R.E.M. Announce Monster 25th Anniversary Box Set

In the history of R.E.M., one of our most storied bands, the 1994 album Monster occupies a strange place. When R.E.M. made Monster, they were straight-up arena stars riding a career pinnacle. 1992’s Automatic For The People had sold 18 million copies, an absurd number for a band that had started out as a college-rock underground sensation a decade earlier, and figures as vaunted as Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke considered Michael Stipe to be a mentor and a positive example. But when they could’ve gone on making pretty and life-affirming music forever, R.E.M. switched things up, abandoning the stately and folk-informed sounds of their previous albums and diving instead into revved-up, glam-influenced distorto-rock. The results were… divisive.

Monster was not a flop. It debuted at #1, went quadruple platinum, and spun off five singles. A lot of critics loved it. But the album was still received as something of a letdown after Automatic For The People and Out Of Time. Monster sold a lot less than those previous albums, and a lot of critics and fans weren’t into the louder new sound. R.E.M. would never return to their previous all-conquering success. But Monster has aged awfully well. The sound is bright and engaged and layered, and it has hooks for days. (“Crush With Eyeliner” is a fucking banger.) It’s due for reappraisal, especially after the joyous vision of an ultra-stoned Andrew Garfield dancing to “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth” in this year’s perplexing neo-noir Under The Silver Lake.

Later this fall, Craft Recordings will release a grand 25th-anniversary reissue of Monster in a bunch of physical formats. (It’ll also be available digitally.) The deluxe version is a six-disc box set with five CDs and one Blu-Ray. That set will include the original album, a remixed version from R.E.M. producer Scott Litt, a CD of previously unreleased demos, and a live album that captures a 1995 performance in Chicago. The Blu-Ray will have the 90-minute documentary Road Movie and all six of the album’s music videos, and the set will also have a portfolio book with archival photos and liner notes from writer Matthew Perpetua.

Along with the announcement, R.E.M. have shared audio of the remixed “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” Listen below.

The Monster reissue is out 11/1 on Craft Recordings. You can find all the details on the box set at R.E.M.’s site.

Tags: R.E.M.