Friday, January 05, 2007

R.E.M. BEGINS WORK ON 14TH ALBUM

Reporter gets sneak peek at Stipe's lyric sheet

Jan. 4, 2007 (Music Wire Services) - As R.E.M. converged on Athens, Ga. to begin work on their 14th LP, tentatively titled "The Sunny Sun That is Both Very Beautiful and Very Sunny", a hand-written lyric sheet belonging to lead singer Michael Stipe was inadvertently left in plain view inside the band's headquarters.

"Nothing is brighter than the sun," Stipe wrote in red crayon on wide-ruled paper. "Not the stars/Not the moon/Not even love."

The words continue, forming the would-be chorus of the as-yet-untitled song: "The sun is beautiful/The sun is happy/And the sun, sun, sun/Is fun, fun, fun."

The lyric sheet, adorned with a gold star sticker and attached to a refrigerator with a smiley-face magnet, was soon removed by R.E.M.'s staff, leaving only a tantalizing taste of what the alternative rock band has in store. While band manager and lawyer Bertis Downs would not comment on the lyrics, which appear to have a strong Beach Boys influence, he did reveal his opinion of the upcoming album based on early demos. “It’s very lush and atmospheric,” Downs said. “It’s really, really great.”

Downs’ description of the album conflicts slightly with reports from the band itself. Bill Rieflin, who will again try to fill the gargantuan shoes of departed drummer Bill Berry, told Music Wire Services, “I really have no fucking clue what is going on here. I am not actually a member of the band, so I can’t really tell them that I think their music is shit. I just smile, and hit the drum with a stick.”

Fans and critics alike await the new R.E.M. album, slated for release in the fall of 2013, with eager anticipation. “The Sunny Sun” is expected, also, to ease record execs’ fears over file sharing, as the lush, atmospheric, crystalline, real, howling and primitive tracks simply won’t cut it for music listeners as lower-quality mp3s.

Says R.E.M.’s bassist Mike Mills: “It’s going to be a real headphone record.”

(The above, posted to the blog by request of Moni, via Murmurs, is fictional of course. The previous blind item, is not.)

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(Read also: Mike Mills, World Ambassador of Peace and this assorted garbage. But possibly my all-time favorite is R.E.M., Busy Working on Next Album, Take Time to Relate to Real People. Oh, and R.E.M. Continue to Write Songs at Shocking Pace).

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