Just over two months ago, we passed the 25th anniversary of one of the most celebrated alt-rock albums of the ’90s, R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People. Now, in continued celebration of the record’s quarter-century milestone, the band have shared a documentary about the record’s creation.
October 5th, 1992 saw R.E.M. release their eighth record, Automatic For The People, into the world. Following the success of the band’s Out Of Time the previous year, the album was highly anticipated. Spawning six singles, including ‘Man On The Moon’ and ‘Everybody Hurts’, the record was a huge success, selling in excess of 18 million copies around the world.
As part of the band’s ongoing project to reissue their old records, they released a deluxe edition of the record back in October. Featuring live cuts and remastered tracks, the reissue also included a number of demos that had been highly sought after by fans. Now, R.E.M. have released the next portion of the package – a documentary that tackles the ‘making-of’ process of the record, and addresses the topics affecting members of the band at the time of the album’s release.
As Spin notes, the documentary, titled Automatic Unearthed, features interviews from a number of people involved in the album’s creation, including R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills, producer Scott Litt, and even John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, who helped to arrange strings on a number of the album’s tracks.
“Culturally, 1992 in America was not an easy place to be,” singer Michael Stipe notes in the documentary. “We’d been through twelve years of politically the darkest era America had ever seen with [Ronald] Reagan, [George] Bush, and AIDS. I think the record was a response to that. I wanted to make a record about loss, transition and death – the biggest transition we all know.”
If the band’s previous reissues are anything to go by, we’re not going to see another one until 2019, when it marks 25 years since the release of the band’s ninth record, Monster. Keep an eye out though, because judging by the goodies that R.E.M. uncovered for us with this record, we’ll be in for a treat.