To say I was excited about the release of the deluxe 4-CD version of R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People was definitely an understatement. It’s my favorite R.E.M. album, and tied to so many college memories I can barely count them all. Seeing that it was getting the deluxe remaster treatment was definitely exciting.
I mean, what’s not to love? A remastered original album, a CD featuring 13 tracks from R.E.M.’s Greenpeace benefit concert, a third disc full of 20 demos from the recording of Automatic for the People, some of which made the album, the vast majority of which did not. The final disc is a Blu-ray containing an even highly remastered version of the album and the videos for the album. And as an added bonus a SIXTY page book to go along with it. A pretty perfect deluxe edition of a pretty much perfect album.
Then I saw the price.
Um, wow. I suppose if you think about it, it’s not THAT outrageous, considering there’s a Blu-ray DVD in there, but still. I think this has been priced outside the range of what most people are willing to pay. I think a more reasonable asking price is more like $60. If they had thrown a vinyl LP in there, then maybe the $90 asking price would be more reasonable. There is a remastered vinyl being released alongside this package, but it’s stand alone and not included with the CDs.
There is a 2-CD version being released, but it includes none of the demos which is what I’m really after. Truth be told, I don’t really need a live concert, but the demos intrigue me. I did see that there is a digital only release on Amazon that includes the content of the 3 CDs and it’s $24, so that will probably be the route I end up going, except with these reissues, I really like getting the physical product. Who knows. Maybe I’ll ask for it for Christmas and family members can go in together and get it.
So this deluxe rerelease won’t be an automatic purchase unless I become independently wealthy between now and November. Which is too bad because I was really looking forward to this.