Monday, June 4, 2012

R.E.M. - Automatic For the People

Automatic For the People always makes me slightly depressed. It's not that the entire album is depressing in and of itself (though it certainly is quite dark in places) it's just that there is a tragic memory connected with this album. Back in 1997, I lost a friend to suicide. A couple guys came together to play "Try Not to Breathe" at his graveside. I have since connected that song and this album in general (minus "Nightswimming" for some reason) with the sad days I spent with my friend's family mourning their unexpected loss. So yeah, that's where Automatic For the People fits in my life. I don't think there's any way I could possibly separate the music from my connection with it, so I won't bother to try. One interesting factoid: when this album came out, there were rumors that Michael Stipe was dying of AIDS. Of course the man is still with us, but at the time many saw indications of Michael's declining health in the overarching theme of death on this album. So maybe I'm not crazy for seeing death and a general awareness of the fragility of mortality on this album.

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