27 October 2013

26th October - R.E.M's Up

Artist – Album: R.E.M - Up
Released: 26th October 1998
Sounds Like: Rarefied electronic music

R.E.M. didn’t find things easy after the massive success of their career defining album Automatic for the People. In fact, after more than a decade of carving out a niche sound all of their own, they began to suffer from an identity crisis. Automatic was followed by the glam grunge of Monster; still a special album in my book, but one with enough flaws and a hard enough edge to alienate sections of their fans. Next up was New Adventures in Hi-Fi, a pretty lost record which couldn’t really make its mind up on what it wanted to be. And so we come to Up, an excursion into electronic music that baffled half of its audience upon release. Uh-oh.

On first listen, there’s only two shining lights that pierce the otherwise all consuming electronic fug: the Brian Wilson tribute ‘At My Most Beautiful’ and the typically beautiful, old-school R.E.M. ‘Daysleeper’. However, further listens reveal a stash of hidden gems: the ominous opener ‘Airportman’, the Casiotone for the Painfully Alone-esque ‘Hope’, the sarcastic ‘The Apologist’ and the folktronica of ‘You’re in the Air’. It is a hesitant, unsure album, but once it opens itself up to you, it is incredibly well-crafted and ahead of its time. Well done again boys. 

Albumaday... rating: 7/10

1.       Airportman – 4:12
2.       Lotus – 4:30
3.       Suspicion – 5:36
4.       Hope – 5:02
5.       At My Most Beautiful – 3:35
6.       The Apologist – 4:30
7.       Sad Professor – 4:01
8.       You’re in the Air – 5:22
9.       Walk Unafraid – 4:31
10.   Why Not Smile – 4:03
11.   Daysleeper – 3:40
12.   Diminished – 6:01
13.   Parakeet – 4:09
14.   Falls to Climb – 5:06
Listen to ‘Daysleeper’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUcKeKt8C1k 

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