2004’s Around the Sun was R.E.M.’s unlucky 13th album, the third without drummer Bill Berry and their most uninspired effort. Only this song and one or two others are worth hearing.
No I don’t.
When I first heard R.E.M. was contributing a song to the 30 Days, 30 Songs anti-Trump project, I was giddy. I figured the prospect of a racist, misogynist narcissist ascending to the highest office in the world is what it took to reunite one of my favorite bands ever.
Alas, their offering turned out to be not a new song but a previously unreleased live version of a track from their 1988 album, Green.
R.E.M.’s 1991 album Out of Time is a truly bizarre smash hit. It’s the band’s best-selling record and the one that transformed them from a critically admired alternative rock band into a global pop rock superpower, but half of its tracks are the sort of thing I can’t imagine ever playing on the radio.
That goes for powerful, mournful tracks like ‘Country Feedback’ and ‘Low,’ the instrumental ‘Endgame’ and the largely spoken word ‘Belong.’
R.E.M.’s 2008 album Accelerate received the best reviews of any record they released after drummer Bill Berry’s departure. Personally, I’d rank it below Up but I agree it’s a high point of the late phase of their career.
That said, today’s Random SOTD, ‘Sing For the Submarine,’ is not among my favorites. It has its moments it’s way too melodically unsophisticated for my taste.
R.E.M.’s Monster was a true WTF album. Following the mega-success of the warm, elegant pop albums Out of Time (1991) and Automatic For the People (1992), this 1994 release hit fans like a bucket of cold water.
Steeped in grunge and drowning in reverb and feedback, Monster was the loudest and least pretty collection R.E.M. ever recorded. But listening to it 22 years later, it doesn’t seem all that scary.
Yesterday we got our second random Barenaked Ladies song in a week and today we get our second R.E.M. song in two weeks.
In the previous post, I described the band’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi — the last album to feature drummer Bill Berry — as their swan song. Indeed, they were never the same and never as good after that record.