I Can Always Sleep Standing Up
This album was released in early October 1992. I had graduated from the University of Illinois in May 1992 a jobless, depressed loser. I had held on to my college apartment throughout the summer until the lease's end in August. When I finally had returned home a penniless, wayward soul, I held a cashier's job at a gas station/convenience store for a few weeks before ultimately settling on a career in restaurant management. My training began in October 1992. Dark and brooding, Automatic For The People was the soundtrack of my life. Four looooong years later, restaurant management proved not to be my career path after all. However, I still enjoy the album quite a bit.
Drive – 4:31
Try Not To Breathe – 3:50
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite – 4:06
Everybody Hurts – 5:17
New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 – 2:13
Sweetness Follows – 4:19
Monty Got a Raw Deal – 3:17
Ignoreland – 4:24
Star Me Kitten – 3:15
Man on the Moon – 5:13
Nightswimming – 4:16
Find the River – 3:50
A few highlights:
"Drive" has always reminded me more than a bit of a song from my early childhood, "Rock On" by David Essex (...still lookin' for that blue jean baby queen...), especially since that lame-ass soap opera guy (Michael Damian?) had remade the song in the late '80s. That remake changed the chorus from "Hey, did ya rock 'n roll" to "Hey, kids, rock 'n roll." I always figured Stipe was keying off that in an ironic way. Great song, in any case.
"The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" is just one catchy mo-fo of a song, and probably the closest thing to an upbeat, feel-good number on the entire disc.
"Everybody Hurts" is intended as an anti-suicide song, but might be depressing enough to have the opposite effect on some listeners. "Man On The Moon" is such a damned cool song that the 1999 biographical movie about late comedian Andy Kaufman was named after it.
There really isn't a total stinker on the entire CD. Listen to it. It calms the savage beast lurking in the deepest recesses of my soul. I suppose there's just one more cut I'll write about:
"Nightswimming" Wow! What a classic! It's impossible for me to fully describe all that this song captures for me emotionally. Childhood fears...adolescent awkwardness...coming of age...I really cannot put my finger on just what it is exactly. "They cannot see me naked," is such a cool line. And, Stipe's vocal delivery is the aural equivalent of indelible ink. Great song. Truly great.
Oh, I almost forgot, because I've long since given up on caring about the infamous RS list. In any event, this album was #247 of 500. And, no, I'm not oblivious to the fact that string arrangements pervade this entire album (string arrangements by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, nonetheless). Normally, I hate string arrangements. Here, I think they're damned near perfect. [Note to Rob: I'm inching closer to eliminating overproduced from my vocabulary; I'll stick to "poorly produced," as needed.]