Category Archives: young fresh fellows

The Triumphant Return of R.E.M.

I used to be huge REM fan, but that was a long time ago. Way back in the innocent 1980s I thought they were cool. I had all their tapes, and waited at record stores to buy new ones when they would come out. When a fire destroyed my wardrobe, my REM t-shirt was one of the first things I replaced. Still to this day, “Can’t Get There from Here,” “Orange Crush,” “Driver 8” and “So. Central Rain” are among my absolute favorite tunes.

Right around the time of “Everybody Hurts” and “Man on the Moon” when they were at their highest MTV saturation point and Michael Stipe was at his most talkiness about politics and such, I lost interest. For me, the flavor of the band, as well as their music, just got to be too… cliché, maybe? All the songs began to sound alike, REM-like. When I heard Corky and Juice Pigs do their REM parody, “REMember,” it just felt so on target, and ruined any recent music by the band for me. They were a joke and over time I became a rabid anti-REM fan.

And eventually they faded away.

Then suddenly in the last few months I started hearing new REM music on my XM, and more troubling than that, new excitement about REM. The album is called Accelerate, and unfortunately the songs that being played on the radio, most notably “Hollow Man” and “Until the Day Is Done,” sound just like the same old REM that drove me away. But it’s not all like that.
This album is a rocker, yes, peppered with a few old annoying REM-like tunes, but for the most part a rocker. Mostly due in part to the additions of Bill Rieflin formerly of Ministry and Scott McCaughey formerly of the Young Fresh Fellows, also two of my favorite bands of days gone by. These guys seem to be the boost that REM needed.

Tunes like “I’m Gonna DJ,” “Living Well Is the Best Revenge” and the title track rock hard and also seem to channel a long lost sound as well as lyrical fuel from old albums Reckoning and Fables of the Reconstruction. Don’t listen to your radio, listen to me and get the CD. The real REM songs aren’t being played. This one rocks. REM is back.

.