R.E.M. – “Supernatural Superserious” (2008)

February 12, 2009 at 11:13 am (David Fricke, R.E.M., Reviews & Articles)

David Fricke’s review of one of last year’s best singles (taken from my favorite album of 2008, Accelerate). Taken from Rolling Stone, March 6, 2008…


The pride of Athens, Georgia, is back in super-fuzz-guitar form  


This brisk bundle of pop-chorus sunshine and fuzzbox fisticuffs from R.E.M.’s forthcoming rock-centric album Accelerate, was originally called “Disguised” until R.E.M. pal and fan, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, working on his record next to where R.E.M. were mixing in London, had a better idea. “He was like, ’That’s a great song but a terrible title – you should change it to “Supernatural Superserious,’” R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe explains. That phrase from the final line is a perfect, contradictory fit for a song of identity crisis full of strutting guitars and the fighting joy of Stipe’s vocal and bassist Mike Mills’ background cries. “Everybody here/Comes from somewhere/That they would just as soon forget/And disguise,” Stipe sings against Peter Buck’s crusty strum, before the whole band bursts in with Document-era ardor. By the end, there are no masks, no fear, but “an open heart on a darkened stage/A celebration of your teenage station” – a classic blast of rock & roll transformation from a band at a new peak of its powers.

David Fricke

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