Hear This: In 2008, R.E.M. had a legacy to defend and something to prove

In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re picking songs that saw an artist bounce back after releasing a dud of a record.

R.E.M., “Horse To Water” (2008)

Expectations were awfully (and justifiably) low for R.E.M.‘s 2008 album, Accelerate; the band had clearly run out of steam and inspiration on its previous record, 2004’s almost universally reviled Around The Sun. Determined, it seemed, to not retire on such a low note, the band roared back to life, trying its best to sound like the R.E.M. that people once loved. On a huge chunk of the album, they succeed. The whole thing is worth a listen, maybe starting with “Horse To Water,” a short, speedy song that recalls moments from the band’s classic Lifes Rich Pageant. All of the R …

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