Sunday, October 10, 2004


Around The Sun

I want to like it. I really want to like it. But the new R.E.M. disc "Around The Sun" just bores me to tears. Where are the guitars? Where's the excitement? Where are the hooks? Why does it have to drag so much? The lead track (and first single) "Leaving New York" is decent enough, but it seems like every track gets slower and more depressing as it goes on.

I admit I haven't sat down and totally examined the lyrics, nor have I listened to it with headphones to discover all the layered intricacies of their production. But I shouldn't really have to try that hard to like it. I remember the days when R.E.M.'s music would jump out of the stereo and I would spontaneuosly start jumping around the room, dancing and singing along. Their last 3 albums are now rarely played at all, except when our parents come visit. It's something nice and pleasant to put on in the background, without distubring anyone. That's probably the best thing I can say about the new disc. It's pleasant. Get a few drinks in me and I'll even start complaining about the packaging and the title.

The thing that kills me is that they can still bring it live. They're still a fantastic rock and roll band when they want to be. They put on a great live show that can bring down the house. I'll even admit that the live versions of the songs from the last 2 albums are pretty damn good. I'm holding out hope that the same is true for the songs off the new disc. I'm not holding my breath though.

Still - I can't recommend them enough in a live setting. Go see them when you get a chance. They're playing at MCI tomorrow night and at D.A.R. on November 1. That's the night before the election. That could make for a fun show.

You can stream "Around The Sun" at

Now playing: R.E.M. 4-24-82 @ Merlyn's - Madison, WI. Excuse me while I go jump around my living room.

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