Friday, April 04, 2008

REM Accelerate

Tying in neatly with Wednesday's Word (below), I would like to tell you about REM's new album, Exhilerator. I mean, Accelerate.

The album is really really really good. Not quite great (great REM albums are Murmer and my favorite, Automatic for the People), but a welcome return to the rock n roll side of REM that really presented itself back in the days of Life’s Rich Pagaent.

The disc spins through 11 songs in about 34 minutes. Wow! Gone from this release are the flourishes and long instrumental parts that have filled so much of their last three albums. That’s not a bash at those releases, although Around the Sun (their last studio album) still to this day is one I really don’t play. I’m just pointing out that Accelerate is exactly what its title implies: a fast moving collection of songs that get to their point, lyrically and musically, without wasting any time. And it works.

I think my favorite thing about this release is that they’ve finally…FINALLY…put Mike Mills’ vocals back into the songs. For the last three releases it sounded like all of the backing vocals were just Michael Stipe overdubs. Mike Mills voice has always been such a big a part of the REM sound, I never understood why they buried his vocals.

A lot of this reawakening of REMs rock sound has to go to producer Jacknife Lee, recommended to them by pal Bono. He has pulled the rock sound that has been hibernating in REM back to the forefront. Although to be fair, if you heard REM’s live album that was released last year, or if you’ve seen them live (3 times for me), you know that when in the live setting, they do rock the house. But that power has been missing on the recent studio recordings.

If you’re an REM fan, you will more than likely love this return to form for the band. If you’re not a fan, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Though I do think you’d probably like the singles “Supernatural Superserious”, and “Living Well Is the Best Revenge”.

With REM’s latest release already enjoying a lot of speaker time in both my stereo, laptop and mp3 player, I know wait anxiously for my copy of James’ Hey Ma to arrive next week in the mail. Their new album, and first studio album in 5+ years is being released on Monday, April 7 in the UK. I pre-ordered by copy on and will be waiting by my door for the UPS delivery to come next week.

In addition to spending a week in Philly visiting old friends and hanging with my disc golf chummies, REM releases a new CD, their best in years. James is releasing their first studio album in 5 years. next week. This is turning out to be a really great birthday month for me so far (my birthday is April 20…that’s right…4/20).

Wonder what other great things the month has in store….

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