||Warner Bros. Records
probably won't win me many friends in Athens, GA., or anywhere else
that REM fan club members reign, but REM, for the most part, really
only makes two or three songs. Oh sure, they change the lyrics a little
now and again and they occasionally throw a different note into the
melody, but mostly their songs are either "Losing My Religion"-esque or
along the lines of "Everybody Hurts." Not that they are the only band
with this 'singular sound' kind of virus. From U2 to A Tribe Called
Quest to Depeche Mode, the list is really quite endless. In the end,
mostly it depends on whether or not you like the one or two songs this
kind of band does.
In my case, the answer is that I like one of the two, and--as far as
'Up' goes--that's good enough. Why? Because almost all of this album is
down tempo, melancholy, and under-produced. It is also recorded and
mixed well. In my book, that's good enough to get a recommendation.
Just be warned that as good as this album is, it's not driven by that
hot, pop single. It certainly seems a less commercial album than what
REM's produced in the past. This, too, is another reason 'Up' might
just be better than you think.