Nest best over £12. In the wake of the raging, guitar-fueled MONSTER, R.E.M. has made an album dominated by disconsolate ballads and acoustic instrumentation. NEW ADVENTURES has a stately, elegiac feel. It's punctuated by a few all-out rockers, but the overall mood is dusky and introspective. Michael Stipe's stream-of-consciousness imagery has developed into an incisive, poetic style of great power and resonance, from the religious overtones of "Undertow" (which reveals a Can influence) to the breathless travelogue of "Departure".
The opener, "How the West Was Won And Where It Got Us", sets a dark tone, with an eerie organ backdrop and a mournful piano providing a staccato riff. Punk goddess Patti Smith guests on "E-Bow the Letter", a wordy ramble that finds Stipe questioning, and ultimately denigrating, "this fame thing". A similar theme is explored on "The Wake-Up Bomb", a MONSTERish raveup that attacks celebrity star trips.
NEW ADVENTURES is loaded with musical surprises, including a zippy synthesizer that sparks "Leave", a campy instrumental called "Zither" and various discordant touches throughout. Lyrically and musically, R.E.M. stands its ground throughout, remaining as fresh and innovative as ever.
How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us
Wake Up Bomb
New Test Leper
E Bow The LEtter
Binky The Doormat
So Fast So Numb