REM : Imitation Of Life

Hard musical currency that's still desired tender the world over.

After the ‘disappointing’ sales

of REM’s last album, and the widespread whisper that Stipe and co might have mined their last pop ore, ‘Imitation Of Life’ comes on like a platinum AmEx card [I]actually made of platinum[/I]. Not only do REM still have the tunes, then; they have abundant offshore stashes of the most glittering ones imaginable, hard musical currency that’s still desired tender the world over.

‘Imitation Of Life’ draws on the kind of vintage REM the people demand: ‘Shiny Happy People’

in the chorus, and something moody off ‘Document’ in the verse. But it’s no mere fit of nostalgia. Thematically, ‘Imitation’ sounds like Stipe’s

side of a conversation about fame and starlust that he might have had with Courtney Love around the time of Hole’s ‘Celebrity Skin’: “That’s sugarcane that tasted good/That’s cinnamon/That’s Hollywood/Come on come on” he breezes, a wise man to Love’s hard-bitten diva. Sweet as.

Kitty Empire