Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Accelerate may not stun on impact like some R.E.M. records, but it's still habit-forming.
  2. Accelerate is by some considerable distance REM’s best and most cohesive album since Berry left, and crucially echoes a time when they made their best music, if not necessarily their biggest-selling.
  3. Now we have Accelerate; the actualisation of a new found urgency. Gratifyingly short at under 35 minutes, it’s a summation of much that is or was great about R.EM.: wordy proclamations by Stipe, ringing Rickenbacker trills by Buck and lush backing vocals by Mills.
  4. Accelerate's broad strokes, big riffs, and beefy production (the album was reportedly recorded in "just" nine weeks) are admirable, as is the disc's concision, but its success is still more as a step forward than a slam dunk.
  5. It’s simply R.E.M. finally making a concerted effort to sound like themselves, and realizing that’s not such a horrible idea.
  6. 90
    Accelerate will be rightfully championed as the defibrillator that shocked a once-great band back to its senses.
  7. As comebacks go, that's relatively modest, but the very modesty of Accelerate is what makes it such a successful rebirth as R.E.M. no longer denies what they were or what they are, and, in doing so, they offer a glimpse of what they could be once again.
  8. Accelerate is the first studio album by that post-Berry stage band, and it is one of the best records R.E.M. have ever made.
  9. Accelerate isn't quite as irresistible as some people might have you believe, but you can't help feeling glad they stuck around to make it.
  10. On Accelerate R.E.M. sound like men less than half their age, ripping through 11 songs in a mere 35 minutes that contains great chunks of just about everything that made them the biggest band in world back in the 1990s.
  11. It's mostly fast and unfussy, convincing and committed.
  12. 70
    Their 14th studio album is a fierce nostalgia­fest full of cascading jangle, candied power chords, lonesome harmonies, Southern-gothic protest poetry and roundhouse drum bash.
  13. There’s good rock ’n’ roll here, and it’s vital and raw enough to be memorable. But there’s something calculated too, something demographically researched and meticulously executed in these songs.
  14. If it isn't able to recapture the post-punk energy of "Reckoning," the political fury of "Life's Rich Pageant," or the epic scope of "Automatic for the People," the album, at the very least, finds the band playing to its strengths rather than attempting to explore an increasingly thin artistic mythology. That alone justifies Accelerate's positive buzz, even if the album doesn't quite support the magnitude of it.
  15. Accelerate’s songs are generally well-constructed, almost to the point of being formulaic- eleven alternative pop songs with no excess fat around the edges.
  16. As 34 minutes advance, songs get longer and less interesting ('Sing for the Submarine'), but "Horse to Water" stomps, and 'I'm Gonna DJ' ("at the end of the world") doesn't decelerate.
  17. Heavyweight champeen or not, Stipe's got his fighting spirit back, and so does his band.
  18. With the rocking tunes, energetic vocals and those smart lyrics, Accelerate is a true return to form for a band that really needed it.
  19. When in doubt, crank the amps. This is the philosophy behind R.E.M.’s new album, Accelerate, their best, and certainly their loudest, in years.
  20. Accelerate puts the 2007 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame group once again firmly behind the wheel of alternative rock, a genre R.E.M. helped invent.
  21. Accelerate serves notice that R.E.M. intends to stay that way.
  22. 'Sing for the Submarine's' winking nods to old song titles ("electron blue," "gravity's pull," "high-speed train") are painfully self-aware. It's a sharp contrast to the rest of Accelerate, on which R.E.M. stop overthinking things--and start roaring toward the future.
  23. Accelerate hits the ground running, slows down briefly, and ends as furiously as it began. Mapped out that way, its most striking moments end up being the bookends of the first and last two songs, particularly since the album is so short, but even the weakest moments in the middle detract little from the whole.
  24. With Accelerate, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills sound like a band again, albeit now one not afraid to look back a little.
  25. Under The Radar
    It is the sound of a classic band moving forward, and it is a step in the right direction. [Sping 2008, p.80]
  26. "Accelerate" pushes along with urgency but a lack of bite - like background music to a bar scene in an indie thriller. "Horse To Water", however, has the machine-gun fast delivery of "It's The End Of The World…" and a cart-wheeling chorus redolent of old times.
  27. this is a rock album, R.E.M are back being literate and smart, Stipe is barking out lyrics like it’s 1987… in fact, beef up some songs off "Document" and you could mix the two albums up.
  28. Mojo
    It really does seem that a decade-long period of interbal artistic crisis has been resolved, beautifully, even triumphantly. [Apr 2008, p.98]
  29. Q Magazine
    Redeemed, revived, irresisitable: it seems R.E.M. were only sleeping after all. [Apr 2008, p.99]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 131 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 131
  1. Jan 14, 2017
    After the disappointing Around the Sun, R.E.M's poorest record to date, there was some real pressure on them to deliver with their follow-up.After the disappointing Around the Sun, R.E.M's poorest record to date, there was some real pressure on them to deliver with their follow-up. Thankfully, for the most part, they did. Accelerate is rockier, less produced and more passionate than their previous couple of efforts. Written in a live environment (see their Live at the Olympia record - their Dublin residency while "rehearsing" for the Accelerate recording sessions), you can feel and hear a rediscovered urgency in the songs (opener "Living Well Is The Best Revenge" being the best example of this), thanks in a large part to the inspiration provided by playing alot of their earliest material during those sessions. It's not quite up with their best and benefits from the fact that its following up a poor record - there are probably 2 tracks that don't really cut it, but this is R.E.M and overall it's a really strong record. Full Review »
  2. Aug 30, 2012
    R.E.M. are back more powerful than ever! Finally they have returned to a rock sound, and it's great.
    Livin Well Is The Best Revenge is the
    R.E.M. are back more powerful than ever! Finally they have returned to a rock sound, and it's great.
    Livin Well Is The Best Revenge is the symbol of their rescue, probably the hardest song they have ever made, but the masterpiece is Supernatural Superserious. That's one of their greatest song and I love it.
    Michael Godlike Genius!
    Full Review »
  3. FrancescoM
    Dec 3, 2008
    Music magazines are publishing these days the lists of the 2008 top albums. Accelerate seems to appear only in the Q top 50 at number 36... Music magazines are publishing these days the lists of the 2008 top albums. Accelerate seems to appear only in the Q top 50 at number 36... But are they kidding? I know R.E.M. are not relevant anymore for the public, they are nowadays nearly out of the mainstream circuit, the album sold less than the worst expectations and even the tour hasn't been as succesful as the previous tour... But I think those critics who compile these lists are anyway kidding!!! They only have to judge the best albums and they haven't to care about the popularity of them! 25years ago someone had the courage to put an album that sold at the time 300k copies at the top of a list which included in the 2nd place an album that sold 55M of copies. The first album is still in 2008 one of the most relevant album in the history of music, the second is only history (a legend in terms of numbers, but only history in terms of music). Accelerate couldn't absolutely be compared to Murmur, because compared to murmur the lack of creativity is too much evident. But compared to Murmur, what album recorded since 1983 to nowadays doesn't show a lack of creativity? Accelerete is simply the perfect alternative rock album You could listen in 2008! To put other alternative rock albums before accelerate in these lists is simply an insult to R.E.M., to the genre of music they have always refined in the course of their career and to history of music! Anyway this lists are not so surprising if We consider that the majority of critics prefear Monster compared to Accelerate. Please change Job! Listen to music and Judge It seems to difficult for You! According to Peter Buck, Monster was made by the scraps of AFTP remixed with catchy grunge (R.E.M. grunge not Seattle grunge) distortions... Accelerate is made by nearly perfect alternative songs like for example Supernatural Supersserious, the title song or Sing For The Submarine. And the average level is so good that when you listen to the CD You never want to skip a song! There is even someone who consider this album a bad one because the previous three were boring or because they don't accept the sexual preferences of Michael Stipe... How sad is the fact that these persons have the right to write their opinion somewhere! PLEASE LISTEN 3 CONSECUTIVE TIMES TO IT THAN JUDGE AN WRITE YOUR OPINION SOMEWHERE!!! The world doesn't need and doesn't deserve stupid prejudices! In every field of life. Full Review »