Imagine having to follow up Out Of Time: an album that everyone, it seemed, not only bought but loved; an album that firmly placed REM in the spotlight; an album that sold, ooh, let’s call it 18 million copies; an album of surprising depth that can carry Shiny Happy People, and can even get away with opening side two with it, having just closed the first side with the instrumental-ish Endgame; an album that sent me off an a year-long crusade to snaffle as much of the REM back catalogue as I could. Also, an album that had suffered terrible damage *sniff* at the hands, or perhaps I should say spindles, of my cassette deck, which my rudimentary efforts at home splicing were powerless to restore.

So, quite a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Athens’ finest, then. I’d be buying the CD this time, though, so at least that was one less concern for them.

Peter Buck’s guitar, then Stipe’s echoed vocals, and then a proper full on string arrangement, and everything is gonna be just fine.

Pressure? What pressure?