Beautiful Duplicity: Automatic for the People – R.E.M.

I’m finally listening to this record. This initially intrigued me because this was the last-ever album Cobain heard before he died. Apparently, it’s got anti-suicide material in here (Everybody Hurts). Cue irony. I had been wrong about my assumption of how it sounds, based on the looks of its cover. The reviews too, in particular. I’ve learned an important lesson: don’t let those reviews fool you, especially if you haven’t heard the reviewed. Don’t believe everything you read. Obvious, I know. I guess I’m the fool for letting my interpretation get ahead of me. I’d hate the idea of people getting the wrong idea about my album just because of a review. Anyway, the reviews I read prior to actually listening to Automatic have said that the record’s all dark and grim. Fusing that with the knowledge of Cobain hearing it before blasting his head off, I was anxious to hear it. I set time aside to listen to it yesterday. So I thought wrong. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Though it may not be the overtly gloomy record I was anticipating, it’s certainly among the most beautiful I’ve heard. But what is beautiful? Well, I like how the record avoids the abuse of guitar distortion. I like how the arrangements are understated. I like how Stipe’s melodies naturally flow. Mr. Reviewer said that it’s a difficult listen, but my experience has been effortless. Automatic is beautiful because I can tell that I’ll be listening to it more times later on. It’s beautiful because I know I’ll like it even more with those future listens.

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