Accelerate by R.E.M.

R.E.M. is back and rockin'! After the mediocre album Around the Sun, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills return in full force with volume, energy, and an album that is incredible: Accelerate.

The opening guitar riff of "Living Well is the Best Revenge" lets us know that we're in for a treat; and when Michael Stipe's singing joins in, everything comes together. The band remains political -- especially on "Until the Day is Done" -- but they cover a wide variety of topics, from teen angst ("Supernatural Superserious") to homesickness and nostalgia ("Houston") to just wanting to party ("I'm Gonna DJ"). They only slow down on "Houston" and "Sing for the Submarine"; the rest of the album comes at you like a rocket.

Accelerate doesn't replace Automatic for the People as my favorite R.E.M. album, but it is a thoroughly impressive, extremely consistent album. Pick it up and crank it up!

Overall grade: A

Reviewed by James Lynch

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