Tuesday, March 27, 2007

#9 Dream

Song: #9 Dream
Artist: R.E.M.
Album: Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur

Usually when I listen to new R.E.M. it just makes me yearn for the days of old R.E.M. I’ve said it before, while there are some great songs the band has written since Bill Berry departed, their new material really hasn’t lived up to the Berry years. “Up” was a bit of a mess, “Reveal” was a touch better, and 2005’s “Around The Sun” was probably their worst album to date. Ouch.

I loved this band… still do, so it goes without saying that when I heard Berry was joining the band again to record a new song I flipped. But it comes with good, just okay, and bad news.

The Good: “#9 Dream,” which will be included on “Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur” a benefit/tribute to be released in June is beautiful. Michael sounds great, the song seems to come from their mid-80’s period… it’s perfect!

The Just Okay: It’s a cover, not an original. “Instant Karma,” as you may guess, is a tribute using the songs of John Lennon, which Yoko donated all publishing royalties in order for the proceeds to benefit Darfur. I didn’t know the song as I am not up on a lot of Lennon’s solo work, but it is beautiful. But honestly, I would loved to have heard something new will Bill back in the mix. What has been sorely missing from the Berry-less records are the hooks. It seems Bill really was the one to make the songs pop.

The Bad: This is a one off. R.E.M. are wrapping up work on their next album and Berry is not on it at all. Boo-hoo.

I can understand that the man had to quit this band. If you don’t know, he suffered a brain aneurysm on stage during the “Monster” tour in 1995 and subsequently quit to work a farm in Georgia. He is very missed, and while I wish he would record with them and just not tour, it seems he was truly ready for a complete life change. We’ll just call “#9 Dream” a possible good new start.


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