1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
UP is still my favourite, but this one's a beauty too,
This review is from: Reveal (Audio CD)
And it did grow on me. First time I heard it, I was a bit letdown, I too thought it was overrated (and blame hype-addicted reviewers for that... so you might want to skip this too, though at least I'm not getting paid for it, eh). It sounded too simple, too pop, too 'sunny' - then you listen to the songs again and they have a touching melancholy that's still genuinely REM, although not as splendidly subtle as on UP (and I have to agree with JWilliams on this - it is a wonderful album, it may not be as jangly-happy-cheerful but the arrangements, vocals, lyrics, everything's just perfect). I've come to enjoy Reveal in itself, without making comparisons - it's hard to forget that REM are so brilliant if you keep putting their "best" songs against each other, you lose sight of the fact they're probably the only band at their level of popularity that has maintained their own style with a honesty and passion that is not frequently retained among superstars (U2 have definitely not managed). The Lifting is a stunning opening, I've Been High is indeed one of the songs where Stipe's voice becomes pure poetry (and excusez-moi for being so ecstatic, but I'm listening to it right now!), All the Way to Reno, She Just Wants to Be, and I'll Take the Rain - these are my favourites, they all seem to touch the same themes, same chords. Choices of life, the laws of chance, change, daring, delusion, beliefs... the lyrics and songs are less direct or poignant than the haiku-like near-perfection of Suspicion, At My Most Beautiful, The Apologist and Walk Unafraid, just to name a few of thos e gems on the previous album, they're a bit more pastel-colored, toned down, smoother... but not meaningless, or banal. I was frustrated with a sort of 'lack of impact' at first listen, nearly getting bored, but one year later, it sounds like I missed out all the splendid melodies and images, the sadness and light in these songs. It's a more coherent album, somehow it flows more easily - even more than Automatic, which has wonderful songs minus a couple I always have to skip because they seem to break up the mood. The mood here may be a bit too monochromatic by comparison, but more compact. I guess that's what called maturity or something like that, for musicians. I can hardly believe these guys have been around so long... and yes, they do, they do have every right in the world to keep making music so beautiful.