UP (1998)

Total Guitar - - BACK TRACK -

6

“A 3-legged dog is still a dog. It just has to learn to run dif­fer­ently,” was how Michael Stipe sum­marised REM’S re­tooled sta­tus as a trio af­ter the de­par­ture of drum­mer Bill Berry in 1997, and the re­sult­ing ex­per­i­men­tal sound might be their very own Kid A mo­ment. Woozy elec­tro-rock with nods to late-70s Sui­cide and even Krautrock give these songs a som­bre ebb and flow, from Hope’s ana­logue pulse to the bel­liger­ent, grungy solo work on The Apol­o­gist and Walk Un­afraid. This is mostly a record of qui­eter mo­ments, though, chief among them be­ing At My Most Beau­ti­ful, a charm­ing love let­ter to Pet Sounds -era Beach Boys com­plete with honey-sweet vo­cal har­monies. Atyp­i­cal and un­der­rated.

Rec­om­mended track: At My Most Beau­ti­ful

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