Around The Sun Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 101 Ratings

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  • Summary: 'Sun' is the 13th studio disc for R.E.M., who are joined here by frequent collaborators Ken Stringfellow and Scott McCaughey. Q-Tip also guest raps on "The Outsiders."
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 27
  2. Negative: 3 out of 27
  1. 80
    Often recalls 1992's Automatic For The People in its sobriety of purpose. [Nov 2004, p.100]
  2. 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.
  3. Unfortunately, things do go awry more than a few times.
  4. Its sporadic pockets of accessibility aside, it's difficult to listen to Around the Sun without hearing it as a holding pattern, or worse, a piece of product released simply to keep the R.E.M. brand out among the public.
  5. The good news is things pick up, eventually. The bad news is the album ends just as it starts getting interesting.
  6. R.E.M. have never seemed as directionless.
  7. 20
    Weak poetry set to any music sucks, let alone this plodding folk-lite. [#13, p.90]

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 71
  2. Negative: 10 out of 71
  1. Collingsj
    Mar 8, 2006
    a master piece
  2. carmelv
    Nov 11, 2004
    I just love all songs... one by one... a great album... Don't know & don't care for bad critics. R.E.M - Missed you... Its Good to be BACK!!! Expand
  3. JontiD
    Oct 7, 2005
    The most underated album in the last 5 years? yes. I can admit that the production is hard to swallow sometimes, however, this album delivers a good share of surreal gem's. High paid critics no shit about reviewing old bands comeback albums. All they really review is how the band market themselves and judge it on their image. For example, look at the reviews that the new Rolling Stone's album is getting(A Bigger Bang), despite the album not delivering, especially in comparison to Around the Sun. Its too bad, R.E.M. didnt name this album "Were back... and Rocking....and you cant deny it", then it would be a definite success. These critics didnt fool me, i listened to the album, and loved it. Atleast check it out. Expand
  4. MaikK
    Oct 3, 2004
    This is not a standard R.E.M. record, it's darker, slower, more experimental than most of their work. When I first listened to the album I didn't like most of it, but by hearing it again and again, i must say that I start liking almost every song. The only song i really don't like on the album is the song that most critics like the most, "I Wanted To Be Wrong", It just sounds to awkward to me. It's not their best album, but it's still very good Expand
  5. JonH
    Jun 23, 2005
    It is simply unfathomable to me how so many critics panned this album. Michael Stipe's lyrics, as always, are different and dark, and he uses melody as simply a vehicle to deliver the poetry. There is some great stuff here: Q-Tip's verse on The Outsiders shows the band isn't afraid to try something new; Wanderlust is a strikingly inventive song, with a chorus in 7/4 meter, it sounds more like it's from outerspace rather than the trash heap like some critics suggest. And amid the eye-opening moments are light, tuneful, throughtful, beautifuls songs. Expand
  6. jules
    Dec 9, 2004
    Many of the positive reviews here describe how I felt about "UP" - not immediately accessible but over time beautiful and interesting in a low key scattered kinda way. Also it was a first after Bill left and these living legends obviously needed time to adjust. "Reveal" showed them getting more upbeat and remembering melody, a fine thinking person's summer disc, but still...This latest is sadly plain mediocre - not bad but average enough. Pretty and maudlin does not a decent album make. Where is this depth? I think fans are looking into the mirror of their expectations of a once hugely important band - complements to the depth and effort of these fans, but best look elsewhere for the profound and moving works these lads once turned out and made it look easy. It obviously isn't easy judging from this latest effort. Expand
  7. ZacharyF
    Oct 8, 2004
    Pathetic. I listened to this pap on (thanks for saving me the 15 bucks!) and only made it to track 8. What an embarrasing effort. For a band that was once so unique, vibrant, and vital (see Chronic Town - Automatic for the People) to see them produce this bland and boring offal is a sad thing indeed. Give it up, Stipe. I guess the only thing to do is TALK about the passion, because it's obvious that it left your songwriting over a decade ago. Expand

See all 71 User Reviews