On Tuesday, R.E.M. -- once arguably the biggest band in the world -- will perform on the plaza in support of its new album, Accelerate.
I'm curious to see and hear them, because, for me and a lot of people, R.E.M. has kind of fallen off the map in the past decade.
Roughly since the time drummer Bill Berry left the group in 1997, R.E.M. has struggled to stay relevant on the American music scene.
I, for one, never stopped to think about why that was, but I also didn't bother to buy any of their recent albums either.
And that says something, because although I would never have considered myself a hard-core R.E.M. fan, I certainly devoured Document, Out of Time and Monster as a kid and teenager.
(And hearing "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" brings back memories of summer camp when I was 11 and one of my counselors would listen to that song every morning.)
But I've read a few reviews of Accelerate, and the critics seem very happy with it, that it represents a new urgency on the band's part to just...play. No more over-thinking, over-tinkering or over-producing in crafting the album.
I'll be giving it a shot and look forward to seeing and hearing them on the plaza on Tuesday morning.
You can read the Rolling Stone review of AccelerateHERE.
And I thought this New York Times piece was a particularly perceptive look at where R.E.M. has been, where it is now, and where it's going.