Around the Sun

Around the Sun

by R.E.M.R.E.M.


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R.E.M have issued several stock-taking albums over the years, discs that depart fairly significantly from their signature sound, offering some of the band's most emotionally naked songs. That's certainly what's happening with Around the Sun, the band's first new studio offering in three years. While it would be stretching things to say that there's no guitar jangle in evidence here, that's not the sonic focus. "Electron Blue," an echoey, post-millennial take on Bachrach/David-style pop, drifts along on a subtle-but-insistent drum loop; piano infuses the elegant, melancholy "Leaving New York," apparently a look back at the dying embers of a relationship that finds Michael Stipe pondering all manner of what-ifs. At times, the lack of centering is somewhat maddening -- "The Outsiders," which features a superfluous cameo by rapper Q-Tip, meanders aimlessly through midlife-crisis territory -- but more often, it's compelling to lie back and let the melodies lap gently at the synapses. That's a good way to experience "The Final Straw," an acoustic guitar–laced mini-drama that's got traces of Lee Hazlewood and Richard Thompson in its dusky DNA. On the other hand, songs like the waltz-time "Wanderlust," which gives a post-rock makeover to Brecht-Weill cabaret ambiance, are more likely to grab the listener by the hand for a traipse around Stipe's ebbing and flowing stream of consciousness. Titular brightness aside, Around the Sun carries with it a little piece of pre-sunrise murk, the sort of dream-state worldview that can comfort -- or chill -- like nothing that usually appears in the light of day.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/05/2004
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0093624889427
catalogNumber: 48894
Rank: 90472


  1. Leaving New York
  2. Electron Blue
  3. The Outsiders
  4. Make It All Okay
  5. Final Straw
  6. I Wanted to Be Wrong
  7. Wanderlust
  8. Boy in the Well
  9. Aftermath
  10. High Speed Train
  11. The Worst Joke Ever
  12. The Ascent of Man
  13. Around the Sun

Album Credits

Performance Credits

R.E.M.   Primary Artist
Scott McCaughey   Musician
Peter Buck   Group Member
Mike Mills   Group Member
Q-Tip   Musician
Bill Rieflin   Musician
Hahn Rowe   Musician
Michael Stipe   Group Member
Ken Stringfellow   Musician
Jamie Candiloro   Musician

Technical Credits

Peter Buck   Composer
Patrick McCarthy   Producer
Mike Mills   Composer
R.E.M.   Producer,Audio Production
Michael Stipe   Composer,Packaging
Bertis Downs   Advisor
Jamie Candiloro   Engineer
Chris Bilheimer   Packaging
Thomas Roman Dozol   Cover Photo
Pat McCarthy   Audio Production

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