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So there’s new R.E.M. out

16/12/2010
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One of my largest musical pet peeves is dismissing an artist’s work after they get older, after they pass that magical bullshit point of ‘relevancy’. For some reason a lot of music fans seem to have an inability to comprehend that musicians should be allowed to create music if they want to do so, even after they’ve gone past the fashionable phase. And if this sounds preachy or self-righteous I apologise, but it really does grind my gears.

R.E.M. suffer from that quite a bit. Not only have they been making music for three decades now (gasp!) but they’ve moved from a smaller label to a larger label (oh no!), experimented with styles and grown artistically instead of repeating the debut over and over again (by the gods!) and even continued after an original member left because they wanted to go on making music (argh!). So that’s four bullseyes hung on their necks by the music crowds. And sure, opinions are opinions and I’m all for subjectivity, but I do kinda feel a bit sad towards the people who dismiss them after Berry left or, in a more severe case of insanity, after they moved away from IRS Records. Their 00’s albums are wonderful, rich additions to an already fantastic catalogue. And if I’m a bit nutty for saying so, then I like my own crazy little world.

But on a less preachy note, Collapse Into Now is being released early next year as you probably know already and its opener “Discoverer” was released as a free taster as is the fashion these days (why is it always the opener track given as the freebie anyway?). The band’s talked about how Collapse is a slightly more personal album and they’ve done some experimenting with the sound. But at the same time it’s being produced by Jacknife Lee who also manned that duty behind Accelerate and I assume the desire to continue with that straightforward band sound is the reason for that. And Discoverer would certainly make that assumption a bit more certain – it’s a call-to-arms opener track that rocks in a natural, organic way like Accelerate did. It probably would have fit that album, to be honest. It’s not the world’s most impressive track, but it is up to R.E.M.’s quality standards and sounds like what it probably is: a steady opener that doesn’t lay out all the cards on the table but whets the appetite to hear more. Which it certainly does.

Bring on Collapse.

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