April 10, 2007
Even though “Revolution” was played every night on the Monster tour, it’s easy to understand why it didn’t make it to New Adventures In Hi-Fi. It’s a fine song, but its topical lyrics strayed from the general themes of the album and were already a bit dated halfway through the tour. Also, “Revolution” would seem a bit redundant alongside “Departure,” which sounds somewhat similar, but is superior in most respects.
The hard thing to understand is why the band opted to record a sloppy, half-assed version of the song and banish it to the Batman & Robin soundtrack. Okay, fine, surely they were given a good chunk of money for that, and it probably made some people at their record label very happy. Whatever. The weird thing is that four cd EPs were released for the singles from Hi-Fi, and though the band definitely had several live recordings of the song in the can, not one of those EPs included a version of “Revolution.” The only alternative recording that has been officially released is on the (rather fantastic) concert film Road Movie, begging the question: Are R.E.M. embarrassed by this song? I don’t disagree that its best possible home was the Monster tour in specific and 1995 in general, but surely it deserved a slightly better fate.