Pin It
Favorite

CD Review- R.E.M. Reveal 

A fellow R.E.M. fanatic told me he thought the boys (okay, now grown men) from Athens, Ga., resembled a corporation more than a band these days. That's kind of a bummer for anybody who loves R.E.M. as much as I do -- and as much as he used to -- but after listening to Reveal, I can't help but agree. While guitarist Peter Buck's side gig with the Seattle band The Minus 5 feels vital and creative, his work with R.E.M. seems to be strictly by the numbers.


The big thing this time out appears to be tinkering with electronic gizmos that make funky sounds but don't guarantee good music. From the opening song, you feel like you're in for R.E.M.'s version of the Wall of Sound. Still, if you liked "Shiny Happy People" from Out Of Time or "Everybody Hurts" from Automatic For The People, they've made sure you'll find something to like here. In fact, the CD is loaded with mellow songs. Nothing pops out of the speakers here like the aggressively funky "The Lotus" on Up or the driving "The Wake-Up Bomb" did on New Adventures in Hi-Fi (which is a great album, by the way). This one's so mellow, in fact, it conjures up a variety of one-liners while listening -- "This is the kind of music you'd make if you were getting your rapid eye movement during afternoon naps." Okay, I know that's mean, since Michael Stipe and the gang are now over 40.


Sure, there are some good things -- "I've Been High" features the kind of poetic lyrics that Stipe is now famous for, and "I'll Take The Rain" is a nice ballad, albeit only a shadow of stuff like "Find The River" or "Nightswimming."


The pop-ready "Imitation of Life" seems like a case of going back to the "Shiny Happy People" session and recreating it as best they could, right down to the string section (but, sadly, without the B-52s' Kate Schneider's backing vocals). You'll probably hear the song on your radio this summer, and it may even stick in your head, but it represents what I always thought was the worst of R.E.M. -- the "necessary" pop songs. It seems like the kind of song you'd record if -- gasp! -- you were a corporation instead of a band. -- Ted S. McGregor, Jr.
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • A Win for Everyone
  • A Win for Everyone

    The water protectors at Standing Rock achieve an important victory
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • My Dinner with Fidel
  • My Dinner with Fidel

    Looking back nearly 20 years, when three Americans sat down with the Western Hemisphere's most notorious communist
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • 'No' to Sessions
  • 'No' to Sessions

    Trail Mix: Murray opposes AG pick Sessions, McMorris Rodgers' future
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Winter Glow Spectacular

Winter Glow Spectacular @ Spokane County Fair & Expo Center

Through Dec. 11, Through Dec. 23 and Through Dec. 30

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


TRAIL MIX


Comment


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • The Rachel We Knew
  • The Rachel We Knew

    EDITOR'S NOTE: How Rachel Dolezal came to write for the Inlander
    • Jun 18, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation