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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Revisiting Out of Time - R.E.M. (1991)

Out of Time - R.E.M.
Warner Bros

Produced by Scott Litt and R.E.M.

Released 12th March 1991

US Chart #1 *

UK Chart #1 **

#1 also in Canada, Italy, Austria, Holland and France
*Spent 109 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Album Chart and had two spells at the Top of the Charts
**Spent 183 weeks on the UK Album Chart and was on Top of the Chart for one week only

Time Side

Memory Side

Limited Edition Free 7"

Turn You Inside-Out (Live)

Album Notes:
CD Long Box

Warner Brothers executive Jeff Gold, alongside Rock the Vote campaign co-founder and Virgin Records executive Jeff Ayeroff, approached R.E.M. in regards to printing a petition on the back of Out of Time's CD longbox packaging in the United States where buyers were encouraged to sign their name in support for Rock the Vote, who were in support of the Motor Voter Act to ease voter registration, and would allow voters "to register through their local DMV." Gold reasoned, considering many of the album's buyers would be young, that this could "vote out" the controversial Parents Music Resource Center music censorship bill, who "put pressure on the creators and distributors of 'objectionable' music," as well as make good use of the popular longbox packaging format of the day, which many artists and customers considered unnecessary and wasteful. Michael Stipe also appeared in a public service announcement for the campaign.

In July 2014, radio show 99% Invisible said that because of this packaging, Out of Time is "the most politically significant album in the history of the United States." They said that three weeks after the album's release, "they had received 10,000 petitions, 100 per senator, and they just kept coming in in droves," and a month following its release, the campaign's political director and members of KMD "wheeled a shopping cart full of the first 10,000 petitions into a senate hearing." The bill was eventually passed in 1995 by Bill Clinton; one commentary later said this happened "in no small part because of R.E.M.’s lobbying."

Michael Stipe - lead vocals, bass melodica and arrangement on "Endgame", backing vocals on "Near Wild Heaven" and Texarkana"
    Peter Buck - electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin on "Losing My Religion" and "Half a World Away"     

Mike Mills - bass guitar; backing vocals; organ on "Radio Song", "Low", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Country Feedback"; piano on "Belong"; harpsichord on "Half a World Away"; percussion on "Half a World Away"; lead vocals on "Near Wild Heaven" and "Texarkana"; keyboards and arrangement on "Losing My Religion" and "Texarkana"
    Bill Berry - drum, percussion, congas on "low", bass guitar on "Half a World Away" and "Country Feedback", piano on "Near Wild Heaven", backing vocals on Near Wild Heaven", "Belong"
  Additional musicians
    David Arenz – violin on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Ellie Arenz – violin on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Mark Bingham – string arrangements on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    David Braitberg – violin on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Andrew Cox – cello on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Reid Harris – viola on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Peter Holsapple – bass guitar on "Radio Song" and "Low"; acoustic guitar on "Losing My Religion", "Shiny Happy People", and "Texarkana"; electric guitar on "Belong"
    Ralph Jones – double bass on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Kidd Jordan – baritone saxophone on "Radio Song" and "Near Wild Heaven", tenor saxophone on "Radio Song" and "Endgame", alto saxophone on "Radio Song", bass clarinet on "Low" and "Endgame"
    John Keane – pedal steel guitar on "Texarkana" and "Country Feedback"
    Dave Kempers – violin on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    KRS-One – rapping on "Radio Song"
    Scott Litt – echo-loop feed on "Radio Song"
    Elizabeth Murphy – cello on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Paul Murphy – lead viola on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Kate Pierson – vocals on "Near Wild Heaven", and duet on "Shiny Happy People", "Me in Honey"
    Jay Weigel – orchestral liaison on "Radio Song", "Low", "Near Wild Heaven", "Endgame", "Shiny Happy People", "Half a World Away", and "Texarkana"
    Cecil Welch – flugelhorn on "Endgame"

25th Anniversary Edition
on 2CD 
25th Anniversary Edition 3xLP Version
Time Side and Memory Side were the 1st LP
 Side Three
Side Four
Side Five

Side Six

Back Cover 3xLP Version

25th Anniversary Edition
 Disc One
Out Of Time

 Disc Two
Out Of Time Demos
CD2-1     Losing My Religion 1 (Demo)     4:00
CD2-2     Near Wild Heaven 1 (Demo)     4:09
CD2-3     Shiny Happy People 1 (Demo)     3:14
CD2-4     Texarkana 1 (Demo)     3:50
CD2-5     Untitled Demo 2     3:33
CD2-6     Radio – Acoustic (Radio Song 1 Demo)     4:15
CD2-7     Near Wild Heaven 2 (Demo)     4:34
CD2-8     Shiny Happy People 2 (Demo)     3:55
CD2-9     Slow Sad Rocker (Endgame Demo)     4:34
CD2-10     Radio – Band (Radio Song 3 Demo)     4:22
CD2-11     Losing My Religion 2 (Demo)     4:36
CD2-12     Belong (Demo)     4:17
CD2-13     Blackbirds (Half A World Away Demo)     3:26
CD2-14     Texarkana (Demo)     4:06
CD2-15     Country Feedback (Demo)     4:03
CD2-16     Me On Keyboard (Me In Honey Demo)     3:42
CD2-17     Low (Demo)     4:54
CD2-18     40 Sec. (40 Second Song Demo)     1:22
CD2-19     Fretless 1 (Demo)     4:52 

 Disc Three
Mountain Stage
 CD3-1 Introduction 0:44
CD3-2 World Leader Pretend 4:54
CD3-3 Radio Song 4:41
CD3-4 Fall On Me 3:22
CD3-5 It´s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) 4:27
CD3-6 Half A World Away 3:53
CD3-7 Belong   
CD3-8 Love Is All Around 3:28
CD3-9 Losing My Religion 6:10
CD3-10 Dallas 5:13
CD3-11 Radio Song 5:07
CD3-12 Disturbance At The Heron House 4:02
CD3-13 Low 6:32
CD3-14 Swan Swan H 2:56
CD3-15 Pop Song 89 3:36
Previously unreleased show from 1991
Disc Four
     Out Of Time in Hi-Resolution Audio and 5.1 Surround Sound
BR1 Radio Song    
BR2 Losing My Religion    
BR3 Low    
BR4 Near Wild Heaven    
BR5 Endgame    
BR6 Shiny Happy People    
BR7 Belong    
BR8 Half A World Away    
BR9 Texarkana    
BR10 Country Feedback    
BR11 Me In Honey    
    Music Videos
BR12 Radio Song    
BR13 Losing My Religion    
BR14 Low    
BR15 Near Wild Heaven    
BR16 Shiny Happy People    
BR17 Belong    
BR18 Half A World Away    
BR19 Country Feedback    
BR20 Time Piece (Documentary)
Singles on Out of Time

Released 19th February 1991
US Chart #4
UK Chart #19
 CD Single version
 1 Losing My Religion (Album Version)    
2 Fretless    
3 Losing My Religion (Live Acoustic Version / Rockline)    
4 Rotary Eleven
Limited Edition CD Single for
UK and Europe
1 Losing My Religion    
2 Stand (Live)    
3 Turn You Inside-Out (Live)    
4 World Leader Pretend (Live)

Live tracks recorded on The Green World Tour


B-Side: Forty Second Song / Losing My Religion (Live Acoustic Version)

Released 16th May 1991
US Chart #10
UK Chart #6
Limited Edition CD Single for
UK and Europe
 1 Shiny Happy People   
2 I Remember California (Live)   
3 Get Up (Live)   
4 Pop Song '89 (Live)
Live tracks recorded on The Green World Tour
 Released 5th August 1991
UK Chart #27
Limited Edition CD Single for
UK and Europe
 1 Near Wild Heaven    
2 Tom's Diner (Live)    
3 Low (Live)    
4 Endgame (Live)
Live tracks recorded at The Borderline, London 15th March 1991
A-Side: Radio Song
Released 4th November 1991
UK Chart #28 

Limited Edition CD Single for
UK and Europe
 1 Radio Song    
2 You Are The Everything (Live)    
3 Orange Crush (Live)    
4 Belong (Live)
Live tracks: 2 - on Tourfilm; 3-4 on This Film Is On

"The world is collapsing around our ears, I turned up the radio, but I can't hear it" - now that's an epic way to open an album! The world was doing exactly just that in 1991 with the collapse of the old Soviet Union. Gorbachov was ousted and Yeltsin became the new man at the helm. Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania and Latvia announced Independence from Russia. Operation Desert Storm would begin as the US Army marched into Kuwait to rid Iraqi invaders. Yugoslavia would crumble to pieces as Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia seceded. Refugees were fleeing Albania and this forced the Government to adopt widespread changes to its policies. Bank of Credit and Commerce International was closed as Banking regulators from 69 countries shut down the BCCI claiming it laundered money, dealt in illegal arms, and was responsible for smuggling, fraud, extortion and bribery. billion was claimed to have disappeared within it's walls. BCCI was responsible for Iran-Contra transfers, providing nuclear weapons technology to Iraq, and secretly buying three American banks. The World Wide Web was launched with great fanfare connecting worlds via technology.

Fast forward 26 years and there's still lots of trouble with Russia whether it be their invading other parts of their former land, or their meddling in the affairs of other countries through spying, hacking and who knows what other deviousness! The Middle East is still a chaotic mess and the fight this time around is to get rid of Isalmic Extremist groups like ISIS. In Syria you have a government backed by Russia (yep, them again) trouncing the opposition (supported by the US and other Countries). People are still dying in Iraq via Car Bombs and ISIS led raids on towns. Refugees are everywhere, flowing from lands across the world seeking shelter and a new life in Europe, America and beyond. There has been a rising again of the Right across Europe with their facist hatred for anyone who appears different to them, and of course in the seat of power in the USA is a President that has got there by hook and by crook, funded by the Alt-Right (who are basically well dressed Nazis!) and have their minions surrounding one of the most powerful offices in the world! The banking system is still an utter mess as well throughout the world! And the World Wide Web whilst offering many good things has become a place where one can learn how to become a terrorist as well as learn how to make a great apple pie!....Somethings just don't ever change do they?

Into that collapsing world came Out Of Time, the seventh studio album from R.E.M. It was the first #1 album in the US and the UK for the band. It has sold absolutely bucket loads across the globe since its release in 1991 (despite a rest from touring by the group) and whilst unloved by some due to its commercial success it's an album I still find a lot of joy listening to 26 years on.

What the band had begun with the excellent Green album they continued with Out Of Time as they went from a Cult Band to an International Success across the globe!

It all kicked off with the release of Losing My Religion as a single. Mike Mills said years later, "Without 'Losing My Religion', Out of Time would have sold two or three million [copies], instead of the ten [million copies] or so it did. But the phenomenon that is a worldwide hit is an odd thing to behold. Basically that record was a hit in almost every civilised country in the world." The success of Losing My Religion and Out of Time broadened R.E.M.'s audience beyond its original college radio-based fanbase. When asked at the time if he was worried that the song's success might alienate older fans, Peter Buck told Rolling Stone, "The people that changed their minds because of 'Losing My Religion' can just kiss my ass." Michael Stipe's vocal for the song was done in a single take!

Kate Pierson of The B-52's featured on the next single (she actually appears on another two songs on the album as well - Near Wild Heaven and Me In Honey). Shiny Happy People is not a song that is loved by the band at all. Stipe said, "I Hate That Song!" But it was a massive hit! In 2006, the song received the #1 position on AOL Music's list of the "111 Wussiest Songs of All Time". Due to the band's dislike of the song, it was one of their few Warner-released singles not included on their 2003 greatest hits album In Time. They did a version of it for Seasame Street called Furry Happy Monsters. "It’s a fruity pop song written for children. It just is what it is," Stipe told the BBC’s Andrew Marr in 2016. "If there was one song that was sent into outer space to represent R.E.M. for the rest of time, I would not want it to be Shiny Happy People."

Near Wild Heaven was the third single released from the album. Now, I always get a bit of a grump when bands/artists release too many singles from an album and whilst this is the case with this one as a single I have to say that I actually really do like the song itself. It was a surprise that Michael Stipe was not singing the lead vocal, but Mick Mills does a pretty fine job I reckon. It wasn't released in the USA as a single but here in the UK it did creep into the Top 30 (stalling at #27).

The fourth and final single from the album was Radio Song. Although I'm not a big fan of Remixes I actually quite liked the Tower of Luv Bug Remix that was issued in the US and Germany. The single featured KRS-One, the rapper from Boogie Down Productions. It was another Top 30 hit in the UK (stalling at #28).

I was listening afresh to the album last night and this morning as I was putting the finishing touches to this piece and was thinking about what are my favourite tracks on the album. Surprisingly it is actually none of the singles (though as I said I do like Near Wild Heaven). Belong, Half A World Away, Texarkana and Me In Honey are probably the ones I'd name as the best ones on the album.

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