New Adventures in Hi-Fi
Combining studio recordings and live material from an especially grueling world tour, this album is R.E.M.'s travelogue, exploring themes of self-doubt, faithlessness and loss, set against an often blinding and brilliant multidimensional soundscape. Lead singer Michael Stipe has rarely sounded more convincing than he does on standouts such as “The Wake-Up Bomb,” the hypnotic “Leave” and the lead single “E-bow the Letter,” in which he's paired vocally with his idol, the ever-haunting punk pioneer Patti Smith. Ultimately, it didn't sell as much as expected, but New Adventures in Hi-Fi speaks volumes about the musical resiliency of the most important band of this era.
— Kevin O'Hare