Around The Sun

Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 27
  2. Negative: 3 out of 27
  1. As the songs unfold over multiple listens, though, what becomes clear is that R.E.M. still has plenty to say, and plenty of interesting ways to say it.
  2. Uncut
    80
    Often recalls 1992's Automatic For The People in its sobriety of purpose. [Nov 2004, p.100]
  3. Alternative Press
    80
    Undercut by passion and urgency. [Jan 2005, p.113]
  4. R.E.M. still have the remarkable distinction of never once producing a bad album, but this is perhaps the biggest example yet of the group merely treading water, whereas once they majestically swam.
  5. Structure trumps texture throughout: "Make It All OK" is a formally tight breakup ballad, with spiritual overtones, that could fit neatly on a good singer-songwriter record, and others are arranged semi-acoustically, highlighting Stipe's cleanest melodies and most inviting vocal performances in years.
  6. Spin
    67
    This is a low-spark affair. [Nov 2004, p.112]
  7. Unfortunately, things do go awry more than a few times.
  8. Entertainment Weekly
    67
    As arena folk goes, R.E.M. remain cooler than, say, the Wallflowers. Just barely. [8 Oct 2004, p.114]
  9. Los Angeles Times
    63
    A noncommittal aura undermines Michael Stipe's most personal, poetic and moving set of lyrics in years. [3 Oct 2004]
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 102 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 71
  2. Negative: 10 out of 71
  1. Aug 30, 2012
    7
    Around The Sun is NOT Sh*t. OK, that's the worst album R.E.M. have ever made, but it's not so horrible as people says. The problem is the limpAround The Sun is NOT Sh*t. OK, that's the worst album R.E.M. have ever made, but it's not so horrible as people says. The problem is the limp sound, but the songs are ok. Leaving New York and Aftermath are very good, and there other songs that don't sound bad (Electron Blue, Final Straw, ecc.)
    Always better than that garbage we must listen now.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 5, 2012
    7
    I'm a massive R.E.M fan and have to say this record was a real let down. I know Reveal got a lukewarm reception in some quarters but I thoughtI'm a massive R.E.M fan and have to say this record was a real let down. I know Reveal got a lukewarm reception in some quarters but I thought it was quite good, albeit not up with their absolute best work. Around the Sun however is the sound of a band that seem bored with themselves and what they do. It lacks energy and imagination and in too many places its just boring and bland. I'm still going to give it a 7 though as I do think the fact that it was brought out by a band of R.E.M's stature goes against the album. There are some good songs on it - "Leaving New York", "High Speed Train" and the title track are all very good and there are plenty of tracks on here that when heard played live by the band sound a lot more vibrant. It's definitely a record I feel came across better when it was played live which would suggest the production just wasn't up to scratch. Full Review »
  3. Oct 26, 2014
    1
    I love virtually all REM albums. Some are greater than others, but there's none that I'd writeoff wholesale. Apart from this.
    I bought this
    I love virtually all REM albums. Some are greater than others, but there's none that I'd writeoff wholesale. Apart from this.
    I bought this on CD (remember those?) and desperately spun it, looking for any hint of the genius of the band who'd made Murmer, Automatic for the People, New Adventures, Green. Nope, nothing.
    I went to sell it back to a second hand shop, but they seemingly had entire tables full of this album, from others who had recognised its inner drabness immediately, so i walked out and just stuck the entire disc in the bin.
    Full Review »