Up (R.E.M. album)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2007)|
|Studio album by R.E.M.|
|Released||October 26, 1998|
|Genre||Alternative rock, jangle pop, electronic|
|Producer||Pat McCarthy and R.E.M.|
|Singles from Up|
|Chicago Tribune||(Mixed) |
|Entertainment Weekly||A− |
|Los Angeles Times|||
|Nude as the News||(favorable) |
Up is the eleventh album by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was the band's first album without original drummer Bill Berry, who left the group amicably in October 1997 to pursue his own interests. In his place, R.E.M. used session drummers and drum machines.
Up saw R.E.M. move into electronic music-influenced territory after delivering New Adventures in Hi-Fi in 1996. Ending a 10-year relationship with co-producer Scott Litt, the band engaged the production assistance of Pat McCarthy, who was assisted on most tracks by engineer Nigel Godrich, Radiohead's producer. The single "Daysleeper" became a Top 10 UK hit, and "Lotus", The Beach Boys-influenced "At My Most Beautiful" and "Suspicion" were also released as singles.
"There are certain things I set out to do," Michael Stipe noted. "Rough ideas that I wanted to play around with. One of them was the religious-spiritual versus science-technology-modern-age. There are several songs on the record that, to me, address that. I don't know how other people are going to take them. It's taking off a little bit from 'Undertow' and 'New Test Leper', with the freedom of 'E-Bow the Letter' and 'Country Feedback' – songs that just come out. What I really wanted was more of that automatic, unconscious stuff… greatly inspired by Patti Smith and various others… Bert Downs said the record's about people falling down and getting back up again. He said there's a lot of that imagery. I'm like, 'Really?'"
Breaking with a tradition that stretched back to the band's 1983 debut, Murmur, Stipe elected to have his complete lyrics included in Up's CD booklet, a practice he would maintain on all subsequent R.E.M. studio albums. "[Mike Mills] was reading the lyrics," he explained, "and he said, 'These are really great – we should print them on the record sleeve.' It was a really good night and there were eight or nine songs on the wall. I said, 'Yeah, we will'… I thought it was a nice way of saying that we are a different band now."
R.E.M. subsequently admitted that they came close to breaking up while recording the album.
Sales and critical reception
Up reached #3 in the U.S. (with 16 weeks on the Billboard 200) and #2 in the UK, but didn't have the staying power of the band's more-recent albums, and thus the band's lowest sales in years. "The things that we have to do creatively for the band may not be the most commercial things," Mike Mills observed. "That isn't the point. The point is to keep it fresh and interesting and alive."
"It will certainly sound strange to those who only own Automatic For The People and repeat-play the hits," wrote Danny Eccleston in a 4|5 review for Q. "Conversely, anyone who has a healthy number of R.E.M. records – let's say four – and plays them regularly, should manage to listen to Up without his head exploding or tossing herself off a tall building or any of the weird things people are meant to do when faced with music they don't quite understand. This is R.E.M. after all. We couldn't even hear the lyrics until album five."
Although R.E.M. initially intended not to tour for the album, after many successful promotional concerts upon the album's release, the band quickly arranged a four-month arena tour of Europe and America during the summer of 1999. As of March 2007, Up has sold 664,000 units in the U.S.
In 2005, Warner Bros. Records issued an expanded two-disc edition of Up which includes a CD, a DVD-Audio disc containing a 5.1-channel surround sound mix of the album done by Elliot Scheiner, and the original CD booklet with expanded liner notes.
- Up Side
- "Airportman" – 4:12
- "Lotus" – 4:30
- "Suspicion" – 5:36
- "Hope" (Leonard Cohen, Buck, Mills, Stipe)1 – 5:02
- "At My Most Beautiful" – 3:35
- "The Apologist" – 4:30
- "Sad Professor" – 4:01
- "You're in the Air" – 5:22
- Down Side
- "Walk Unafraid" – 4:31
- "Why Not Smile" – 4:03
- "Daysleeper" – 3:40
- "Diminished" – 6:01
- Includes a brief piece entitled "I'm Not Over You" starting at 4:59, with Stipe soloing on acoustic guitar, after the song's conclusion.
- "Parakeet" – 4:09
- "Falls to Climb" – 5:06
Two non-album tracks from the Up sessions appeared as single-only releases, as well as four alternate versions of album tracks.
- "Surfing the Ganges" – 2:25
- "Why Not Smile" (Oxford-American version)
- "Sad Professor" (Live in the Studio)
- "Suspicion" (live in the studio) (Toast Studios, San Francisco, 1998 – "Lotus"single)
- "Suspicion" (live in the studio) (Ealing Studios, 29-10-1998 – Suspicion single)
- "Lotus" (Weird Mix)
- Peter Buck – bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, percussion
- Mike Mills – keyboards, guitar, bass, backing vocals
- Michael Stipe – lead vocals, guitar
- Additional musicians
- Barrett Martin – percussion
- Scott McCaughey – keyboards, percussion
- Joey Waronker – drums, percussion
- Technical staff
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||25,000x|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Gold||7,500^|
|Norway (IFPI Norway)||Platinum||50,000*|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||25,000x|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||300,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||664,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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