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With rumours of a split and Michael Stipe getting weirder than ever (did you see that Frank Skinner interview?), it's probably about time we refocus on what REM do best - making fascinatingly brilliant pop music, and with 'Animal', it's not hard to see why they're as popular as ever.
It's essentially an atmospheric, radio-friendly tune with a complex vocal arrangement that shows off some impressive studio trickery. The song’s main vocal hook, the wailing 'I’m an animaaaalllll…' does the job nicely, even if 'Animal' will never be as immediate or memorable as the other ‘new’ track from the Best Of, 'Bad Day'. However, there’s no doubting that this is trademark REM - that of writing and performing consistently great songs for 25 years. It just begs the question: What next for the band? Time will ultimately tell, but sales of the current collection could certainly finance a nice retirement plan… Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
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