R.E.M. Redefined

Begbie

Wackbag Generalissimo
Jul 21, 2003
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#1
R.E.M.'s latest album sounds promising and it sounds like they're returning to their roots. I haven't been a fan of their uber-slow melodies, politically charged drivel for the last 12 years and I always wished they go back to the sound they had when they were with IRS Records. And it sounds like they tried to do just that. This might actually be the first R.E.M. album I'll buy since Hi-Fi in 1996.

R.E.M. Rocks Hard On New “Accelerate”

January 25, 2008, 10:55 AM ET

Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
After two consecutive albums dominated by mid-tempo fare, R.E.M. gets back to its stripped-down, fast-paced rock roots on "Accelerate," due April 1 via Warner Bros. The 11-track set, which gets in and out in a lightning-quick 34 minutes and change, is led by the single "Supernatural Superserious."

Opener "Living Well's the Best Revenge" sets the tone, with a prominent lead guitar figure from Peter Buck, thumping, melodic bass lines and backing vocals from Mike Mills and a rapid stream of lyrics from frontman Michael Stipe. The track almost seems like a musical cousin to "Just a Touch" from 1986's "Life's Rich Pageant."

The up-tempo approach extends to "Supernatural Superserious," a video for which was shot earlier this week on Manhattan's Lower East Side. "You realize your fantasies are dressed up in travesties / enjoy yourself with no regrets," Stipe instructs on the track, which should hit radio sometime next month.

Elsewhere, "Hollow Man" begins as a piano ballad but quickly morphs into a revved-up chorus, while "Horse To Water" is a noisy, angular rocker with the unmistakable stamp of R.E.M.'s pre-major label days.

Among the slower departures are "Houston," which is vaguely reminiscent of the vintage "Swan Swan H," and the politically charged "Until the Day Is Done" ("The verdict is dire / the country's in ruins," Stipe sings).

A number of the "Accelerate" tracks were premiered last summer during "working rehearsal" shows in Dublin. The album was produced by Jacknife Lee, best known for his work with Snow Patrol and U2.

Here is the track list for "Accelerate":

"Living Well's the Best Revenge"
"Mansized Wreath"
"Supernatural Superserious"
"Hollow Man"
"Houston"
"Accelerate"
"Until the Day Is Done"
"Mr. Richards"
"Sing for the Submarine"
"Horse To Water"
"I'm Gonna DJ"
 
Oct 8, 2003
20,592
2
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Chicago, IL
#2
This could be good. They were on a roll until Around the Sun, which was kind of a dud, so can't wait to hear the next step in REM's career.

I will say, the lyrics of the first single stink. Although the music is interesting, not very REM-ish.
 

Begbie

Wackbag Generalissimo
Jul 21, 2003
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#4
This could be good. They were on a roll until Around the Sun, which was kind of a dud, so can't wait to hear the next step in REM's career.

I will say, the lyrics of the first single stink. Although the music is interesting, not very REM-ish.
Yeah, I'm not too impressed with the new single. It's alright. There's a live version of the song "Living Well's The Best Revenge" on YouTube and that song rocks. I do see a slight similarity to Just A Touch...I kinda see it more like a song off the Document album though.

Sidekick Dave said:
This band is useless...



...Without Bill Berry




Nuff Said!
I can't totally disagree with you. I have given Up and Reveal a shot, but it just wasn't that good. Reveal especially. Around The Sun was just all-around weak. I heard maybe four songs on it, and they totally lost me. R.E.M. just does not sound good with drum machines and the whole slow-tempo artsy crap. I'm hoping this album kinda redeems themselves. But everything they did with ol unibrow sounded good (Hi-Fi and earlier).
 
#6
Maybe this will be the record that brings me back to R.E.M. I wasn't overly enthusiastic about Monster and thought that New Adventures in Hi-Fi was basically a snooze, so I stopped paying attention after that. The only reason I know ANY songs from after that period is because of their concert DVD. The only song of the later stuff that even left enough of a mark for me to remember the title is Daysleeper.

I may have drifted away from being an "active" fan, but 7 or 8 fantastic records (Fables never really did it for me, either) means they're still one of my favorites overall. I'll give this one a listen.
 

Ronreddog

Unofficial O&A Twitter Tough Guy
May 11, 2007
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#7
I will take a listen, but, I do miss the old style. I still say "Out of Time" was their best effort, but, that is me.
 

Begbie

Wackbag Generalissimo
Jul 21, 2003
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I picked up Accelerate last week. And I gotta say...it's a major improvement over anything they've done since Monster. I liked Hi-Fi, but I think I'm going to like this one more. I do see a slight comparison between this album and Life's Rich Pageant and maybe Fables of the Reconstruction. Is it as good as those albums...not quite. But this album is better than anything they've put out in the last maybe 15 years.

Songs like Living Well's The Best Revenge, Horse To Water, I'm Gonna DJ, and Man-Sized Wreath all caught my attention immediately. The rest of the songs are catching on. I don't like Houston all that much...it just has that political whiny sound to it (it's about the gov't ignoring the Katrina victims). I'm glad to see REM still has that sound in them. And I hope this album does well...frankly it can't do any worse than Around The Sun, which sold a measly 250K copies.
 
Oct 8, 2003
20,592
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Chicago, IL
#12
When I first heard this album I was let down. I think it was because I had gotten into the "Up" electronic era they had going. And I knew for the longest time this album was a return to their college rock sound.

And now the album is really growing on me. The more I listen to it, it's one of there better albums.

But I completely disagree with whatever media ass said this was their best album. It's good, but not a masterpiece. And if you were wondering, I think Automatic For the People could be their best album, followed by Green and then Hi-Fi.
 

Begbie

Wackbag Generalissimo
Jul 21, 2003
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#13
When I first heard this album I was let down. I think it was because I had gotten into the "Up" electronic era they had going. And I knew for the longest time this album was a return to their college rock sound.

And now the album is really growing on me. The more I listen to it, it's one of there better albums.

But I completely disagree with whatever media ass said this was their best album. It's good, but not a masterpiece. And if you were wondering, I think Automatic For the People could be their best album, followed by Green and then Hi-Fi.
Agreed. Definitely not their best...and frankly, I don't even think they'll ever be capable of topping their best, which just goes to show how good they really were. I didn't really get into the electronic REM era though...Up wasn't all that bad...but Reveal and Around The Sun were just completely out in left field.

The rest of the album is really sounding alot better to me as I listen to it more and more. I dig the harder stuff, but I also enjoy the softer stuff...still can't get into Houston though. I really like Accelerate (the song) now.

The album has done well in it's first week, btw. It hit #2, thanks to George Strait taking #1...and it's the best they've done since Hi-Fi. To put it in perspective...Accelerate, in it's first week alone, has sold almost half as many copies as Around The Sun has sold since it's release in 2004 and it may pass that album in the first month of it's release.
 

PyThomas

Coke float's in my cup
Jan 11, 2003
1,044
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#14
The whole album is fucking excellent. "Houston" is a great song... if anything because my hometown of Galveston is mentioned... my only complaint is that it's too damn short.
 

Stig

Making America So Great You Won't Believe It.
Jul 26, 2005
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#15
I've been a fan since Murmer, and have seen them a bunch of times. But they really lost me after Bill Berry had to retire. This new album is actually pretty good. Not their best, but hopefully the beginning of a return to form.