The three-legged dog years: All R.E.M.'s post-Bill Berry albums ranked

Follow the meanderings of the three-legged dog on their final five albums

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Accelerate (2008)

The day before Accelerate came out, R.E.M. were a spent force, the day after they were born again. After Accelerate, R.E.M. sounded twenty years younger, but without the weariness that made their actual younger selves sound like old souls. Accelerate has an energy that R.E.M. had never before exhibited.

To anyone who'd followed the band for the past ten years, Accelerate must've been no less than a miracle. After the "Around the Sun" debacle, R.E.M. felt they had to prove they still had it in them, and they did that by transforming themselves into a breathtakingly sharp and formidable live act. Accelerate's mandate was to put that live energy onto a record, bands often struggle to translate live energy into the studio, but on Accelerate, R.E.M. make it look easy.

Accelerate kicks you in the face immediately with "Living Well Is The Best Revenge," the most inspiring anger song ever written. "LWITBR" is a song so lively it makes Accelerate seem fast and gritty even in its slower moments. No one song has ever had as much impact on an album as "LWITBR" does. Every song on Accelerate is great, but if they weren't "LWITBR" would carry the album.

Those slower moments are where R.E.M. proves that they can still do quiet and tender, with their trademark tension and wit. The mutant ballad "Houston" is Accelerate's secret centrepiece and the heart of the album. While "Supernatural/Superserious" is a song that speaks to the audience like only R.E.M. can.

Accelerate is like nothing else in R.E.M.'s catalogue, and came at a time when nothing less would've done.

Best lyric:

Don't turn your talking points on me
History will set me free
The future's ours and you don't even rate a footnote now

From "Living Well Is The Best Revenge"

Honorable mention:

Nature abhors a vacuum but what's between your ears?

From "Man-Sized Wreath"

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