Song of the Day #691: ‘Until the Day is Done’ – R.E.M.

In 2008, R.E.M. administered smelling salts to their sagging career in the form of Accelerate, 35 minutes of the rawest, most visceral music they’d recorded since Lifes Rich Pageant and Document.

The band was in need of a comeback (according to Peter Buck, Michael Stipe himself said “If we make another bad record, it’s over” following the collapse of Around the Sun) and they got it with Accelerate.

The album earned them their best reviews in years and, even more important, they sounded like a band again… Stipe tears into his vocals with a passion he hadn’t tapped consistently in more than a decade and Buck lets loose on the guitars like a real headbanger.

While I acknowledge Accelerate as a good and necessary direction for the band, it’s not one of my favorites. But the difference between this album and Around the Sun or Reveal is that R.E.M. sounds like R.E.M. again… even if it’s not my favorite version of the band — the loud, relentless R.E.M. of their early live shows.

Accelerate sounds like three guys throwing a bucket of water in each other’s faces and letting out a primal scream that proves they’re still alive. I have a feeling it was either record this album or break up, and I’m glad they went with the former. I’m very curious to see what they come up with next, now that they’re awake again.

[Note: After all that stuff about how fast and furious this album is, I’ve selected the slowest track on the album as my SOTD… probably not the best way to represent Accelerate, but what the hell.]

The battle’s been lost, the war is not won
An addled republic, a bitter refund
The business first flat earthers licking their wounds
The verdict is dire, the country’s in ruins

Providence blinked, facing the sun
Where are we left to carry on
Until the day is done
Until the day is done

As we’ve written our stories to entertain
These notions of glory and bull market gain
The teleprompt flutters, the power surge brings
An easy speed message falls into routine

Providence blinked, facing the sun
Where are we left to carry on
Until the day is done
Until the day is done

A voice whispers Son,
The blessed vision comes.
What have I done
What have I done

So hold tight your babies and your guns
Forgive us our trespasses, father and son

Providence blinked, facing the sun
Where are we left to carry on
Until the day is done
Until the day is done

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #691: ‘Until the Day is Done’ – R.E.M.

  1. Amy says:

    I love this song based on the first 22 seconds! I was about to ask why you chose it if it’s not representative, but I think I know now. Lyrically, this is a great song to serve as that smelling salt/ bucket of water to the face that they all needed. And now I want to go buy this album.

  2. Dana says:

    Ah, better…

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