Accelerate Review

artist: R.e.m. date: 04/12/2010 category: compact discs
R.e.m.: Accelerate
Release Date: Apr 1, 2008
Label: Warner Bros.
Genres: Alternative Pop/Rock
Number Of Tracks: 11
Accelerate finds modern rock's most acclaimed band returning to the stripped-down, guitar-driven power that first enraptured fans.
 Sound: 8.3
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 8.7
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reviews (3) 3 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
Accelerate Reviewed by: gitarzero89, on april 09, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: If you're an R.E.M. fan, you have heard by now that this album marks their return to an organic, guitar-based sound. Well, rejoice, it's true, because Accelerate delivers some rockers. A proper title indeed, for the album does just that, kicking off with the speedy Living Well Is The Best Revenge and clocking in at just 35 minutes. Soundwise, Accelerate is a bit of an amalgamation of their previous work, somewhere between the crunch and jangle of Document and the Marshall-stack fuzz of Monster and New Adventures. Buck's Rickenbacker jangle is occasionally present, during the verse of Supernatural Superserious, the haunting Sing for the Submarine, and the acoustic Until The Day Is Done, the song that most recalls their '80's material, it could fit right in with anything on Life's Rich Pageant. Supernatural Superserious boasts one of the best R.E.M. choruses in recent years, featuring great harmonies from Mike Mills, who, as always, provides melodic basslines. Touring drummer Bill Rieflin, of Ministry fame, plays drums on the album, and to his credit, he keeps great rhythm and plays with competence and power, but I can't help feeling that Bill Berry's presence would've added much more to these tracks. Elsewhere, song structures are simplistic almost to the point of triteness, case in point Hollow Man with it's quiet-verse-loud-chorus layout. The album does not waste time, and while it is overflowing with hooks, it doesn't present anything as innovative as R.E.M.'s early work. But Accelerate is their return-to-form album, and a darn good one at that, showcasing a return to the basics, and expanding R.E.M.'s sound enough to prove that they never make the same record twice. // 8

Lyrics: Michael Stipe is back in his socio-political vitriol mode, with lines such as You, savor your dying breath/I forgive but I don't forget (Living Well is the Best Revenge), Nature abhors a vacuum/but what's between your ears? (Man-Sized Wreath), Mr. Richards your conviction/had us cheering in the kitchen (Mr. Richards), and particularly If the storm doesn't kill me/the government will (Houston). Stipe tackles subjects such as Hurricane Katrina in Houston (see above lyric), mainstream media in Man-sized Wreath (Turn on the TV, what do I see? /a pageantry of empty gestures all lined up for me), and the end of the world in I'm Gonna DJ (Death is pretty final/ I'm collecting vinyl/I'm gonna DJ at the end of the world). Sing for the Submarine makes reference to previous R.E.M. songs Electron Blue, Feeling Gravity's Pull, and High-Speed Train, which some people might consider cheesy. As always, Michael's voice is great, not at all changed by age, the vocals on Houston sounds like anything on Life's Rich Pageant or Document. Stipe is clearly in his element. // 9

Overall Impression: R.E.M. has returned with style. Not only is Accelerate a superb shot in the arm for a great band, it is almost up there with some of their best albums, and shows a lot of promise for subsequent releases. If the album were lost/stolen, it would be worth re-buying. // 8

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overall: 8.7
Accelerate Reviewed by: wacawaca, on april 18, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: R.E.M. have created their most guitar-driven record in over a decade. Gone are the lush string arrangements of 'Reveal' and the sleepy sound created on 'Around the Sun'. While this reviewer considers the former to be an enjoyable, albeit 'ho hum' record, it was not what I knew R.E.M. for. The opening track 'Living Well Is The Best Revenge' exposes the guitar-heavy sound the band was so excited about sharing with the rest of the world. This sound is maintainted during the course of the album. It is a plaesure to hear Buck's jangly guitar on songs like 'Sing For The Submarine'. He also manages to create a heavy sound on lead single 'Supernatural Superserious', a song built around a simple but effective, chord proggression. I have struggled to find many bad songs on this album. Perhaps the title track 'Accelerate' can be viewed as a weak track, but overrall the album does not suffer from the inclusion of any songs. Arguably the best song is the shortest, 'Houston', at 2:05. This is R.E.M. as we used to know it, it's a pleasure to be re-acquanited. // 9

Lyrics: Michael Stipe's voice sounds great on this record. His signature low growl is back and his vocals soar above the guitar on the political 'Until The Day Is Done'. Michael Stipe has commented that he "works best under pressure" and as such the band recorded the album quickly. It certainly seems to have worked for Stipe. More importantly Stipe sounds excited about the songs he is singing. He shows a new political passion in songs like 'Until The Day Is Done' and 'Sing For The Submarine'. It is exciting as a listener to hear the singer so excited and this sets a good mood for the rest of the album. Michael Stipe's howl is on show on the final two tracks 'Horse To Water' and 'I'm Gonna DJ'. Both fun tracks that reveal how Stipe must've felt when he was a teenager. // 8

Overall Impression: This album may not be a step forward for R.E.M. but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Over the last 8 years many critics have commented that R.E.M. had "lost their way". Whether or not this is true this album certainly sounds a lot like their earlier work. In this sense the album has not taken the band to any new territory, rather they have re-traced their steps in a most fantastic and rewarding way. The album as a whole is fantastic, everything seems to have come together at the right time for R.E.M. While the rest of the world may not appreciate it 'Accelerate' has shown that 3 middle-aged men can do for alternative-rock, what no teenager has been able to do for the last decade. // 9

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overall: 8
Accelerate Reviewed by: rem857, on april 12, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: As I write this, there is no album tab up yet for the album Accelerate by R.E.M. (I'm working on that!!!!) which was released in 2007. However, for anyone who has heard R.E.M. before the sound that is used is very similar to what R.E.M. considered to be their first "Rock" Album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi. The band was very proud of it when it was released in 1996, and for good reason. The sound was heavy at parts and lighter on others, a traditional Rock album. The sound that is heard in Accelerate is much like it. However the songs are much more driving and somewhat haunting even, as heard with "Until The Day is Done' and "Houston". The band opens up with the song "Living well is the Best Revenge". After the album that appeared in 2004 "Around the Sun", the opening to the first song should inform any listener the band took a new turn from that of 2004, and that new turn brought them to the pure driven rock sound of New Adventures in Hi-Fi. Unlike the album of 2004, the guitar is the dominant instrument, finally giving Peter Buck a reason to go full throttle on this song. The bass, as always, is done like not many other bands, thank you Mike Mills. The sound of Michael Stipe is always great. He has the arcing sound while hitting the song home. Perfect. The downside is that unlike almost every other album done by R.E.M., it was not apparent that the Rickenbacker guitar was being utilized. I'm not even sure if it was, which would be a shame since it is an amazing guitar brand and it is Peter's favorite. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics... Michael Stipe is a beautiful poet, but I just don't hear the poetry behind the songs. Well written yes, and some are extremely well written with the the listener able to tell that there is indeed poetry behind the song. "Until the Day is Done" and "Hallow Man" are my two favorite poetry influenced songs. But otherwise, it is a different Michael Stipe, how ever it is a Michael Stipe that can still be enjoyed greatly. // 7

Overall Impression: Overall it was a great album. Short and fast paced going barely of 30 minutes, this album will hit you hard in the chest and leave gasping for more. And from what I have heard through the grapevine, their next album will like the one that was made in 1994 "Monster" an album known forever as an amazing sonic experiment that is hard to grasp, but when fully understood, even by the more traditional fans, that album is one of their best. But as for Accelerate, it will go down with "Murmer", "Document", "Green", "Out Of Time", "Automatic For The People", "Monster" and "New adventures in Hi-Fi". That is sound wise only. If you want to look at it from a view of income, it will still go down with "Murmer", "Document", "Out of time" and "Monster" Overall, great album. // 9

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