I recently became aware that a lot of albums I love are having anniversaries (usually 30 years), which makes me feel very old, but also astonished at how I managed to be into such good music at such a young age (a coolness I was unable to sustain, I’m afraid). Maybe there was so much good music about that I just couldn’t help but absorb it–that’s my general memory of the 90s anyway. Great music, no mobile phones, no Facebook….. ah, those were the days.
I remember buying a cassette of Out of Time from my local record store (it might even have been an Our Price) and rushing home to listen to it. It was such a wonderful album that surpassed anything I had ever heard before. I only bought it because I had heard Shiny Happy People on the radio and loved it. I very quickly realised that the rest of the album was even better. I was 12 years old and my love affair with music started right there. From then on I spent my pocket money on Q Magazine and whatever new album they were writing about.
Amongst die hard REM fans (of which I count myself as one) I think its reputation is that it’s got some good stuff but is kind of a chaotic experiment inferior to their early albums. I disagree. There are a couple of mediocre tracks on it (Radio Song and Shiny Happy People) but every other song on that album is either very good or magnificent (even Endgame, which has no words!). Even at a distance of 30 years, even knowing there was better yet to come, these amazing songs have such a power to move me.
I have agonised the past couple of days about which song to pick to represent the album. I narrowed it down to Belong or Half a World Away but it’s a tough call.
So…. To mark the 30th birthday of Out of Time, here is Half a World Away. Enjoy it, then listen to the full album…