Reveal - R.E.M.
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. The album straddles R.E.M.'s past and their future, sounding fresh, assured -- and on par with their best previous efforts.
  2. 'Reveal' is the slippers, fire and photo album - but this doesn't mean REM have resigned themselves to the placid lethargy of age. It just means that they've found a place to sit back and take stock after a long, colourful journey.
  3. What makes Reveal so disappointing is that the additions to the classic R.E.M. sound are all merely superficial. The increased reliance on burbling, jittering synthesizers actually makes the album a less engaging listen, turning many of its songs into messy sonic muddles.
  4. Many adjectives have been thrown around in reference to this latest album: lush, atmospheric, beautiful, summery, melodic. All apply. This is R.E.M.'s pop record.
  5. On Reveal, the sounds vary, but the songs cohere well. For a band into its third decade, making a record with no apparent weak link is an accomplishment.
  6. It's a landmark album for REM and the fans who stayed faithful, a shot in the arm for music in 2001 and - unless they're too foolish to accept it - a long-awaited treat for all the listeners who bailed out after Monster.
  7. Whilst this comes closer to 'Out Of Time' than anything else they've done, it never once sounds dated.
  8. 'Reveal' sees REM exhale, relax and ease into a new confidence with a collection of songs to fill your heart. Every track here sifts with a live energy that was previously polished out of 'Up', and they sound all the better for it.
  9. But if you go back to Up after hearing Reveal, you get the idea that this is the album they were trying to make then, and that this time they got all the way there and found a parking spot. The Eno-style keyboard textures have more room to breathe amid the largely acoustic guitars, with the arcane sound effects intricately woven into the songs.
  10. On the plus side, the album sounds really nice.... The problem is, things get a little too lazy and hazy; Reveal's 12 tracks all move with almost the exact same dreamy, midtempo lope.
  11. The rock energy that drove much of their early career has given way to a perfect sense for texture and sound. Reveal is a lush, dreamy pop mood-piece that hovers in the realm of rumination and introspection.
  12. For all its daring, Reveal still ranks among the group's most instantly winning albums, the kind whose poppiest pleasures, like "All The Way To Reno (You're Going To Be A Star)" and the single "Imitation Of Life," eventually fade into the album's overall beauty.
  13. It's full of the same monochromatic balladry and hipster references of its recent albums.
  14. 40
    There's a welcome sunniness to much of the album, with "Beat a Drum" recalling The Beach Boys' "Feel Flows," and "Imitation of Life" displaying some of that classic Document-era jangle. The two songs are Reveal's only real highlights.
  15. Mike Mills's and Peter Buck's acoustic midtempo strummings and electronic ambience match 1992's Automatic for the People for lethargy, without the looming darkness or catchy sentimentality that made it compelling.
  16. As sonically beautiful an album as R.E.M. has made. [May/June 2001, p.114]
  17. With the exception of a few tracks, Reveal is a remarkably cohesive album of intense beauty and heady wisdom that inspires with its passionate strength. [Jul 2001, p.79]
  18. 40
    'Up' sounded like the work of a band getting its bearings. On 'Reveal,' they're still finding their way. [Jun/Jul 2001, p.110]
  19. Reveal is billed as the band's return to form, and mostly it is.... But like 'Up,' much of 'Reveal' is haunted by an ennui that's curious for a band that made their name by talking about the passion. [18 May 2001, p.79]
  20. 70
    Unlike U2, whose left turns have felt like oblique strategies in the band's pompous struggle to redeem rock, R.E.M.'s stylistic shifts tend to feel like survival skills. Vaguely psychedelic, filled with hazy shades of woo or whatever, much of Reveal moves with the graceful drag of 1985's Fables of the Reconstruction, yet with more ebb and flux. [June 2001, p.143]
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Jan 2, 2014
    9
    After having listened to Reveal many many times, I can finally say it is very good, better than Up, returning to a more classic sound. Many interesting songs, like Imitation of Life (great), and good feeling. Full Review »
  2. Aug 17, 2013
    8
    One of best REM records in Warner's era. (In a 2nd row with Up, Monster and New Adventures after AFTP and OOT). Great BeachBoys tribute! Imitation of Life classic! Full Review »
  3. Apr 14, 2012
    8
    After the mixed reaction to 1998's "Up," R.E.M. decided to return to a more organic sound while still retaining some of the synthesizers heard on the previous album. The result is an album that tries very hard to appeal to both old and new fans. Some songs such as "She Just Wants To Be," "Chorus and The Ring," and "I'll Take The Rain" have a similar sound to the "Out Of Time" and "Automatic" eras. Other songs like "The Lifting," "All The Way To Reno," and "Saturn Return" all are of the same style as "Up." In the end, you will like this album if you can appreciate R.E.M. trying to combine the styles of "Automatic" and "Up." However, this album is weaker than both of those. Full Review »