Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

Calling Old Friends

R.E.M. isn’t normally a band which chronicles descending action (even “Fall on Me” has irresistible heights to it). But there’s a very real feel of falling in “Mr. Richards” that’s pretty neat. By far it’s the best thing on Accelerate. In the production and the writing of this one song there’s a basis for an entirely new album that breaks the mold of the entirety of REM’s career. Normally they do records which explore one of two environments. The desolate black and white landscape (Murmur, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, Around the Sun, Fables of Reconstruction, Document, Life’s Rich Pageant, Automatic for the People, Accelerate) or summer glow color explosions (Out of Time, Reckoning, Monster, Green, Reveal, Up). If they can break this mold they might find the success which has eluded them in the post-Berry years.

Meeting New Friends

The Witch Hats’ Cellulite Soul is one of the best records of the year. Everything on this album just sound like a compilation of really private moments of self-loathing cranked up to impossibly high volumes. Different instruments overtake each other in really unpredictable ways that keep surprising me after about 50 listens. “Summer of Pain” wasn’t the anthem we wanted but like the best music it’s the nightmarish stuff we deserve.

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