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RE-REVIEWS: R.E.M., “Around the Sun”

By Pat McGuire and Breanna Murphy on March 24, 2011


RE-REVIEWS: R.E.M., “Around the Sun”

We're not perfect and, let's face it, sometimes hindsight is truly 20/20. It's with that spirit that we approach the FILTER Re-Review, a second chance for us to evaluate our opiniony opinions on records from past issues. How does the record hold up now that we've had years to contemplate and listen? What would we give the record if it was coming out in the next issue? Two of FILTER's editorial staff, Editor-In-Chief Pat McGuire and Associate Editor Breanna Murphy, sat down to scratch their heads on a few releases and present to you: The Re-Review.

What are some records you think we did wrong? Leave 'em in the comments and we might just give it a Re-Review.


Around the Sun




Dear R.E.M.,

We need to talk. I’ve wanted to tell you this for a while. I think it’s time I saw other bands. I met you when you were still Green, you were a little shy. You Murmured and I would listen closely trying to figure out what it was you had to tell me. Then you blossomed and became a bit more popular, and I went along for the ride. Our relationship was comfortable, Automatic. You became quite a Monster there for a little while and we had some new adventures. But then you lost a part of you that you never seemed to get back. I tried to stay true but you revealed your inability to move on. This is the final straw. Lately I just feel like you’ve been going around and around. There’s never anything different. None of the new songs live up to the promise of their titles. With the current states of the world, I expected Around the Sun to burn, instead it just simmers. If this administration can’t inspire greatness from the three of you, we’re in more trouble than I thought. It’s a sad day when the Beastie Boys come up with better political songs.

Mike, where are your backing vocals? Ever since Up, you’ve been chained to the piano instead of the bass. I think we all know where you belong. Peter, did you lose your guitar? I think it would be best for all of us if it was turned loose in the studio. I’d dissect each song but most of them sound the same. Everything is plodding and slow. “Wanderlust” is the fastest track and that sounds like a Sonny and Cher B-side!

“I Wanted to Be Wrong, The Worst Joke Ever?” Even if it was your best song ever, never throw a softball title like that to the critics. Especially when it lives up to its name. Under no circumstances would I think “Hmmm…you know what track I’d love to listen to right now?” and come up with anything on this album.

There are mornings when I need “Country Feedback” to get me through the day or “Orange Crush” to make my drive to work better, but this album quenches no musical craving I could ever have.

Michael, your lyrics are sing-song and repetitive. Weak poetry set to any music sucks, let alone this plodding folk-lite. You all know you can do better. Do you guys want to have another Greatest Hits?

This is behavior I’d expect from other bands and I think that is why I am so disappointed. From what I hear, “I’m Gonna DJ” is storming live. So why save it for the next album but debut it live so close to this one? That alone says, you now I might be right and you are already making a move toward change. That’s a good sign.

Still, you’ve slowed down. Its not that I want you to rehash the past but it’s like you aren’t even trying and no one is standing up and saying it to your face. I hate to be the one that does it but I love you so it’s for your own good. Where is that spark you once had? That drive? It’s just a trial separation until you get things back on track them maybe we’ll try again. You may be upset at me right now, but in time you’ll see I’m right. I just wanted to get this off my chest so you didn’t walk in on me and another band. DAVE ISKRA

(originally ran in FILTER 13 Holiday '04)


Original Rating: 53%

Original Review Said: "Weak poetry set to any music sucks, let alone this plodding folk-lite."

Are We Still Listening?: Oh hell no.

Legacy: Absolute worst.

Refreshed Rating: 53%

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