Around the Sun

Around the Sun

4.2 9
by R.E.M.
     
 

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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…  See more details below

Overview

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 guitar–laced 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.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Since the careening, ragged Reckoning followed the hazy, dreamlike Murmur, each R.E.M. album had an element of a surprise, offering something different than what came before. That's not the case with Around the Sun, which refines and polishes the blueprint of Reveal. This is as slow and ballad-heavy as Automatic for the People, but where that album was filled with raw emotion and detours, Around the Sun is tasteful and streamlined. With their layered, low-key production, R.E.M. seem hell-bent on leaving behind anything that could be construed as their signature sound, so keyboards and drum machines are pushed to the front as Buck's guitar strums instead of jangles and Mills' background vocals are buried in the mix under Stipe's double-tracked harmonies.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/05/2004
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624889427
catalogNumber:
48894
Rank:
16012

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

R.E.M.   Primary Artist
Scott McCaughey   Musician
Peter Buck   Group Member
Mike Mills   Group Member
Q-Tip   Musician
Bill Rieflin   Musician
Hahn Rowe   Musician
Michael Stipe   Group Member
Ken Stringfellow   Musician
Jamie Candiloro   Musician

Technical Credits

Peter 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

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Around the Sun 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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?
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago