12. Monster (1994): The guitar-driven Monster is a reflection of the grunge movement that R.E.M. helped to spawn and also a palate-cleansing, straightforward take on rock ‘n’ roll, the likes of which the band had not attempted since their first albums. The notion of R.E.M. in rock mode is welcome and pays great dividends on tracks like the infectious “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” — a media satire that has grown more meaningful and poignant over time. Unfortunately, not all of the songs rise to that level and tracks like “Bang And Blame” and “Crush With Eyeliner” fail to connect, despite the best of intentions. Monster is a solid record that sounds good but rarely resonates on a deep emotional level.
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