Around the Sunby R.E.M.
R.E.M have issued several stock-taking albums over the years, discs that depart fairly significantly from their signature sound, offering some of the band's most emotionally naked songs. That's certainly what's happening with Around the Sun, the band's first new studio offering in three years. While it would be stretching things to say that there's no guitar jangle in evidence here, that's not the sonic focus. "Electron Blue," an echoey, post-millennial take on Bachrach/David-style pop, drifts along on a subtle-but-insistent drum loop; piano infuses the elegant, melancholy "Leaving New York," apparently a look back at the dying embers of a relationship that finds Michael Stipe pondering all manner of what-ifs. At times, the lack of centering is somewhat maddening -- "The Outsiders," which features a superfluous cameo by rapper Q-Tip, meanders aimlessly through midlife-crisis territory -- but more often, it's compelling to lie back and let the melodies lap gently at the synapses. That's a good way to experience "The Final Straw," an acoustic guitarlaced mini-drama that's got traces of Lee Hazlewood and Richard Thompson in its dusky DNA. On the other hand, songs like the waltz-time "Wanderlust," which gives a post-rock makeover to Brecht-Weill cabaret ambiance, are more likely to grab the listener by the hand for a traipse around Stipe's ebbing and flowing stream of consciousness. Titular brightness aside, Around the Sun carries with it a little piece of pre-sunrise murk, the sort of dream-state worldview that can comfort -- or chill -- like nothing that usually appears in the light of day.
- Release Date:
- Concord Records
Performance CreditsR.E.M. Primary Artist
Scott McCaughey Musician
Peter Buck Group Member
Mike Mills Group Member
Bill Rieflin Musician
Hahn Rowe Musician
Michael Stipe Group Member
Ken Stringfellow Musician
Jamie Candiloro Musician
Technical CreditsPeter Buck Composer
Patrick McCarthy Producer
Mike Mills Composer
R.E.M. Producer,Audio Production
Michael Stipe Composer,Packaging
Bertis Downs Advisor
Jamie Candiloro Engineer
Chris Bilheimer Packaging
Thomas Roman Dozol Cover Photo
Pat McCarthy Audio Production
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is an excellant album. When I first put it in, I was unsure. I cannot stop listening to it. I like the fact that it puts me in a good head space. Maybe this album represents where they are at in their lives right now. I think it is great
The heady days of R.E.M. jangle are over, but give this c.d. a chance and it will grow on you. Melodys are strong and they hook you into the music from underneath the songs. Peter Buck said it took forever to record and add all those layers to the songs. I think next time they shoot for faster more primative recording. Early Demo's of this c.d. might prove very revealing.
UNFORTUNEATELY IT SEEMS LIKE THE R.E.M FIRE THAT HAD BURNED SO BRIGHTLY IN THE 80'S IS JUST ABOUT READY TO GO OUT. THE ABSENCE OF DRUMMER ,BILL BERRY SINCE THE LATE 90'S HAS HURT R.E.M IMMENSELY.SINCE THEN THEY HAVE PUT OUT NOTHING MORE THAN AVERAGE ALBUMS THAT CAN'T COMPARE TO BETTER EARLIER OUTINGS AND THIS ALBUM DOES NOT BREAK THE PATTERN.KEEP YOUR EAR ON THE SECOND HALF OF THIS ONE, THOUGH.THEY KEEP THIS RECORDING'S HEAD ABOVE WATER AND SAVE IT FROM A COMPLETE DROWNING.
I think this is a good album, not great though. It has been recieving some negative reviews, but as far as I'm concerned it's pretty good. They were really good when they played my home town of Ottawa, ON, the other night.
Listening to shimmering pop-rockers such as “Leaving New York” and reflective gems such as “Electron Blue,” it’s easy to reflect on R.E.M.’s seminal works stretching throughout the 1980s and early 90s and celebrate the DYI outfit’s continued brilliance on its latest release, “Around the Sun.” The melodies are rich and singer Michael Stipe has seldom sounded more emotive. Although the band’s sonic mortar may lack the fiery passion of 20 years ago, the experimental tact of “The Outsiders” (featuring guest rapping from Q-tip) and involving tales of loss and defiance (“Make It All Okay,” “Wanderlust”) still lift R.E.M. above the majority of their contemporaries, as well as their sonic descendants. R.E.M.’s years spent recording and touring on the world stage have allowed the band's sound to evolve from a regional style to a distinctive voice whose roots extend a million miles beyond Athens, Georgia.
I have been a r.e.m. fanatic since 1995 and I like all they've done and there's not a song of theirs I don't know the words too. This record is, I think next to Monster, the best they've done yet. I think they've earned their star on the walk of fame. I'm sure we can expect so much more to follow this record! I believe this is their new begining. The songs are great and they sound different form past records they've done. Every album is like taking a chance at the powerball; you never know what to expect.
I have most of R.E.M. CDs. However, I was disappointed with "Around the Sun"; It sounds tired and drained of emotion. The entire CD is like a long tired boring song. What happened?