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Up

music reviewmusic review  out of 4

All-Reviews.com Music Review: Up

Artist: R.E.M.
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: October 1998


Review by LarryG
2½ stars out of 4

Considering the incomparably brilliant body of work they created in more than a decade between Murmur and Monster, the increasing irrelevance of R.E.M. is a little depressing. Adventures in Hi-Fi was ambitious but unfocused and not particularly accessible. Up is a simple, sometimes beautiful work but it generally lacks the energy and virtuousity of their classic works. Up is the first record without their original lineup intact. Drummer Bill Berry has retired. The advance buzz was the band would react by making an electronic album. It turns out only a couple songs rely on electronics and are largely unremarkable. The most obvious thing about the record is its subdued tone. Twice the payoffs are brilliantly beautiful, on the pristine piano and acoustic guitar based Daysleeper and on At My Most Beautiful, with its great Beach Boys style harmonies. Stipe has made a career of indecipherable lyrics but At My Most Beautiful is touchingly clear and sweet. Other times, Up just drags. The inventive guitar work of Peter Buck, which has been largely responsible for R.E.M.'s greatness, is rarely emphasized. Lotus, the only song that could be called a rocker, is Bang and Blame without the power chords, a pretentious bore.

Here's what others reviewers have to say:

1998 "...a look back and a dream forward from the greatest rock-ballad band that ever existed....Buck and Mills have orchestrated their rock as never before. Losing Berry has allowed R.E.M. to literally think outside the rock box......" Rolling Stone 11/12/98, p.113-114

Ranked #15 on Spin's list of "Top 20 Albums of '98." Spin 1/99, p.91

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