Finally got through R.E.M.'s new one (busy, highly distractable morning) Granted it was only one listen, but I liked it. Course, i'm totally not interested in the whole "their best since....." blah-dery, but at least i stayed interested throughout the whole album (even though at times i felt like i was listening to it from 2 rooms away...but that maybe be a function of me and my morning more than the album....and besides....on some of their best stuff, that was exactly the feeling i would get even when i had my ear pressed up the speaker). Michael sounds good, the band has a lot of energy, and even the ballads have some momentum to them. It seems as though ACCELERATE wasn't an abberation.
I do have to say though that from the first listen, nothing really jumped out at me, and i suspect their ability to write a drop dead great song has passed, but there were plenty of moments that have hook potential. it's earned another couple listens and we'll see how it fits into the REM canon.
I wonder what a fanclub member thinks about it.