R.E.M. – “Revolution 4-21” (Demo)
Later this fall, R.E.M. will release a massive 25th-anniversary box-set edition of Monster, their fascinating and divisive 1994 album. But that Monster deluxe edition won’t actually be out on the album’s 25th anniversary, since the album’s 25th anniversary is today. And perhaps to mark the occasion, R.E.M. have just shared one of the album’s many unreleased gems: A demo version of “Revolution,” a song that appears on no R.E.M. albums.
R.E.M. recorded the hard-crunching “Revolution” — a rides a stomping glam-guitar riff and makes lyrical reference to Oliver North and Ronald Reagan and punk rock girls and bombed abortion clinics — during the Monster sessions, and they performed it on the Monster tour. But the song didn’t make the cut for the album, and it remained in the vault for a couple of years, finally surfacing on the soundtrack of the 1997 Joel Schumacher masterpiece Batman And Robin.
The demo version of “Revolution,” is a pretty cool piece of music. It’s got the driving energy and the echoing, fuzzed-up guitars of the songs that did make their way onto Monster. But it’s also got a murky, lo-fi immediacy that might remind you of R.E.M.’s ’80s work — especially in the way that you can’t really understand what Michael Stipe is saying. Below, check out that unreleased “Revolution” demo and the version of the song from the Batman & Robin soundtrack.