R.E.M.: Around the Sun (2023 Vinyl Reissue) (Craft) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Around the Sun (2023 Vinyl Reissue)

Craft Recordings

Sep 05, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

R.E.M.‘s 2004 album, Around the Sun, reissued here on 180g double vinyl, is somewhat of an outlier in the band’s catalog. It doesn’t feature the same rock and roll intensity as other of many of the band’s other recordings. It doesn’t feature any of the chiming guitar that was a signature of its earlier work. Its lyrical presence is not as obtuse as much of R.E.M.’s work. But when truly dug into, Around the Sun‘s pleasures equal if not eclipse some of the band’s more immediate work.

From start to finish, Around the Sun is subtler, softer, more introspective. It incorporates electronic-sounding elements but seamlessly into its ethereal narratives in songs such as the dark “Final Straw,” the minimalist “High Speed Train,” and the Q-Tip featuring “The Outsiders.”

Elsewhere, “Wanderlust” is almost jaunty, itself the musical outlier of the album. “Make It All Okay” might be the most touching R.E.M. track since “Nightswimming,” while also being something of a snarky kiss off. And the album closer, its title track, is Around the Sun‘s most hopeful moment, ending with Michael Stipe intoning, “Let my dreams set me free/Believe.”

The band only had a couple more albums in it before dissolving after 2011’s Collapse Into Now. Around the Sun was an underrated slow burn that reveals itself more and more with multiple listens. (www.remhq.com) (www.craftrecordings.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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