R.E.M. Are Reissuing Automatic For The People In Dolby Atmos
Rock icons R.E.M. are reissuing their landmark album Automatic For The People to commemorate the title’s 25th Anniversary. Due November 10 via Craft Recordings, the remastered album will be available in a variety of formats, the most extensive of which is the Deluxe Anniversary Edition, which will feature the album in it’s entirety mixed in Dolby Atmos.
The album (plus bonus track “Photograph,” featuring Natalie Merchant) was remixed in Dolby Atmos by Automatic’s original producer, Scott Litt, and engineer, Clif Norrell. This technology delivers a leap forward from surround sound with expansive, flowing audio that immerses the listener far beyond what stereo can offer. It transports the listener inside the recording studio with multi-dimensional audio – evoking a time when listening to music was an active, transformative experience, and reigniting the emotion you felt when you first heard the album in 1992. R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People is the first album to be commercially released in this expressive, breathtaking format.
In addition, the 4-disc Deluxe Edition will offer a wealth of previously unreleased material. The band selected 20 never-before-heard demos from the LP’s sessions, including the fully-realized, unreleased track “Mike’s Pop Song” and the oft-mused about song, “Devil Rides Backwards.” Also included in both the 2-disc 25th Anniversary and Deluxe Edition of the album—which was remastered from the original analog tapes by Stephen Marcussen—is a full live set, Live At The 40 Watt Club 11/19/92. Performed in R.E.M.’s hometown of Athens, GA, it was the band’s only live show that year.
Housed in a 12” x 12” lift-top box, the Deluxe Anniversary Edition features a 60-page book, offering never-before-seen photos by Anton Corbjin and Melodie McDaniel, plus expanded, new liner notes by Scottish music journalist Tom Doyle who conducted new interviews with all four band members. Also included is a companion Blu-ray, offering the Dolby Atmos mix, plus a high-resolution master of Automatic For The People, seven music videos and the original 1992 EPK video. Automatic For The People will also be reissued on 180-gram vinyl (with digital download card), and will be available across all digital and streaming outlets.
Widely regarded as one of the best rock albums of all time, Automatic For The People, R.E.M.’s eighth studio outing, was recorded in session locations ranging from New Orleans to Seattle, and Athens, GA to Miami. Rolling Stone has ranked Automatic For The People on their list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Notable contributions to the record come from Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones who provided string arrangements on select tracks. After its release in 1992 the record reached #1 on UK charts and #2 in the US, selling over eighteen million copies worldwide. It also received 1994 Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Alternative Music Album with major singles “Man on the Moon” and “Everybody Hurts” garnering Grammy nods as well.
Michael Stipe has since reflected that the album concerns topics of “mortality and dying,” but he further notes, “Mortality is a theme that writers have chosen to work with throughout time. It speaks of the fragility and beauty of life and living life to the fullest in the present moment. It happens all too quickly and we all know that.” Mike Mills asserts, “I think it’s our most cohesive record…It’s the strongest from first to last.”
Following the success of their multiplatinum Out of Time in 1991, the band’s reputation was skyrocketing with critics and fans alike. However, R.E.M.’s decision not to tour behind it, and with no plan to tour its successor, the band chose to push further into unexplored sonic territory. The recording was thus characterized by experimentation and playfulness in the studio resulting in a largely acoustic sound full of eerie and ambiguous commentary on the nature of mainstream fame they’d recently found. To this day, songs like “Everybody Hurts,” “Drive,” “Nightswimming” and “Man on the Moon,” as well as lesser known but sublime songs like “Try Not To Breathe” and “Monty Got a Raw Deal,” still resonate throughout the collective music and pop culture.
Formed in 1980, the legendary group went on to win multiple Grammys and produce 15 studio albums, plus many others including greatest hits and live documents. Noted for both their profound contributions to the alternative rock genre and their status as one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time, the band’s three-decade long career remains a legacy of music that defined an era and a model for musicians paving their own career path. R.E.M. (comprised of Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe) was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 before disbanding amicably in 2011.