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JulyDiaz

Accelerate with Dave Holmes

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TV personality, writer and co-host of Homophilia, Dave Holmes joins Adam Scott Aukerman as they discuss R.E.M.’s fourteenth studio album, Accelerate. Dave talks about how he got involved with MTV’s first Wanna Be a VJ contest, interviewing Michael Stipe, and his Top 10 R.E.M. songs. Plus, the Scotts open up the ol’ mailbag and debut an episode of “I’m Sorry.”

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The songs on this album are great. I agree with Adam on almost all of them.  However, sonically it’s a bad recording - harsh, compressed, fatiguing and so I don’t listen to it as much as it deserves.  By contrast, the rock songs on new adventures are just a much easier listen.  

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Also, the top ten lists are all wrong. Here are the best tracks on each record:

Chronic Town:  1,000,000

Murmur: Laughing

Reckoning:  Harborcoat / Letter Never Sent (tie)

Fables: Kohoutek

Pageant: These Days

Document: Welcome to the Occupation

Green: You are the Everything

Out of Time: Me in Honey

Automatic: Try Not Breathe

Monster:  Kenneth

New Adventures: New Test Leper / E-Bow / So Fast Numb / Electrolite (4-way tie)

Up: Hope

Reveal: Imitation of Life

Around the Sun: Aftermath

Accelerate: Supernatural Superserious

Collapse:  That Someone is You

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I sort of agree with Scott on this one. I dig Accelerate, mostly in part because there are 4-5 tracks I love. “Hollow Man” in particular was one I immediately and still listen to. Quick rock songs was a good decision for them to focus on though, even if I think their best skill is being more creative and slightly odd. Listening to Accelerate today was a lot of fun though! And for that, it’s still a worthwhile addition to the catalog.

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Read this recently... interesting that Stipe chose later cuts... likely he wanted to bring attention to songs from less-loved albums.

“We always wanted to make a rock record. I’m not sure we ever quite achieved that,” Stipe says. “Accelerate is a bit brittle, to my ear, but in an exciting way.” Supernatural Superserious is about personal transformation, and both the freedom and pain that comes with it. He says it’s one of his favourite REM songs – “I loved the character, I loved the narrative, I loved how fucking twisted it is” – but the album as a whole did something REM had never done before, namely respond to how the world was perceiving them. “It was a reaction to Around the Sun. I never wanted to react, but there it is, you wind up reacting.”

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jan/18/michael-stipe-rem-not-good-rock-star-but-pretty-good-pop-star

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As a long-time R.E.M. fan who stayed with them until the very end, I love Accelerate. I love that they finally sounded and felt engaged again with the songs, that the tracks were not overproduced, and that both the songs and the entire album had some momentum.

Up, Reveal and ATS were each a slog for me. Some amazing songs were on each of them, but each album as a whole felt too long with too many slow or mid-tempo songs.

Living Well and Man-Sized Wreath are blistering openers - I really think Living Well should have been the lead single. I love the build and lyrics of Hollow Man. Houston is a fantastic reaction to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Horse to Water had exactly the right amount of vitriol to propel me past a shitty layoff that happened the same month the album was released.

Coming at the tail end of the Bush administration, the album was what I had wanted from their 2004 release in terms of anger, calling out and speaking truth to power - the way I remembered Document, some tracks on Green and Ignoreland. While it was late, I was grateful for the energy and tone of this album.

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On 8/3/2018 at 3:27 PM, Balkan72 said:

I fixed your list... no worries.. no need to thank me...

Also, the top ten lists are all wrong. Here are the best tracks on each record:

Chronic Town:  1,000,000 Gardening at Night

Murmur: Laughing Sitting Still / Perfect Circle

Reckoning:  Harborcoat / Letter Never Sent (tie)

Fables: Kohoutek Feeling Gravity's Pull

Pageant: These Days Fall On Me

Document: Welcome to the Occupation Disturbance at the Heron House

Green: You are the Everything

Out of Time: Me in Honey Country Feedback or Half A World Away

Automatic: Try Not Breathe

Monster:  Kenneth Pfft... please... I Don't Sleep, I Dream / Circus Envy

New Adventures: New Test Leper / E-Bow / So Fast Numb / Electrolite (4-way tie)

Up: Hope Sad Professor / Walk Unafraid

Reveal: Imitation of Life Chorus and the Ring

Around the Sun: Aftermath Boy in the Well

Accelerate: Supernatural Superserious Man-Sized Wreath / Hollow Man

Collapse:  That Someone is You All the Best / Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I.

 

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On 8/6/2018 at 6:09 PM, Of The North said:

 

Your revisions are unquotable unfortunately, but don't worry about it.  Here's my commentary free of charge.

 

Gardening at Night  - solid, maybe I've heard it way too many times but has never quite done it for me as much as for some people.

Sitting Still - acceptable alternative, but Laughing just as good and less played.  Perfect Circle amazing but not at same level.  Nothing wrong with any song on Murmur.

Feeling Gravity's Pull - acceptable alternative (and way devalued by the podcast)

Fall on Me - maybe but I've heard it too many times, can't listen to it with fresh ears any more

Heron House - solid, but never one of my favs

E-Bow - you may be right

Country Feedback / Half a World Away - correction accepted

Don't Sleep / Circus Envy - acceptable alternatives

Sad Professor / Walk Unafraid -  I actively dislike both of those, along with most of the record.  Walk Unafraid is especially grating and maudlin.

Chorus and The Ring - I used to agree but for me it hasn't stood the test of time.  After not loving Up I was initially very psyched by Reveal as a return to form, but it wasn't.

Boy in the Well - I guess it's ok, but Aftermath is the only track on the record I ever choose to listen to, and even then not so much.  

Man Sized Wreath - Disqualified by annoying "dance floor" line

Hollow Man - first half of chorus is super catchy, but not enough there over all.

Marlon Brando - acceptable alternative, I almost chose that one.

All the Best - very good but marred but just ok lyrics - "show the kids" line is annoying.  I feel like even as REM came back strong in the last two albums, the lyrics were only sometimes up to par.  E.g., Discoverer almost a great song, but I dislike the "finesse / mess" part.

 

 

 

 

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