Latest R.E.M. 180g 1LP Reissues From Craft Recordings Focus on Two Somewhat Underappreciated But Quite Spin-Worthy 21st Century Albums, 2001’s Classic-Tinged Reveal and 2008’s Punk-Leaning Accelerate

R.E.M. was a powerhouse in the 1980s and ’90s, but after drummer Bill Berry retired due to health considerations not long after September 1996’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi, many folks I knew back in the day seemed to hit the pause button on their level of interest in the group. Despite significant bona-fide hits and strong concert sellouts, there was an odd buzz in some circles that things were more or less over for R.E.M. at the time.

Well, I for one was not swayed by peer perspectives. and am glad that those dark-vibers were hella wrong! But, seriously, as a fan of R.E.M. pretty much from the get-go — upon first hearing April 1983’s Murmur via a college roommate’s cassette! — I rejoiced that the band rallied and came back after Berry’s unexpected early retirement. I don’t take lightly the challenge of losing a drummer like Bill Berry — who, in this group, was equivalent to Ringo Starr in The Beatles in terms of importance towards their overall sound and feel. That the remaining three R.E.M. bandmembers — vocalist/lyricist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, and bassist Mike Mills — returned with such a bold and hauntingly innovative album like October 1998’s Up took much strength, for sure.

May 2001’s Reveal — the first of our two LP reissue review subjects here — took matters further by recasting the group’s classic early sound for the new millennium. From R.E.M.’s official press release, we learn the consumer response to Reveal was overall very strong around the world: “Among the highlights is the pop-forward single ‘Imitation of Life.’ which earned the group a GRAMMY® nomination and was a Top 10 hit in the UK, Canada, and multiple European countries.”

Looking back upon the tragic post-9/11 universe, it seemed that most everything released in 2001 was inevitably (justifiably, arguably) pushed aside from memory. Fortunately, time heals, and now is a quite ripe moment to explore the new Craft Recordings 180g 1LP reissue of Reveal along with its concurrently released 180g 1LP companion, March 2008’s Accelerate.


Before we go deeper, let’s look at some of the key specs for the latest entries in this series. As we learned with the prior two R.E.M. reissue editions we recently reviewed — the 180g 2LP set for October 2004’s Around the Sun and the 180g 1LP set for March 2011’s Collapse Into Now, a combo review you can read right here — Craft Recordings confirmed directly with AP that these new reissues have been cut from digital sources by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, and were pressed on 180g vinyl at Memphis Records Pressing. This process makes sense, as many, if not most, artists were recording digitally in some form or another by the 2000s — an inevitability that hardcore analog purists must face as many 21st century album favorites transition to being made available anew on vinyl.

Gray had his work cut out for him on at least one of these two R.E.M. re-releases — and I think he did an exemplary job, all things considered. I can turn up the volume while playing either of these new LPs without experiencing off-putting, crunchy-sounding harshness — which is saying something in particular for the raw, rocking Accelerate, an album we’ll get further into in a moment.

In general, I’m very pleased with these new editions as the vinyl is thick, dark, generally quiet, and well-centered. Both albums come housed in protective, audiophile-grade plastic-lined paper sleeves, and they each contain a separate, two-sided sheet comprised of lyrics and album credits. The SRPs for and Accelerate are $29.99 apiece.

The album graphics on both of these releases benefit greatly from the larger format versus the original, scaled-back CDs. (True, the band’s label at the time, Warner Bros. released both albums on vinyl back in the day, but many of us went with the CD route instead.) This is especially true on Reveal, which — no pun intended — reveals an interesting image that was all but lost on the original 5-inch CD packaging: a flock of geese lined up across a field. (Perhaps it was a clue the band was literally getting its ducks in a row. . .)


Working chronologically for this review, I find May 2001’s Reveal to be quite a lovely listen on vinyl, recapturing some of that early R.E.M. flavor while steadily reinventing the band’s core into a new sort of trio backed by support musicians.

The big hits are the anchors here, which have only grown in stature: “All the Way From Reno (You’re Gonna Be a Star)” (Track 3, Chorus Side), “I’ll Take the Rain” (Track 5, Ring Side), and my favorite, “Imitation of Life” (Track 2, Ring Side). I like how the band peppered the strongest songs throughout the record rather than front-loading the hits. Indeed, part of Reveal’s charm comes from listening to the whole album in sequence, from start to finish (what a concept, right!?).


One curious detail that I never fully noticed before emerged as I was revisiting Reveal: “Imitation of Life” has a decidedly different sonic texture that jumps out at me a bit more now. I am guessing that track had been crafted for radio play, so it has a somewhat unique sonic palette compared to the rest of the album, mastering-wise. But, overall, I really enjoy Reveal, and have found its translation to modern-day vinyl very appealing. It just works.


March 2008’s Accelerate is next up in this combo review. It came and went like a blur for me at the time of its release, as I was in the midst of some major life upheavals back then. I knowI bought the CD when it came out, but I admit that it slipped away quickly. So, diving into this Accelerate LP review all these years later, I have quite literal fresh ears that in turn enable me to enjoy and discover this very upbeat and hard-rocking R.E.M. record as if it was a brand-new release. Frankly, at times, Accelerate sounds more like The Stooges, The Dead Boys, The Patti Smith Group, and many others from the punk/new-wave era than the sweet power-pop jangle of early R.E.M. — and that is not a bad thing at all, in my book.

Many of the songs are “growers” (if you will), and you really do need to play them a bunch of times because these are loud-and-fast rockers with buzzsaw tendencies. Some of my favorites here are “Supernatural Superserious” (*Track 3, Side One) with its “Sweet Jane”-like hook-riff, and the darkly haunting, slow-burning waltz-time tango “Sing for the Submarine” (Track 3, Side Two) followed by the butt-kicking “Horse for Water” (Track 4, Side Two), and wrapping up with possibly my favorite “new” R.E.M. song ever, “I’m Gonna DJ” (Track 5, Side Two), I think the whole of Side Two ends Accelerate on quite an adrenaline rush.

In fact, “I’m Gonna DJ” even has some timely lyrics for us vinyl-spinning R.E.M. fans:

Death is pretty final
I’m collecting vinyl
I’m gonna DJ at the end of the world
’Cause if heaven does exist
With a kickin’ playlist
I don’t wanna miss it at the end of the world

Accelerate was co-produced by the band and Jacknife Lee, and its mix has a decidedly different flavor from other R.E.M. records. The band apparently rehearsed this material live (as captured on October 2009’s Live at The Olympia), and they recorded the songs in a variety of studios in live takes. There is a sludgy sonority to this music that I understand — hey hey, this is a punk record, not Jazz at the Pawnshop, after all! — but ultimately don’t love completely, at least not from an audiophile perspective.


I’ll put it this way — you could probably make a playlist of Accelerate tracks side by side with tracks from Guided By Voices (one of my favorite bands, indie or otherwise!) and Hüsker Dü, and they would all play really nicely together — and that is indeed a great thing for those of you who are about ready to rock. But for the more purist audiophiles amongst us seeking the air of early R.E.M. productions, Accelerate may not be your cuppa tea. There is some breathing space along the way as the band breaks out the acoustic guitars on “Until the Day Is Done” (Track 1, Side Two). But, generally, Accelerate is more about loud snarling guitars, aggressive vocals, and driving power-popped punk-fueled rhythms. It’s one of those things we can’t change about this album, so you either like that sort of buzzsaw texture — or you don’t!

Amidst all this sonic sturm und drang, I was amazed that I did detect one little audio anomaly on the aforementioned “Sing for the Submarine.” The probable “non-fill” sound was very short-lived, and given it happened during a very loud passage, I’m not going to sweat it. But I did want to give you a heads up about that moment, just in case you happen upon something similar on your own new Accelerate LP.

Of these two latter-period R.E.M. albums, I think Reveal sounds the best on vinyl. Accelerate is indeed good, but it’s definitely got more of a 21st century digital-production sensibility about it. It’s not bad, per se, but it does take some getting used to. Sonic considerations aside, both of these R.E.M. albums rock, which isn’t such a bad thing at the end of the day — so if that aspect of their music appeals to you, then by all means, pick these two new reissue LPs up.

(Mark Smotroff is an avid vinyl collector who has also worked in marketing communications for decades. He has reviewed music for, among others, and you can see more of his impressive C.V. at LinkedIn.)



180g 1LP (Craft Recordings)


Chorus Side (Side 1)
1. The Lifting
2. I’ve Been High
3. All The Way To Reno (You’re Gonna Be A Star)
4. She Just Wants To Be
5. Disappear
6. Saturn Return

Ring Side (Side 2)
1. Beat A Drum
2. Imitation Of Life
3. Summer Turns to High
4. Chorus And The Ring
5. I’ll Take The Rain
6. Beachball

Music Direct Buy It Now



180g 1LP (Craft Recordings)


Side One
1. Living Well Is The Best Revenge
2. Man-Sized Wreath
3. Supernatural Superserious
4. Hollow Man
5. Houston
6. Accelerate

Side Two
1. Until The Day Is Done
2. Mr. Richards
3. Sing For The Submarine
4. Horse To Water
5. I’m Gonna DJ

Music Direct Buy It Now


Tom L's picture

of all the late R.E.M. albums because it rocks more than the others, but it's not very "punk". The band was too accomplished by that point to lump in with the Dead Boys et al.

Mike Mettler's picture
To me, Accelerate is the not-so-distant sneering cousin to the harder edge R.E.M. proffered on much of September 1994's Monster. I'm willing to accept the punk band parallels Mark mentions in his review regardless of Accelerate's veteran artists' studio polish per se, since the overall aesthetic remains true.
Tom L's picture

as long as we remember that parallels are lines that never cross...

Mike Mettler's picture
Excellent point, Tom, and agreed ... also, the wonderful way you put it sounds like a line from a Rush song though, doesn't it...?
DigitalIsDead's picture

UP is the only remaining studio album to not be reissued. I have never heard it so I am looking forward to it.

Mike Mettler's picture
Ah yes, DiD, another great semi-lost R.E.M. album there with October 1998's UP. And you're right -- there have been no new UP-dated (sorry) LP versions of it since the initial 2LP pressing(s) in 1998. It's possible I may have a copy of it in storage, but I'd certainly love Craft Recordings to do a new 2LP pressing of UP ASAP. "Airportman," "Lotus," "Daysleeper," "Falls to Climb," et al... we need y'all on vinyl anew!
Mike Mettler's picture
They musta heard us talkin' bcz R.E.M. HQ has just announced a 25th anniversary edition of UP is a-comin' in 2LP form (and other configs) on November 10... details at the link below:

R.E.M. - UP 25 2LP

wedqed's picture

تواجه دولة الكويت مشكلة جدية في انتشار الحشرات خاصة في فصل الصيف، حيث تتميز البيئة الكويتية بالحرارة الشديدة والجفاف، مما يجعل الحشرات تجد فيها بيئة مناسبة للتكاثر والانتشار.وتتضمن الحشرات التي تشكل مشكلة في الكويت الصراصير والنمل والذباب والبعوض والناموس، حيث يعتبرون مصدرا للعدوى والأمراض. لذا فإن رش الحشرات يعتبر حلا فعالا للتخلص منها، حيث تقوم الشركات المتخصصة في الرش بإستخدام مبيدات حشرية مؤمنة وفعالة للتخلص من الحشرات بصورة نهائية دون أي آثار جانبية على البيئة أو الإنسان، ويتم ذلك بإستخدام معدات حديثة وآليات متطورة للتعامل مع المبيدات.وأصبحت خدمة رش الحشرات متوفرة بسهولة في الكويت، حيث يمكن الاستعانة بالشركات المتخصصة للقيام بذلك، كما يمكن أن يتم القيام بذلك بنفس الطريقة عن طريق شراء المنتجات المتاحة في الأسواق والتي تحتوي على مبيدات حشرية. أيًا كان الخيار المتاح، يجب محاولة القضاء على الحشرات بأسرع وقت ممكن للحفاظ على صحة الأفراد والبيئة المحيطة.
رش حشرات الكويت

Joy Marry's picture

The band of my childhood, my friends heardle and I used to listen to it in middle school, now I'm old and the memories are long gone =((