Boring and Generic

With one of their UK stadium dates downgraded because of low ticket sales, REM must be questioning their ability to please a crowd, or to produce music that's as exciting and gritty as their classics. 'Man-Sized Wreath' doesn't really fulfil either of these criteria; it's pretty much standard REM but with a gritty verse that has some moments of discord and a brief melodic chorus that fails to really hit a peak. The tune is 2 and a half minutes of album filler that would never have made it to single in the band's heyday. The guitars are growling and country and Michael Stipe's vocals are as expressive as ever but the tune just feels a little too insubstantial and there's nothing to really hold the listener's attention even for this brief duration. Sorry guys, but this is barely going to excite Radio 2 DJs.