Automatic for the People Demos Thread

Another big release that came out during the Murmurs sabbatical. Thoughts on the demos put out with the Automatic for the People 25th Annivesary?

Mike’s Pop Song - Interesting that this never saw the light of day. Doesn’t fit with Automatic, but seems stronger (perhaps with some lyrical tweaks) than songs on other 90s/00s albums.

Cello Scud - Sweetness Follows is one of my favorites and I like the feedback on the album version, but there is something really nice about the stripped back demo too, particularly with the solo organ during the second part of the chorus.

Bill’s Acoustic - Wish they had done something with this. Nice sound.

Arabic Feedback - Interesting sound.

Howler Monkey - I prefer the electric guitar in this vs. Ignoreland.

Pakiderm - I’ve never cared for New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 and wished it wasn’t on AFTP, but it was interesting to hear this played out.

Afterthought - Also known as New Orleans Instrumental No. 2…never minded this as an outtake.

6-8 Passion - Neat to hear an early version of Try Not to Breathe. They were correct to build it up with more instrumental and vocals for the album cut.

Hey Love - Interesting to hear this as a more organic cut. Doesn’t quite have the unique mood of the album cut with the 10cc touch.

Devil Rides Backwards - Too bad Stipe didn’t do more with this. The instrumental was fairly minimalist, but there was a lot of potential. I like the random piano chords sprinkled throughout.


no thoughts on “eastern 983111?” one of the gems from that collection, considering it’s a rare unfinished song with stipe vocals. chorus is not bad. not quite a lost classic like “devil rides backwards” but still great to have.

“peter’s new song” sounds like it had potential.

i love “mike’s pop song” but it could never have been on an r.e.m. record with those lyrics. is writing lyrics the only thing mills isn’t good at? still, it’s surprising to me it never was released as a b-side or something.

“pete’s acoustic idea” got the full-band treatment in the monster demos (“uptempo mo distortion” i think…)


It’s actually “Peter’s New Song” that apparently became “Uptempo Mo Distortion”. I never realized that before, so thanks for pointing that out! Quite easy to mix all those demos.

“Eastern 983111” has a strong “Losing my religion” vibe to me. The chorus is OK and the song had a lot of potential.

“Arabic feedback” became the fanclub single “Christmas in Tunisia”. From what I can hear, they didn’t even re-record it, but there’s probably some studio work on the final version.

“Devil Rides Backwards” had some potential. I’m not sure what they could do with it, tho. Quite a sparse ballad to begin with, but they could just come up with more lines, maybe a more vibrant tempo and a more sophisticated arrangement somehow. It could even fit Automatic.

“Photograph” is a pretty good song. I don’t see it fitting on Automatic or Monster. If it were around just a bit before, would be a great improvement on OOT.

Good catch on Peter’s New Song becoming Uptempo Mo Distortion! Didn’t even realize that!

I think Photgraph is a very underrated non-album track from their Imperial period. You are totally right in that it doesn’t belong on AFTP but the full realized song with Natalie Merchant makes me always do a double-take.

Going with this thread, I really like Mike’s Pop Song. Most (all?) Mike songs have Michael on back-up so you always get hear their two voices. This demo doesn’t feature Michael on it, so it sounds a bit fresh and different.

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