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Rem - Reveal - Cd
Following the creative disarray of Up, caused by the surprise departure of drummer, Bill Berry, REM finally started to come to terms with their status as a three-piece. Compared to its predecessor their twelfth album is a happier, sunnier document, still entranced with electronica but not afraid to return to the gentle acoustic period of Out Of Time as well.
The band obviously realised that while Up sold in good enough quantities, they were in danger of alienating their massive fanbase. While Monster had attempted to return them to the full-on rock of their more lucrative period, this time it wasn't Peter Buck who saved the day but Michael Stipe. His vocals are clear and concise, showing no debt to the muddy, blurred outpourings that had in turns added to their early mystique and frustrated anyone trying to find deeper meaning. Put simply, Reveal is full of love songs.
The biggest hit here, Imitation Of Life, successfully recreates the rush of Losing My religion; sounding utterly joyous and in love with life. Beat A drum even sees our man Stipe singing of a sexual encounter that leaves him reeling. No wonder he sounds happier... And who could resist the Gl;en Campbell-alike baritone twang of All The Way To Reno? Even Bucks and Mills' Beach Boys obsession gets another (successful) airing on Beachball. It's all like a nice warm cup of tea poured into your ears.
Overall the expanded cast of Joey Waronker on drums, as well as the Posies' Ken Stringfellow and the Young Fresh Fellows' Scott McCaughey on keyboards never clogs up the surroundings. If the band's earliest recordings always suffered from underproduction, and albums like Up and New Adventures In Hi Fi sounded too calculated and pristine to make you care, Reveal has a warmth that comes from finally being able to use all the shiny happy toys that modern technology had to offer. we could all breath a sigh of relief... --Chris Jones
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Top Customer Reviews
With the exception of Reno and The Lifting, the album so far is quite bleak, but the mood changes on Beat A Drum, a summery, folkish tune. Imitation Of Life, Summer Turns To High and Chorus And The Ring follow, all more uptempo, and with the occasional Beach Boys influene thrown in. In my opinion, this is the weaker part of the album, but is still highly listenable.
The penultimate track is easily the highest moment of Reveal. The gorgeously sad ballad, I'll Take The Rain, rivals such REM classics as Losing My Religion, Everbody Hurts and The One I Love, with its anthemic chorus. Michael Stipe's voice sounds its fullest and richest on this track, complementing the soaring strings - pure REM class. While I'll Take The Rain would have made the perfect closer, the band opted for Beachball, a summery track, complete with horns. A happy end to a balanced and very good album. I'll be checking out the back catalogue very soon indeed.
What Stipe seems to do is invoke a feeling in you that makes you think every song is delivered to you. Three REM songs stand out like this, 'Tongue' on Monster, 'Walk Unafraid' on Up, and 'I'll take the Rain' on this one. REM are unstoppable in their ability - to get through crisis after crisis and still make music this beautiful, 20 years after 'Murmur'.
In one word - outstanding.
Also featuring on the album is the brilliant yet catchy 'Imitation of Life', the true to life 'She Just Wants To Be' and 'Disappear', and the sombre yet defiant 'I'll Take the Rain'.
Although a slightly unorthodox sound for the band (as they seem to be exploring just about every type of instrument, synth and sound effect possible), still one of the most moving and unique REM albums available. Words simply cannot do it justice.
For me that's a pretty strange comment to make when it comes to REM, considering I rate them as one of the consistently great bands of the last few years, but this album just doesn't have the usual brilliance REM seem to conjure up to merit its inclusion amongst the "classic" REM records.
After "Up" (which for reasons I still can't understand, wasn't received particularly well - I thought it was fantastic) talk of this album being a "great return to form" really wetted the my appetite. "Finally!" the press seemed to cry, "REM are writing proper tunes again!". Well, sorry - I just don't think that's the case, far too much of this album is non descript. To be fair, the songs aren't actually bad in anyway -but what is far, far worse than that (and the most frustrating thing of all) is just how unexpectedly average most of the songs are. Only "She Just Wants To Be" really sticks out to me as a classic REM tune, whereas the more pedestrian "All The Way To Reno" and "I'll Take The Rain" sound more like your average B-side.
What immediately sticks out is that despite Michael putting across simply some of the best lyrics of his career (personal favourite being the 'Chet Baker and chess' bit), it's the absense of Mike Mills that really puts this album down. For some reason his harmonies are completely non-exsistent, and they have always been a vital part of the band. To make matters worse he's opted to put the bass guitar down in favour of keyboards for most of the time - an instrument that I think really plagues this album and robs it of the kick it so desperately needs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Replacing all my old tapes to CD, I love REM and these CDs will keep me happy for ages, not listened to these for many years. I now have a complete collection once again.Published 5 months ago by David M Hales
Two deep scratches on cd. Un playable. Was able to rip about 5 tracks... Consigned to the bin!!!Published 17 months ago by M4rc0_P0l0
The disc was jumping all over and skipping on inspection found to be dirty not how a new item should bePublished 21 months ago by Mr. C. Motherwell