R.E.M. Listening Club


As seems to be a common experience within the group, this is very much the album where I lost complete interest in REM. I remember starting to dislike Stipe at the time. It felt to me like a persona that he created with tongue in cheek at the time of Monster, just started to grate. I never even bothered with any of the subsequent albums at all, however it never affected my appreciation for the older stuff.
I gave Reveal a listen a few days back & it’s just such a bland & forgettable album. I can’t think of a single track that I like from it.
I am looking forward to Collapse Into Now & Accelerate in the coming weeks as these are generally regarded as big improvements.
To note, I have completely gotten over my temporary disliking of Stipe. Just a pity that this stage of the REM arc was so average as that is not a word that should be associated with the band that gave us Murmur, Reckoning, Automatic, New Adventures etc.


Cheer up folks. Their last 2 albums are good with even the odd great moment!


It’s exactly at this point I stopped taking notice of Q reviews. They doled out a load of good reviews I just couldnt agree with. Decided I just couldn’t value their judgement anymore


I’ve been high is the best track on Reveal, followed by imitation of life. I remember always liking Chorus and the Ring but really it’s just the album is so poor overall that it seems likeable.

The band always claim its underrated but all that tells me is this is the point they started to lose their sense of judgement. They really needed a kick up the arse.


:heart: R.E.M are, always have been, and always will be the absolute fucking best


They would be absolutely raging when they found out Trump was using one of their songs.


Ok, I listened through Reveal twice over the last week and didn’t hear anything to improve my view on it. Not a record I’ll be returning to again.

Firstly everything has this early 00s production style which Madonna’s Ray of Light and a bunch of other pop stuff at the time had too. I think it’s dated badly a decade on. The first two songs have potential, but that production completely overshadows them for me, All The Way to Reno feels a bit forced and clumsy, She Just Wants to Be is beyond awful and the guitar solo sets my teeth on edge, then there’s a whole load of forgettable crap that goes on forever. Eventually I’ll Take The Rain is for me the one thing salvageable from this bland mess. Beachball is a pretty insipid ending – their worst Beach Boys for hire effort.

Right, with that finally out of the way time to move on I think…


You are right about the production. It has a sort of…electronic gloss and the mix is full of little bleeps and keyboard gurgles which have dated very badly.


After a week I’ve settled on Summer Turns to High as the worst song here. Unbelievably bad.


Oh God, I’ve absolutely no recollection of this one. I can’t listen now (probably a blessing in disguise), but even looking at the lyrics doesn’t trigger anything. I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the middle?


Right, let’s move on. One down one to go before things improve again. Let’s try and get through this together.

I tend to think that whilst Around The Sun has some of the lowest lows of any R.E.M. record, it also has a couple of okay moments and guilty pleasures. For this reason, it’s always had a slight edge over Reveal for me. Time to see if that’s still the case.

So this week’s album is:

Around The Sun


Been looking forward to this. Never really listened to it after hearing almost universally bad things.

Fwiw always quite liked ‘Leaving New York’


Fall On Me came on a shuffle yesterday. It was a timely reminder of just how great REM once were & why we have been on this enjoyable journey together. I’ve never listened to Around The Sun before, but after revisiting Reveal last week I’m heading in with deep apprension.


I am NOT looking forward to this. Just looked up the run time and it’s fifty-five minutes long! What the fuck!


Did anyone else buy the stupid special edition box set of Around The Sun (came with a bunch of fold out posters by different artists illustrating the songs) when this first came out only to immediately regret this after listening to the album or was it just me?



Got a soft spot for Around the Sun cos it’s the only tour I saw them on. And I always liked Electron Blue.


Same here, although it’s objectively not great. “Leaving New York” and “I Wanted to be Wrong” sounded great live, fwiw, and “The Ascent of Man” is underrated, but the rest is a bit partridgeshrug.gif


It really is very dull, although, weirdly, i listen to it more than ‘Reveal’. ‘Leaving New York’ is great (apart from the “leaving was never my proud” line. ‘Electron Blue’ is good and ‘I Wanted To Be Wrong’ is nice. I also quite like ‘The Ascent of Man’, however, the rap in ‘The Outsiders’ is embarrassing and ‘Wanderlust’ is one of the worst things they have ever done. The rest of it (‘Make It All Ok’, ‘Final Straw’, ‘High Speed Train’, ‘The Worst Joke Ever’) is just too boring to even comment on. They all seemed to know that they had made a real stinker here (Peter Buck especially).


I think I may have been the only person to find much merit in ‘Reveal’ but even I draw the line at ‘Around the Sun’. Utterly forgettable. I was quite intrigued to have another listen to ‘Reveal’ but I’m not sure I can muster the effort with ‘Around the Sun’.


Go on, give it a go! I predict you will turn it off a minute into the incredibly dull anti-war song ‘Final Straw’ (track 5).