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Reveal

R.E.M.

Release Date: 05.15.01
Record label: warner bros.
Genre(s): Rock

80 Music-Critic Score
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Charades Pop Skill
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent


If you stack up all the previous REM albums you’ll find that, unlike the monotony of many bands, they will gloriously reflect the fads and phases that they have gone through over their three decade history. From the garage beginnings of Murmur through to the homesickness of Fables of the Reconstruction, the hit factories of Out of Time and Automatic For The People, the punk era of Monster and the experimentation of Up after drummer Bill Berry left the band.


There has yet to be an REM album that has flopped, and Reveal is no exception. The theme of the new CD shows a definite return to the melodic days of Automatic For The People, and like its predecessor it will spawn a string of hit singles, starting with the catchy but shallow "Imitation of Life." Much better bets for the future are the groovy retro feel of "All The Way To Reno" (You’re Gonna Be A Star) and the haunting chorus of "She Just Wants To Be".


Although it can’t touch Automatic, a CD which is an easy contender for the best album of all time, Reveal is leaning towards that more gentle, less in-your-face song that is easier to sing along to. If Monster and New Adventures in Hi-Fi was REM at the coal face, this is REM on the shores of Loch Lomond, and delightful it is too.


While lyrics written as Michael Stipe showed tendencies to take off around the world on word-hunting trips, there is a high altitude feel to Reveal as well. Even so, Stipe seems less at home grappling with the high notes of "Saturn Return" and it would have been nice to hear more harmonies from Mike Mills, maybe a track with guitars blazing, but we musn’t complain. REM albums are something that can be relied upon to deliver quality music, and the longer we are able to keep stacking them up the better. May they reach the ceiling!