Chronic Town 40th Anniversary Release

Some fans seem to be perfectly content with what I see as some of the crass merchandising surrounding this release. When the 25th anniversary series began there were complaints about them either not including live shows or demos/outtakes. Beginning with Out of Time, demos, and a live show were included as well as videos. This continued up to Monster which also included a remix of the album. Then, with New Adventures in Hi-Fi there was no live show (somewhat understandable) or demos. All the bonus material (with the exception of the promotional film) had previously been released. I’m guessing something must have changed behind the scenes because some of these newer anniversary releases don’t have the same allure of the previous ones. There’s no real need to buy this version of Chronic Town except for Mitch Easter’s liner notes. I may be wrong but I get the impression that the band is no longer involved or maybe less involved. If so, that doesn’t bode well for the post-Bill anniversary releases. Also, when and if there’s ever a box set, it doesn’t bode well for that either which I find unfortunate.


The post-Bill anniversary releases are going to be a tough sell with or without bonus material. People already don’t like Around the Sun - are they really going to be jazzed about hearing what got left on the cutting room floor from that album? (I do actually want to hear “Weatherman,” but only the most devoted fans are going to care about post-Bill outtakes like that)

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£30 for a 5 track picture disc. Yeah right.


Maybe for Around the Sun they could release earlier, rawer versions of the songs, and that could even redeem the album. I dislike CiN much more than AtS, to be honest, and would love to hear the versions of those songs closer to the band’s heart.


I think it’s clear this one is a record company initiative, probably made possible through that deal they signed in 2016 with Universal (R.E.M. Signs Global Catalog Deal with Universal Music Publishing Group | Billboard – Billboard).

The whole press release is pretty odd, with no comments from anyone involved with the band, and only record label representatives listed as points of contacts. Charging 35 pounds for the picture disc EP also seems downright predatory.

I do wonder about the “updated” artwork, that seems like the kind of thing Stipe might want to at least sign off on…

The NAIHF-reissue was a different story I think, that was actually a nice package which was mainly disappointing in contrast to the previous reissues which had more ‘new’ content. I guess there they just assumed public interest in R.E.M. dropped off after “Monster” and it was not worth expanding the effort to dive into the vaults.


It’s £30 on the international store.
I don’t know why there’s a difference. AUD$50 -60 in this country which is about average for a vinyl record re-release. Some editions cost even more. What is expensive is the freight, but I read somewhere the cost of freight has almost doubled due to covid restrictions & demand.

Love it! Can’t wait to get them all

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It’s funny, I thought I had a vinyl reissue, but it turns out it is an original from 1982. No idea how it ended up in my collection; I’m pretty sure I took it out of the “new records” section at my local record store a few years ago.

Anyway, after NAiHF this is another disappointing reissue in my opinion. Maybe I’ll get the CD if the mastering turns out to be excellent (which was one of the few good things about the NAiHF reissue if you ask me). Or if the “essay” turns out to be really interesting.

There are already some good ATS instrumental outtakes floating around. I want it all.

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That’s why I found it funny, that the day before they released this, is when I found the Chronic Town original. It took me three days to think about it and go,“F#$% it!” and bought it. I like the print on the original. Call me old fashioned I guess.

The deal with Universal Music Publishing that you mention is for their publishing/songwriting, not for their master recordings.

The master recordings from their Warner Bros. era have reverted to R.E.M. and are now licensed to Craft. Their I.R.S.-era master recordings have passed from R.E.M. to Capitol/EMI and now to Universal Music/UMe, which is not the same as Universal Music Publishing, even though they’re probably related companies.

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REM doesn’t own their IRS masters anymore?

R.E.M. have never owned their I.R.S.-era master recordings. 99% of rock artists do not own their master recordings. When they signed with Warner Bros., however, R.E.M. had the clout to ask for, and to receive, reversion of their Warners master recordings after a period of time. They now own their Warners masters and currently license them to Craft Recordings. The I.R.S. catalog was sold to Capitol/EMI in the 1990s, if I recall correctly, and is now owned by Universal Music Group.

For some reason I had thought they acquired the IRS masters at some point during the Warner years.

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Guys, it’s been a while, but in the spirit of community, I too must express disappointment here. I’ve normally been a glass half full kind of guy for these re-releases and have even somewhat forgiven the Hi-Fi release for being rather conservative, but I can’t help but SERIOULSY lament the lost opportunity here to include not only all of those pre-Chronic Town demos, but also an official blu-ray of that OCT 1982 Raleigh concert. I mean, man oh man–what a package that would be and a true tribute to the band and a treat for fans!~ Frankly I’m stunned here.

As for the font, you can’t unsee that.


I’m happy for it. I’ll buy it. I’m not too worried about what folks seem to be so agitated about. Can’t wait for my order to arrive! :wink:

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My copy has been shipped, excepting it to arrive in a couple of weeks!. A write up about Chronic Town in the The Vinyl District mirrored from R.E.M. HQ
“…like lightning in a bottle, and hearing it in 2022, it’s easily amongst the best music they ever cut.”

Just received my copy. Wasn’t gonna buy it cos there’s no extra stuff, but decided to get the CD for the liner notes. I’d hoped that font was some kind of mistake on the promo images. It’s not. It really jars with the artwork. Ah well. Roll on the Up reissue…


Anything to write home about in the liner notes?

Haven’t read them yet. They are reasonably lengthy though…

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