Any time REM announces a new album I'm filled with exalted expectations and inflated hopes. This will be another Fables, another Reckoning, a masterpiece. Then I'm hit with the panicked thoughts, what if it's another Around the Sun? Finally, reality sets in and it's okay, fine, but nothing memorable. How many "okay, fine" albums am I willing to listen to before I have to put my love of REM in the past tense?
It was with these conflicting thoughts that I approached the first releases of songs from their upcoming 15th album Collapse into Now. I've posted and reviewed some of the songs as they came in and was either greatly disappointed or unimpressed. But finally there is a song that makes me smile. That reminds me what it feels like when Michael Stipe's voice can burrow into my heart and Peter Buck's guitar can make me feel all dreamy and floating.
Uberlin was an unfortunate title (complete with umlauts!) for a song that is giving me hope.
The lilting melody is back. Stipe is singing from his heart again. It's warm and enveloping, like a hug from an old friend. I'm happy.
So I'll do my best not to think about this song, the first single off the album:
It's not horrible. But I expect much more from REM than not horrible.