1994 was the year of the Monster. Dealing with the death of close friends Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix, Michael Stipe turned to his music to console himself and his band. Cranking up the decibel levels and showing off distorted guitars and ambiguous lyrics, Monster debuted at number 1 both in the US and the UK. At a time when every band was going grunge in the early 90's, REM became poppy and received the most commercial success of their career. Monster was the record that was a middle finger in the air of celebrity, and proved that once and for all REM are a rock band. The record, most famous for the single "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" also featured songs like "Crush with Eyeliner," and "Star 69." These songs reflected the band's post-punk, post-new wave roots, but also had a mid-90's spin to them. Monster is the one record looked back on fans and critics as a guilty pleasure or a favorite, it is the one record that most fair weather REM fan's seem to leave on the shelf and collect dust. If you go to any CD store today (Yes, they still exist) and look in any used CD bin, guarantee you will find a copy of Monster. It is one of those records that either you love or you hate. Personally I love it, and when I found it as a teenager it was the most important record in my collection.