R.E.M. – Accelerate

R.E.M.R.E.M. might be the only band that could be accused of being worse after their drummer left. Bill Berry left the group after their experimental tour album “New Adventures In Hi-Fi” (maybe the most underrated album) and R.E.M. were never the same. Whilst most of you might think, “He was only the drummer” he was anything but: it was Berry that wrote the melody for Everybody Hurts which became the band’s signature tune. After he left, R.E.M. experimented with synths and new textures, but these albums (Up, Reveal, Around The Sun) never had any mystery or drive to them. So almost 11 years after Berry left, Accelerate finds R.E.M. sounding like a proper rock band for the first time since 1995’s Monster.

“Living Well Is The Best Revenge” is a killer opener, a classic melodic riff, driving bass and some classic Mike Mills harmonising. “Man Sized Wreath” and “Supernatural Superserious” keeps the pace quick and direct. “Hollow Man” starts slow but picks up with a great chorus. Even the comparatively weaker tracks “Houston” and “Accelerate” aren’t bad and pass quickly. “Until The Day Is Done” references the band’s Gothic-Americana roots without sounding derivative. Indeed, the songs on Accelerate seem to hark back to all the stages of R.E.M.’s career whilst still sounding fresh

And this is why Accelerate is R.E.M.’s best album in recent years. There’s nothing as melancholy or as moving as anything on Automatic For The People, but this is R.E.M. in rock-band mode and as such it’s a roaring success. The last two tracks “Horse To Water” and “I’m Gonna DJ” are just over two minutes and deliver a solid final punch to the album. At 11 tracks in 35 minutes, Accelerate is a no frills and no flab album that shows why no one should write them off.

R.E.M. – Supernatural Superserious:

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