Special Announcement: Accelerate “Premature Evaluation”

February 11, 2008

My “premature evaluation” of the new album Accelerate is up on Stereogum. Please go check it out, but I suppose I should give you fair warning: There are some spoilers, so if you want to go into the record without knowing its twists and turns, you may want to skip the second half.

It’s a terrific album, and I’m really glad that the guys at Stereogum were kind enough to not only hook me up with the record, but to provide me with such a great forum for my early impressions. That said, it’s very unlikely that I’ll be writing about the new songs here in the foreseeable future — I feel that one of the strengths of this project comes from the fact that I’ve lived with all of these songs for a long time, and though I’m very enthusiastic about the new material right now, I don’t think it’s fair to rush into writing about them here. Give it a year, maybe. In the meantime, I’ll be entering the home stretch with the original plan in mind.

29 Responses to “Special Announcement: Accelerate “Premature Evaluation””

  1. Ben Says:

    I absolutely CANNOT wait for this record. I haven’t been this pumped for a new album since Radiohead’s Kid A, and the last R.E.M. album that had me this excited was Monster (I was 13, and I’d just discovered the band). And all these advance rave reviews aren’t making the wait any easier…

  2. jim jos Says:

    “If anything, they sound pissed-off and eager to brawl.”

    what a great one sentence summary! And it is great news. Everybody gets knocked to the canvas, but you can tell a lot about someone by the way the get back up, R.E.M. rebounding from what most will see as a ten year slump, shows heart that very, very few bands have ever had.
    I did read the review and it does make me very hopeful, as I have come to respect your insights into R.E.M.s music, and the fact that you seem to be giving it a pretty good thumbs up means a lot.

    Nice to see that you like DJ, that seems to polarize a lot of people.

    I am waiting for official release date to hear the whole thing, but I have this feeling now that that this album is kind of like NAIHF’s shorter, scrappier, little cousin.

    thanks for posting the mini review, not reviewing the album along with the rest of the canon makes sense, the mini review works very well.


  3. I wasn’t really sold on “I’m Gonna DJ” before, but it came out great in the studio, and totally works in context.

  4. Mr Cup Says:

    I have to say that I’m not a fan of DJ after hearing it live and figured they’ve had 4 years to kill it or make it killer – so here’s hoping!

    There was a download of Supernatural online and stupidly I got it. It is so insanely catchy that I have to tether myself away from the play button. Something so immediately good tends to lose its flavour pretty quick with me.

    All up it sounds promising.

    ‘pissed-off and eager to brawl’.
    Hell Yeah!

  5. Meriste Says:

    Yes, it makes sense not to review these new songs until later. But still, your preview thrills me a lot! I can’t wait for 0401!😄

  6. Brian Says:

    Very nice write up at Stereogum, Matthew. The only downside is that I’m even more impatient for the leak/release!

    Thanks for the watermark info too – now I know to stop holding my breath.

  7. Kirsten Says:

    Great write-up Matthew, made me more impatient as well! At first I felt a little disappointed that the album was so short – just over half an hour? Even with the last couple of albums maybe being too long, have they perhaps gone to the other extreme? However, half of the songs on Reckoning are really short and they seem to work (although they can leave me begging for more). Sounds like the new album is going to be a big hit with fans – I can’t wait!

    Thanks for the peek insight Matthew!

  8. Mr Cup Says:

    Can anyone access

    supernaturalsuperserious.com

    ?

    It’s on the end of the SNSS clip.

  9. Huub Says:

    Thank you Matthew. I was already wondering if you would do all the new songs in this exhausting project. This is a great way to not do it, and write about them all along.

    Really looking forward to the songs. In your description “until the day is done” seems to be the weakest song, remembering the Dublin-rehearsels that isn’t a very weak weakest.

    1,5 month to go… Please be merciful upon us and let someone leak it..

  10. maclure Says:

    I’m desperate for a leak too (and I’m not referring to needing the toilet, either). I threw in the towel ages ago on trying to do this record the “proper” way by listening to it all in one go fresh from the shop on day of release. I’m enjoying the snippets on 90 nights, the new single and anything I can get my hands on… including a nice little write up from MP, thank you very much. I’m a sucker for this internet “slow reveal” stuff. Bring on April fools!

    Am deeply gutted that REM are playing the Royal Albert Hall in March and I can’t go cos I live 5000 miles away and can’t just take a week off work.

    Changing gear did anyone pay attention to the grammys? I was staggered Amy Winehouse did so well. I didn’t know she had broken the US market. I knew her as a kid – she lived 5 doors down from me in north London. Her brother and I were in the same football team and I’m still in touch with him… let’s hope she doesn’t say “no no no” to rehab.

  11. maclure Says:

    ps. Matthew – from your listening of the record, do you think it made sense them leaving off “middle distance”? It came across well live last summer, I’m not sure why it got relegated.

  12. Rob Says:

    Great write up Matthew. I managed to make it to two of the Dublin shows last summer, and was really excited about the new songs then. It’s a shame that Staring Down The Barrel Of The Middle Distance hasn’t made the cut, hopefully they’ll release it in some form at some point soon.


  13. I am actually pretty mystified by them cutting out “…Middle Distance.” I think it would’ve been great on the album, and if it were up to me, I would’ve traded it for “Sing For The Submarine.”

  14. Kirsten Says:

    I can’t see why they couldn’t have just added it and made it a 12-song album. The album is so short anyway.

  15. Macphisto Says:

    I agree with the above mentioned about “Middle Distance.” They should have put it on the album. I put together my own personal bootleg from the Dublin shows and “Middle Distance” is perfect for the album. They should have left off “DJ” or the Anderson Copper nut song: “Until the day…” They do have a history of omitting great finished songs off albums. I guess we will see it on a b-side, perhaps a Dead Letter Office part II? Maybe it will be this decade’s “Revolution.” Great song without a home! I’ll shut up now.


  16. I think the brevity is kinda the point here — it’s a show of discipline. It’s two 17 minute sides, no padding. When they stretch out on the record, they make it count, but the best stuff is all super-concentrated.


  17. Guys, I totally promise you that “I’m Gonna DJ” is one of the best things on the record. I didn’t see that coming going into the record, but trust me on this. It’s a rock solid song, and it totally works as the finale.

  18. Mr Cup Says:

    I trust you MP. I’m a little nervous but I trust you.

    Would it be the REM way to throw a curve-ball with the final track listing? Just pondering for my own amusement really.

  19. Macphisto Says:

    I did not see it from a disciplinary point of view…good point. Just selfish. Any chance of a hidden track?


  20. No, the version I have is totally legit, it’s from Warner Bros. “Middle Distance” and “On The Fly” may turn up as digital bonus tracks or b-sides, but they do not appear on the proper album.

  21. Kirsten Says:

    I think I may be on my own on this one, but I really loved I’m Gonna DJ on the Around The Sun Tour. Showed they could still rock out. >>Also absolutely loved Animal. That song never got the recognition it deserved. It should be on a proper album.

  22. Ethan Kaplan Says:

    Matt: the review I want to write but can’t🙂 Re: middle distance – I think that to me, when I heard the Dublin demos, it ended up making the record too samey in terms of Living Wells and that song. Similar tempo, theme, etc. Its a fantastic song, but I think it almost got overworked too. I hope it appears somewhere soon.

    Submarine is my favorite song on the record actually. It was described as “prog rock.”

    And DJ does work, and makes you reach out and press Play again.

  23. mrDJ Says:

    This sounds great…i have loved DJ since the Around the sun tour and are looking forward to hearing the studio version.

  24. Paul Alferink Says:

    I don’t even think that Middle Distance appears as the bonus tracks on the Special edition version. That version has two “B-Sides” included. I wish I remembered the titles, but, alack and alas, that info is blocked at work.

  25. protimoi Says:

    Paul:

    The titles were “Red Head Walking” and “Airliner.” The former may be a cover of the Beat Happening song, I’m not sure.

  26. ScottMalobisky Says:

    the major/minor chord change in SNSS is at the 1:51 mark

  27. Figgy Says:

    I’m really looking forward to hearing the new album but also very excited about catching REM on their upcoming tour. Even if they play every song off the new record (which hopefully will be great material) there’ll still be a whole hour or more of the set that can be dedicated to the best of their old stuff.

    I’ll be on holidays in Europe this coming June and July – I’ve already got my eye on one or two dates (just in case they don’t make it to New Zealand this time round).

  28. Aaron Says:

    I work part-time in a record store and we were excited to get a promo copy of “Accelerate” this weekend. Listened to it twice on Saturday.

    As a life-long- fan who’s been disappointed by the last two records, I’m happy to say that I absoutley LOVE the new record. The whole record crackles with vigor, the production is spot-on, and Michael’s voice sounds the best it has in ages. It’s a lean and muscular records that is very aware and embracing of it’s own imperfections, and it suits them so well.

    Saturday was a great day.

  29. profligateprofiterole Says:

    very much enjoyed reading “premature evaluation” this morning , timed it to coincide with just a few days before the new record is released, now I’m more excited than ever , maybe this record will give me a good kick in the ass, snap me out of my listless-dulleyed-uninspired-lethargic-doldrums, my lassitude of torpor inside these interminably bereft glib shards of retardaton that just won’t undulate corectly.


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