The verdict is in: 'Accelerate' – with its crunching power chords and sweetly sung backing vocals – is a triumphant return to form. Hmmm.
In fact, since the success of "Losing My Religion", fame has not so much eaten Michael Stipe's face as it has scooped out this insular artist's precious melancholy and replaced it with crass gestures. When Stipe chose to paint his face, sing into a megaphone and befriend Bono, the mythical folk poetry vanished in a cloud of celebrity. "I've become the hollow man," he sings in a rare revealing moment. Bottom line: a crowdpleaser from a band who should be above such things.
Pick of the Album: The album's middle section hints at the old magic