Wednesday, April 9, 2008

R.E.M. finds their religion--sort of

I listened to the great Athens, GA rock band R.E.M. back in the day--well sort of, back in the day--I barely escaped being a total poser. I caught on to R.E.M. just before they hit the mainstream with their 1987 album Document. I soon caught up with their earlier work and fell in love with their sound. In my opinion, the band both peaked and started downhill with their 1991 album Out of Time, which had the truly great song "Losing My Religion" on it. Despite some notable exceptions, their next few albums lacked the unpolished mystery of their earlier work, sounding more like an established and over-produced pop band. Once their original drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997 and they signed a huge multi-million/multi-album deal with their record company, I got the feeling that they really were just phoning it in and collecting their royalties.

I may have to give their new album Accelerate a listen, however, given a recent interview they gave NPR. In it, they commented on the religious themes of the new album, along with political thoughts about war and hurricane Katrina. Although none of the remaining three original members are particularly religious, they are from the south where religion is ubiquitous. So, I'm interested to see if the band that famously lost its religion (actually "losing my religion" is a southern colloquialism for being at your wit's end) may have decided to explore the topic. The interview is worth a listen.

Grace and Peace,


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