R.E.M. - Automatic for the People

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R.E.M. - Automatic for the People Professor's note: This is the best freshman essay I have received this entire year! It is, without a doubt, a question that has been raised in the mind of every man since the days of Defoe and his heroic castaway, Robinson Crusoe. What would it be like to be marooned on a desert island? And so myself and each member of my English class has been asked to imagine ourselves as modern day Crusoes, stranded in a world of our own, engulfed in an ocean of solitude, with no other person for hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles. Yet, on each of our respective desert islands we are not completely void of emotional contact with others, for our professor has allowed us to bring a traveling companion: a CD of our choosing that is to be our only connection with the life we once led. The task of choosing a single compact disc as my only tangible connection to the outside world was one that I approached with reservation. This CD will not only be my sole companion in a world of solitude, but a soundtrack for the rest of my life. It’s songs must remind me of my former existence and have the ability to adapt to each new situation I am presented with, yet never compromise itself. It must be one that I can play over, and over and appreciate its beauty more each time. It is by these qualifications that I choose Automatic for the People by R.E.M. as my desert island disc. Admittedly, Automatic was not my first choice, or even my second. When the assignment was first presented to me, like a piñata at your eighth birthday party, I was unsure of which album to even consider first. There were so many choices, and like the piñata, it was going to take a few swings before I was rewarded. I had Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits packed the minute the task was presented, but there was much debate among my classmates over the appropriateness of a greatest hits album as a desert island disc. They argued that a compilation did not truly capture the emotion of the band, but rather offered all of the works someone else deemed worthy on one disc. I conceded, and after much thought, moved onto 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged. I love this album, but struggled to find some reason, other than "I like it," to justify spending the rest of my life with it.

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