As genre innovators, R.E.M.’s influence can be seen in almost every alternative rock band since the early 80’s. From their intellectual lyrics, political activism and rock beats, the band has taken their music to stratospheric levels. With 2008’s Accelerate, music legends R.E.M. make their Austin City Limits debut.
Equally comfortable as influential underground icons and venerated classic rockers, as likely to follow their restless creative spirits and break new musical ground as to release multi-platinum albums and sell-out arenas, R.E.M. is simply a modern musical institution. With countless songs that have entered the pop culture lexicon, R.E.M.has gone far beyond their Athens, Ga., roots. “The most popular college-rock band of the 80’s, R.E.M. underwent a steady, decade-long rise from underground heroes to bona fide superstars” wrote Rolling Stone.
The acclaimed band’s first studio album in four years was released in April 2008. Accelerate found R.E.M. returning to the stripped-down, guitar-driven power that first enraptured fans. The new release put the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group once again firmly behind the wheel of alternative rock, a genre that R.E.M. helped invent.
Spin wrote “Accelerate corrals 35 minutes of the fastest songs Stipe and Co. have written in decades, all performed with a sense of joyous purpose … They haven’t sounded this surprised with themselves since 1998’s Up, haven’t made a album this consistent since 1992’s Automatic for the People, and haven’t redlined so engagingly since 1986’s Lifes Rich Pageant, whose terrific “These Days” lives on in spirit here.