October 23, 2021

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Bop Shop: Songs By Kim Petras, Kacey Musgraves, Jay B, And More

Here’s the deal: R.E.M.’s 1996 album New Adventures in Hi-Fi is widely considered a late-era masterpiece, but I’ve never heard it that way. Even in an age of streaming-aided interminable album lengths, 65 minutes is simply too much; the bloat often obscures great melodies in overdone affectations. That’s why this alternate version of “Leave” rules. By centering Michael Stipe’s voice, stripping away the car-alarm guitar and drawn-out prologue, and cutting more than two minutes off the runtime, a real song emerges. It’s wounded and dark, very moody, and highly replayable. The 25th anniversary edition of New Adventures, out October 29, promises more gems to unearth. I can’t wait to (possibly) finally dust off the masterpiece lying in wait. —Patrick Hosken

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