This Friday, Nov. 1, R.E.M.‘s iconic 1994 album Monster will be reissued to mark its 25th anniversary. The news was announced a while back and comes with anticipation, considering the reissue will feature revamped and remastered recordings.
To fully illustrate the sonic difference between the original album and the new remasters, the band launched a dedicated website with a built-in music player, allowing fans to compare versions of the tracks side-by-side.
Compare & preview every track on #Monster25 by toggling between the '94 original version & the new mix by longtime R.E.M. producer Scott Litt. :30 samples are available for all pre-release songs now w/ the full track versions launching Friday. Dive in: https://t.co/ypjWcqDIZ2! pic.twitter.com/NOPsgVTdMm
— R.E.M. HQ (@remhq) October 29, 2019
The web experience provides fans with an immersive and interactive dive into the sonic realm of the album, allowing them to easily explore the differences between the timeless originals and the brand-new mixes by Monster’s original producer, Scott Litt. The experience is visualized by the iconic bear head artwork, which shifts between the 1994 orange cover and the new distorted blue mode, depending on which version of the song the user is playing at that moment.
The result is quite stark, as it’s easy to tell just how improved the tracks have been for this reissue. Click here to visit the website and give it a shot.
Monster came at an important time for R.E.M., who had scored big with previous records and were a major player in the rock music scene of the day. Via the news release:
While R.E.M.’s last two albums were full of ballads, acoustic rock songs and intricate arrangements, the group was ready to record something grittier, brasher and highly playable on stage. In his liner notes, Perpetua writes that Monster “had no precedent in the band’s catalog,” adding that R.E.M had “never been this distorted and dirty, or this glam or this flirty.” Buck recalls, “We were trying to feel like a different band … We wanted to get away from who we were.”
The group was also reeling from the strange nature of celebrity and identity, and many of the songs in this album reflect that. Perpetua notes, “There’s no question that the characters on Monster are all dealing with obsession in some form or another, whether it’s the infatuated narrator of ‘Crush With Eyeliner,’ the lovelorn protagonist of ‘Strange Currencies,’ or the cackling supervillain in ‘I Took Your Name.’” As dark as some of the subject matter is, though, R.E.M. still infuses the songs with a dash of absurdity, irony and a humorous wink.