February 17, 2008
In the context of Around The Sun, an album overflowing with somewhat plodding mid-tempo numbers, the cute, jaunty “Wanderlust” may as well be a full-on rocker. It’s a perky, light-hearted tune, and its presence smack dab in the middle of the running order is crucial to providing the record with a sense of emotional and musical dynamic. That said, “Wanderlust” may be amiable, but it’s not especially memorable in terms of its structure and arrangement — though one can make the argument that it’s like a distant cousin of “We Walk” from Murmur, it mostly just sounds like something John Brion might toss off in an afternoon. Almost all of the song’s charm comes from Michael Stipe’s vocal performance, which hits upon a peculiar, manic cheeriness when the song hits its emotional peak: “I want to kiss the astronauts when they salute to me! Me! Me! Me!” It’s an inspired moment, and it elevates the song from being merely likable to something quite adorable.