- R.E.M.: Bill Berry (vocals, piano, drums, congas, percussion); Mike Mills (vocals, organ, harpsichord, bass); Michael Stipe (vocals, bass melodica); Peter Buck (guitar, mandolin).
- Additional personnel includes: KRS-One, Kate Pierson (vocals); Peter Holsapple (guitar, bass); John Keane (pedal steel guitar); David Kampers, David Braitberg, David Arenz, Ellie Arenz (violin); Paul Murphy, Reid Harris (viola); Andrew Cox, Elizabeth Murphy (cello); Kidd Jordan (bass clarinet, alto, tenor & baritone saxophones); Cecil Welch (flugelhorn); Ralph Jones (acoustic bass).
- Recorded at Soundscape Studios, Athens, Georgia.
- Before Nirvana's NEVERMIND closed out the year with the unexpected commercial triumph of grunge rock, R.E.M.'s OUT OF TIME was the sound of alternative music circa 1991. The smash singles "Losing My Religion"--perhaps the only Top Five US single ever to feature the mandolin as its lead instrument--and "Shiny Happy People" were the commercial face of the album. Elsewhere, however, R.E.M. makes a point of moving away from expectations, resulting in intriguing experiments like the surprisingly funky "Radio Song" (featuring rapper KRS-One), the spoken-word ambient chill-out "Belong," and the self-explanatory "Country Feedback." Interestingly, the songs most immediately identifiable as "R.E.M. songs," the jangly rockers "Texarkana" and "Near Wild Heaven," are both sung by bassist Mike Mills. Though it was quickly overshadowed by AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE during the following year, OUT OF TIME remains a fascinating portrait of R.E.M. at a pivotal point in the group's career.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.48) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Spin - Ranked #2 in Spin's list of "The 20 Best Albums Of 1991"
Q (12/99, p.70) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums of the 1990s"
Q - Included in Q's list of "50 Best Albums of 1991"
CMJ (1/6/03, p.16) - Included in CMJ's list of "Top 25 College Radio Albums of All Time" Rolling Stone (3/21/91) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...R.E.M. has done it again: defied and fulfilled the conflicting expectations of a broad, mainstream audience and a smaller, more demanding, and possessive, cult....This may well be America's best rock & roll band....surely, America's most resourceful rock & roll band..." Spin (3/91) - "...More textured, lighter, brighter, and poppier than 1988's GREEN....This album will nail it once and for all: They're no longer innovative, original, or particularly exciting in the way they used to be--but they are writing more consistently excellent songs..."
Melody Maker (12/91) - Ranked #3 in Melody Maker's list of "Top 30 Albums of 1991" - "...A merry breakdown and a mighty breakthrough..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.110) - 5 stars out of 5 - "[L]ively, lush sounding..."
New York Times (Publisher) (1/1/92) - "...Sing about love in a self-conscious era, R.E.M. toyed with its own sound--playing unfamiliar instruments, sometimes adding a string section--to create eccentric yet indelible songs..." New Musical Express (3/16/91, p.30) - 10 - Classic - "...REM are back after a period of self-imposed reinvention, and OUT OF TIME is easily their most eclectic and wildly inspired album yet, although it is still very identifiably REM--a brand new book from a familiar author...."
Pitchfork (Website) - "Peter Buck claimed he was still teaching himself when he stumbled upon the riff for 'Losing My Religion.' Twenty five years later, that single remains the most perfect pop song R.E.M. ever crafted, but it was hardly a fluke."
Uncut (magazine) - "[There is] something extremely reassuring about the volatility of this album, its out-of-time-ness, which suggests that the music isn't simply confined to the past but thrives in the present."