silver February 1, 1989
Gold June 28, 1989
Platinum May 1, 1994
CRIA – CAN[29] Gold January 19, 1990
Platinum
Double Platinum September 29, 2003

References[edit]

  • Black, Johnny. Reveal: The Story of R.E.M. Backbeat, 2004. ISBN 0-87930-776-5
  • Buckley, David. R.E.M.: Fiction: An Alternative Biography. Virgin, 2002. ISBN 1-85227-927-3
  • Fletcher, Tony. Remarks Remade: The Story of R.E.M. Omnibus, 2002. ISBN 0-7119-9113-8.
  • Platt, John (editor). The R.E.M. Companion: Two Decades of Commentary. Schirmer, 1998. ISBN 0-02-864935-4

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Buckley, p. 173–74
  2. ^ Buckley, p. 176
  3. ^ Buckley, p. 175
  4. ^ Buckley, p. 177. Here, Jay Boberg claimed that R.E.M.'s deal with Warner Bros. was for $22 million, which Peter Buck disputed as "definitely wrong".
  5. ^ Buckley, p. 178
  6. ^ Halbersberg, Elianna. "Peter Buck of R.E.M.". East Coast Rocker. November 30, 1988.
  7. ^ Buckley, p. 179
  8. ^ Buckley, p. 179–80
  9. ^ Green - R.E.M. | Allmusic
  10. ^ REM Green Review, by Sid Smith. BBC Music. April 18, 2007. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  11. ^ R.E.M.: Green > Consumer Guide Album. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on June 25, 2004. Originally published in Christgau, Robert. "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. December 27, 1988. Retrieved on January 19, 2012.
  12. ^ Pitchfork review
  13. ^ "R.E.M. Green > Album Review". rollingstone.com. May 2, 2001. Archived October 17, 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved July 25, 2005. Posted from Azerrad, Michael. "The Greening of R.E.M." Rolling Stone (543): p. 63. January 12, 1989.
  14. ^ TrouserPress.com :: R.E.M.. Trouser Press overview by Ira Robbins and Brad Reno. Accessed January 19, 2012
  15. ^ Black, p. 155–56
  16. ^ Thornton, Anthony: 'Neil Hannon's Record Collection', Q #146, November 1998, p67
  17. ^ Fletcher, p. 296
  18. ^ Buckley, p. 184
  19. ^ Buckley, p. 198
  20. ^ "R.E.M. Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Green". USA Today. Gannett Company. 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2013-03-06. 
  21. ^ "Top 50 by Nirvana [MIXTAPE]". Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  22. ^ 11 (Legal Title). BMI Repertoire. Retrieved on July 2, 2011.
  23. ^ Scopa, Bud (March 23, 2013). "R.E.M – Green 25th Anniversary Edition – Uncut.co.uk". Uncut. IPC Media. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g Buckley, p. 357–58
  25. ^ "R.E.M. - Awards, Allmusic". allmusic. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j R.E.M. - Green: Charts and Awards — Billboard Singles. Allmusic. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
  27. ^ RIAA Searchable Database Published by the Recording Industry Association of America. Accessed January 27, 2012 (Users must search database for "R.E.M." to find results)
  28. ^ BPI Certifieds Award Search Published by the British Phonographic Industry. Accessed January 27, 2012 (Users must search database for "REM" to find results)
  29. ^ Gold/Platinum Certification Search. Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved on January 27, 2012.

External links[edit]