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Accelerate (Deluxe Version)

R.E.M.

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iTunes Review

Since original drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997, R.E.M. have been a very a different group. Their albums turned inward, contemplative, experimental, and moody, rarely setting aside the time to rock. With 2008’s Accelerate, their first studio album in four years since Around the Sun, they are recharged and ready for the road. Reinforced with ex-Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin and extra guitarist Scott McCaughey, the remaining trio breathe new life into their musical and political passions. “Living Well’s the Best Revenge” begins on an urgent note, the guitars snarling while Michael Stipe defiantly reclaims his spokesman mantle declaring “The future is ours and you don’t even rate a footnote.” Other supersized rockers, “Mansized Wreath,” “Horse to Water,” and “I’m Gonna DJ,” further celebrate the band’s newfound aggression. Even the downcast numbers, the post-Katrina exile of  “Houston,” the ominous foreboding of “Sing for the Submarine,” are fueled with underlying fuzztones amidst the acoustic guitars and sublime backing harmonies from bassist Mike Mills, who resumes his role as the album’s gentle organizer. A welcome return.

Customer Reviews

R.E.M. is having fun again...

Yes they are back with their 1st real rock album in over a decade, and yes it's their best album since New Adventures in Hi-Fi, but they aren't returning to form becuase R.E.M. has never made an album quite like this. The best part? THE RETURN OF MIKE MILLS!!! The second lead singer appears in just about every song, and it's nice to hear him again. Also, the band seems to finally accept the fact that Bill Berry is gone. On 'Up', 'Reveal', and 'Around the Sun', the band seemed hesitant to use any real drums. But the group seemed to let drummer Bill Reiflin go crazy, and for the first time since Berry left, it feels like they have a set drummer again. Accelerate could not have any other title. The album clocks in at a fast paced 35 minutes, but it never feels rushed. Even the dark "Houston" comes in at just over 2 minutes, but you feel like you've been listening for almost five. R.E.M. wastes no time jumping right in with 'Living Well is the Best Revenge'. The best album opener since Monster. Stipe sounds youthful, energentic. And the Mills bass line is one to die for. This one will have fans dancing in the seats for sure. They don't slow down either. "Man Sized Wreath" and "Supernatural Superserious" are just as fast paced and just as fun. "Hollow Man" was a turning point for me. I thought R.E.M. was going to go back to what they have done for their past three albums. Quiet, dark, floaty songs. The song starts out with just a piano and Stipe singing. But then the chorus hits and we are having fun again. It could be the most upbeat song on the album, and its definately the most R.E.M. like out of the bunch. "Hollow Man" will without a doubt go down as an all time R.E.M. favorite. What I like about Accelerate is that the group went back to throwing in little things you might not hear the first time around, and just throwing in different sounds in general. The organ on "Houston" reminded me of the siren on Hi-Fi's "Leave". It's in no way as rocking as "Leave" but it was nice to hear what R.E.M. does best, throw in more than just guitar, bass and drums. They are at their best when a lot is going on, and "Houston" is proof. The title track is a straight up rocker, and maybe my favorite of the album. The next three tracks are where we get to relax for a bit. "Until the Day is Done" feels like a leftover from 'Around the Sun', but you can tell they dressed it up a bit to fit in with the new sound. "Mr. Richards" is the most political song on the album and "Sing for the Submarine" is something that could be found on 'Reveal'. (Side note: see how many past song titles you can find in this song) To close the album we are treated to the "Star 69"esque "Horse To Water". It's quick, it's fast, it rocks. Unlike anything R.E.M. has done. This surprised the hell out of me. Buck is loud. Louder than ever, and it has never sounded to good. Finally "I'm Gonna DJ" is another quick, fast song that will rival "End of the World" as a set closer. You will no doubt be singing along to this one during a show. Is Accelerate the best R.E.M. yet. Heck no. But it's good to hear them turning it up to 11 again. I just hope they keep it there.

R.E.M. - Back To Where They Once Belonged

Having listened to "Accelerate" numerous times now with the lyrics placed right where I could see them. I have come to the realization that the lyrics are the single most important ingredient in this album. I highly recommend listening to this album with the lyrics right in front of you. This is just one of those albums where the lyrics are a huge part of the album but they're difficult to understand in some songs. Once you do it the album takes on a whole new dimension, and it becomes apparent the tremendous deliberation, the careful thought, and the persistence Michael Stipe clearly possesses as you look at the lyrical content on the album. He's one of the very few true poets of lyric verse in music today. These guys have come back to that same level they had achieved during the years they had peaked as a band and as individual musicians, and that's saying more than a lot. These guys were once known as the best band in the world in their peak years. (No Lie) So to make "one of the best records R.E.M. have ever made" as David Fricke wrote in Rolling Stone... is no small achievement. Now just to get some perspective on what these guys have actually done with this album and so we can see it for the major accomplishment it is for this band. Ask yourself how many bands have stuck together for over 20 years, and gone from being one of the best bands of their time only to slip into mediocrity for their remaining years as a band and never manage to pull it all back together again? Now, ask yourself the same question, except they have pulled themselves out of that mediocre cycle only to find themselves at the same level of ingenuity, creativity, and they're playing again at their peak performance levels they were when they were in their prime??? R.E.M. has done just that! Think about the uniqueness of R.E.M.'s situation. You can't help but think about what a rarity this is and what a mammoth accomplishment this is. This is a rare moment I think we're witnessing with this band. We should all think about what this band has done. Even if just for a brief moment. This could be one of the truly great musical comebacks of all time. I hope they have their best year ever while touring for this album. This is a major accomplishment in so many ways. These guys have outdone themselves... By all means check out the album. You'll be happy you did. Just remember the lyrics!!! You need to buy the whole thing if you want the lyrics, which I recommend strongly. Peace Everybody!

Finally...

Once R.E.M. said they wold never make songs like they "used to." I never understood what was wrong with writing good music. I have tired to stick by them, and there has been some good music, but nothing was a soul changing as Green, as socially profound as Document, or as honest as Life's Rich Pagent. This album re-connects with the long time fan. If the first time you heard R.E.M. was "Losing My Religion" then you should still get this album. If your first time was "Radio Free Europe," "So. Central Rain," or "Finest Worksong," then you NEED to get this album. Peace.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in Athens, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

R.E.M. marked the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. When their first single, "Radio Free Europe," was released in 1981, it sparked a back-to-the-garage movement in the American underground. While there were a number of hardcore and punk bands in the U.S. during the early '80s, R.E.M. brought guitar pop back into the underground lexicon. Combining ringing guitar hooks with mumbled, cryptic lyrics and a D.I.Y. aesthetic borrowed from post-punk, the band simultaneously sounded traditional...
Full Bio
Accelerate (Deluxe Version), R.E.M.
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  • $13.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Rock, Adult Alternative, Pop, Pop/Rock
  • Released: Mar 11, 2008

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