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Around the Sun

294 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 5, 2004
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Around the Sun + Reveal + Accelerate
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Editorial Reviews

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Having delivered their last great album with 1992's haunting Automatic For the People, R.E.M. spent more than decade attempting all kinds of reinvention, from the pointlessly noisy Monster to the painfully dull Up. But with Around the Sun it feels like the band is getting its bearings back. Not only is it the Georgia trio's most consistent album since the 1997 departure of drummer Bill Berry, but it also sees the return of the lush imagery and intricate playing of the band's vintage years. There are trains, mandolins, Man Ray skies. More importantly, it seems heartfelt. Witness the gorgeous disquietingly dark opener "Leaving New York," the rapturous folk of "I Wanted to Be Wrong" and the solidly intense "Boy In the Well." At 13 generous tracks, it's far from perfect but--just when everyone thought R.E.M. was down for the count--Around the Sun is an unexpected bruiser of a comeback. --Aidin Vaziri


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Leaving New YorkR.E.M. 4:51$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. Electron BlueR.E.M. 4:12$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. The OutsidersR.E.M. (Featuring Q-Tip) 4:13$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. Make It All OkayR.E.M. 3:43$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. Final StrawR.E.M. 4:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. I Wanted To Be WrongR.E.M. 4:34$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. WanderlustR.E.M. 3:03$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. Boy In The WellR.E.M. 5:22$1.29  Buy MP3 
  9. AftermathR.E.M. 3:52$1.29  Buy MP3 
10. High Speed TrainR.E.M. 5:03$1.29  Buy MP3 
11. The Worst Joke EverR.E.M. 3:37$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. The Ascent Of ManR.E.M. 4:07$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. Around The SunR.E.M. 4:28$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 5, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B0002W4UVG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (294 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,027 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Mike London on November 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
R.E.M.'s 13th studio album, AROUND THE SUN, will strike most listeners as a throwback to the band's sound in the early 1990s. While I've always thought OUT OF TIME was a pretty disposable record (save for a few songs), AUTOMATIC is what hooked me on R.E.M. While REVEAL, though short on melodies, sounds very much like a classicist R.E.M. album, AROUND THE SUN sounds like the band's trying to rewrite AUTOMATIC, and in every department AROUND THE SUN comes up deficient when compared to its predecessor, mostly because of its lack of emotional depth and the directionless funk R.E.M. finds themselves in the New Millennium.

While AUTOMATIC is slow and built mainly on ballads and folk songs (albeit seen through a rock context), it had an emotional core that binds the record into a cohesive whole. AUTOMATIC never shies away from the heady themes, but it is a comforting record. Much of the album is largely mid tempo with one major exception. The political dirge "Ignoreland," where Stipe kicks the music and lyrics into high gear, bashing Reagan and the Republican Party, sounds both out of place and is rather jarring. Other than that and the rather bizarre inclusion of the throwaway two minute instrumental "New Orleans," AUTOMATIC mediates mostly on death, pain, and a search for solace. It is a tremendous set of songs, and is rightly regarded as one of R.E.M.'s masterpieces. It's mellow, soul-searching music. AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE is the one fo the best realisations of the power of folk and medative music played in a rock and roll context.

AROUND THE SUN, no matter what way you slice it, sounds like a directionless mess.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gianmarco Manzione on October 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Though I warmed up to it after a few additional listens, I sympathize with complaints that this is a "dull" or monotonous record. As with REM's previous album, the songs on "Around The Sun" tend to melt into one another in a way that prevents any one song from lingering in the mind for very long. Stipe & Co. seem to hone in on a particular kind of sound and production these days that they cling to for dear life throughout the entire recording session, and this makes for work that is more challenging and subtle than, say, "Orange Crush" or "Losing My Religion." "Around The Sun" is indeed a remarkably boring first listen, but it is very kind to the patient fan, rewarding persistence with a surprising abundance of taut vocal hooks, engaging melodies and some arresting bursts of guitar from the usually reliable Mr. Buck. You've got to give this album at least a few spins before understanding it enough to pass judgement; the songs begin to stand out on their own and even Stipe's somewhat uninvolving vocals become more emotive and interesting (especially on "High Speed Train" and "Leaving New York"). At once hopeful and sincere, mature and compelling, "Around The Sun" comes across as precisely the kind of record one might expect from a post-Bill Berry REM in 2004, and that's not a bad thing.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Veritas on March 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Around the Sun has been met with mixed reviews. Either the listener is expecting something R.E.M. has done in the past or the listener is expecting to discover yet another facet of R.E.M., who has shown through the year they are anything but static. There are comprehensive reviews of the album available so I want to concentrate on why you should chose this edition over the standard CD issue, which many of you may already own.

The 5.1 sound of the re-issues has blown me away. If you are not the type of person to "experience" the music this may not be a must have. If, however, you are like me and enjoy listening to the music with the lights off and candles lit, you must experience the 5.1 sound as the subtle sounds come through adding another dimension to the album. ATS has not been out for very long and I was tempted to pass, but I do not regret the decision to purchase simply because of the clarity.

As for bonus materials, you get "LNY" and "Aftermath" videos, a very short 5 minute documentary, and live performace videos of "LNY" and "Imitation of Life."

Because "LNY" and "Aftermath" videos have not been released on DVD this adds to the incentive to pick up the CD-DVD-A.

I think this is a must buy if you do not have the CD and are looking to pick it up, even if you do not currently have 5.1 equipment.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alan Koslowski on December 25, 2004
Format: Audio CD
[2.5 stars]

On their previous album, Reveal, REM revisted the orchestral pop perfected in their early-90s apex, combining it with splashes of modern FX they expirimented with on Up. With Around the Sun, REM polishes that blueprint to an emaculately produced high-tech sheen. ATS is musically simpler (fewer elements), with mostly understated strings, which accentuates the synthetic elements.

ATS seems like an unapologetically modest album. Each track is characterized by somnolent tempos and varying degrees of pathos. ATS is book-ended by the two strongest songs (the mournful "Leaving New York", and the tentatively hopeful title track), and taken individually, most of the remaining 11 songs are fine (if unspectacular) and well-crafted. But unfortunately they all plod along at the same tempo, and most emote the same somber mood. Consequently, most individual tracks are undistinguished, and as a whole the album is homogenized; the musical equivalent of processed food. To some extent, this was a problem with Reveal, but it's even more pronounced on ATS. At least Reveal contained a few great, inspired songs; ATS is just consistently bland (emotionally, lyrically, and musically), and, as the title suggests, it just goes in circles.

Around the time Reveal was released, I started to suspect REM was only staying together to fulfill their contract (ATS is album 4 in a 5-album deal they signed in 1995). My suspicion no longer seems so cynical. ATS sounds like an album made out of a sense of obligation, not inspiration; not lazy or incompotent, but rather the work of diligent craftmen who are motivated more by necessity than enthusiasm. To some extent, a sense of ennui has infused all of their work since Bill Berry left, but REM has never sounded as automated and comfortably weary as they do on Around the Sun.
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