5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
REM at their very best - again,
This review is from: Up (U.S. Version) (Audio CD)
I was beginning to fear that REM would never release an album to equal the mighty Automatic for the People, but then along came this little gem to set my mind at rest. The band continued their good work with 2002's Reveal; I believe the latter sold more copies, although I'm not sure why, as "Up" is just as good. It's a complex, rewarding album that I can sit (or, more likely, lie on the sofa) and listen to over and over again and never get fed up of - one of the few albums that can hold my attention for all of its 14 tracks!
There's not a dud one among the 14 - imagine REM writing a dud song! Well, the opener, "Airportman", I could maybe live without - but from then on things just get better and better. Particular highlights, for me, include the gorgeous, haunting "Suspicion". "The Apologist" - its "I'm sorry..." refrain echoing the much earlier "So. Central Rain" - contains plenty of material for dedicated Stipe-watchers to try and analyse - as indeed does the whole album. "At My Most Beautiful" is a lovely Beach Boys-inflected tune (if you can believe it!) which is perhaps the most straightforward love song that REM - a band not, after all, known for their romantic ballads - have written. ("I save your messages/Just to hear your voice...")
"Up" is the first REM album to print the lyrics on the sleeve, which is a matter of great joy to us frustrated dissectors of Stipe's sometimes impenetrable singing (although he's improved over time!). His lyrics have become more personal and perhaps more emotionally revealing - the "I" word is used a lot more.
I love REM and I never get tired of them. This album may not be up everyone's street, but if you've ever listened to and enjoyed their music previously, I would highly recommend it - in fact, it's indispensable.
Without a doubt one of my all-time favourites and deserving of far more attention than it has received.