Biases on the table time. I’m a huge REM fan. I can’t think of the moment where this band got me. At my age, they were already all over the radio by the time I was aware of them. The One I Love, End Of the World, Losing My Religion, Everybody Hurts, Man on the Moon, What’s the Frequency…all songs that were such a part of my language that I never had to study it. I just picked up being an REM fan.
The last couple of records have had moments of beauty, but were generally uneven. They were downbeat, folky and overall dragged on a bit. But the promise of the new album Accelerate is that’s it’s back to rock. The single certainly harks back to Monster era R.E.M.
It really taps into what I love about REM. It’s a thrill ride of guitars and hooks. It’s a song for everyone, with a dash of sentimentality and hope. It hints at what I really love about the albums by the Hold Steady of late. That even a small life should be separated.
The whole thing is over in just over three minutes. We’ve had a stadium winning riff, a brilliant opening line, and a revitalised band crashing into a song. There’s the Peter Buck guitar. Mike’s flawless harmonies. A killer chorus, that riff again, and an ending as wonderful and mysterious as anything they’ve ever done before. Supernatural, superserious? I have no idea what Stipe is on about.
There’s no words to describe it. It’s been a while since I have listened to a song over and over on repeat, like I have with this song. And it’s no “Good Vibrations” or anything. But for me, this is the meat and potatoes of what makes me a music fan. The sustenance I keep returning to.
I can’t wait to hear it live. Stipe, looking over all of us, in the wasteland.
You gotta hear it.
PS. Terrible clip though