In the winter of 1992, I was on Christmas break while I was a junior in high school. I received two special gifts that season. The first was super Mario Brothers three for the Nintendo. The second was automatic for the people by REM.
The reason those two gifts are connected is because I’ve played that game all the time while listening to that CD at the same time. You see I would turn the volume down on the game and crank the volume up on the CD. This has forever associated the two together so when I hear the music I think of the game and when I play the game I think of the music.
So getting back to the CD, automatic for the people, I truly thought that was their best album. REM has been around for a very long time. They have certainly yielded several hit songs. But this album came sort of midcareer if you will if you count any recent efforts. I thought this was their crowning achievement.
It starts off with a song entitled DRIVE which really has nice guitars and orchestration in the background. It sets the tone and the lyrics make references to pop culture such as games and rock ‘n’ roll references. The song “man on the moon” is a tribute to the late comedian Andy Kaufman. There are many many more songs on this record including “everybody hurts”, that speak to a whole generation.
Now I don’t just play this record when playing Mario Brothers but it sounds good on cloudy days autumn nights and whenever I am into deep thinking, or a melancholy frame of mind. A lot of records came out in 92 but this one certainly means the most and it recalls the fondest of memories that I will forever cherish in my heart. “Hey kids rock ‘n’ roll!”