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Reviews » Audio Reviews » R.E.M.: Automatic For the People
R.E.M.: Automatic For the People
Warner Bros. // DVD Audio // December 3, 2002
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Dvdempire]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 6, 2002 | E-mail the Author
M U S I C
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E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
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P R I N T
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1. Drive
2. Try Not to Breathe
3. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
4. Everybody Hurts
5. New Orleans Instrumental No. 1
6. Sweetness Follows
7. Monty Got a Raw Deal
8. Ignoreland
9. Star Me Kitten
10. Man on the Moon
11. Nightswimming
12. Find the River


The DVD

SOUND: "Automatic For The People" is presented by Warner Music with 48khz/24-bit DVD-Audio 5.1 & Stereo (for DVD-Audio players only), along with Dolby Digital & DTS 5.1 (for DVD-Video players only). The 5.1 mix was done by Elliot Schneiner, the talented artist who has done 5.1 remixes for Faith Hill and many others. The mere release of the album on the DVD-Audio format is certainly exciting, as it's one of the few modern classics that have been released on the format and one of the finest works in the history of "R.E.M.".

A masterpiece of an album that deserves a beautiful, artful mix, "Automatic For The People" has been mixed with restraint and the subdued approach works quite wonderfully. The surrounds are used, but not too noticably - rarely is there anything that directs the listener's attention to one side of the room or the other. For the most part, the rear speakers simply provide pleasant reinforcement of the music or some additional backing vocals ("Everybody Hurts"). The few instances of vocals in the rear speakers throughout the album don't make the presentation suffer, but their placement in the surrounds doesn't always feel entirely necessary in a mix where the surrounds otherwise are smoothly used to envelop the listener. It's a minor concern, though.

There is little variation in the mix throughout the album, as both the subdued ("Find The River", "Nightswimming") and lively ("Man on the Moon", "Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight") generally spread the music around the listening space in the same fashion. Where the sound mix for the album is very pleasing, the audio quality lifts the presentation to another level. Michael Stipe's terrific vocals have never sounded so clear and natural, while the band's instrumentals are presented with stellar definition and clarity. The orchestral parts sound especially rich and vibrant, as well.

It's really a thrill to finally have this album on the DVD-Audio format. One of the best albums of the 90's in my opinion, the songs within are a nearly perfect mixture that remains just as powerful, thought-provoking, uplifting and rewarding as when the album was released ten years ago. The DVD-Audio's new 5.1 presentation doesn't try and reinvent the feel of the album, but only enhance the listening experience and in that regard, it succeeds quite well.

A promotional documentary from 1992 is included, along with a discography, credits and photo gallery.

Final Thoughts: A bittersweet and masterfully performed album that remains as powerful as it was ten years ago, "Automatic For the People" gains new life on DVD-Audio, where it's never sounded better. Very highly recommended.
Order "R.E.M.: Automatic For the People" now!
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