Reveal Fan Reflection

In the spring of 2001, I suddenly became aware of the fact that something was missing in my life. I was 14 years old at the time, and all of my peers had developed a taste (A rather crude one at that age, but a taste nonetheless) for music. I had not. Realizing that I was potentially missing out on something wonderful, I devoted a week-long spring break to absorbing music videos on MTV2. I spent time scanning the channel for a few days, recognizing some videos as they were repeated, but nothing that I was seeing and hearing was anything that I felt I could not live without. Nothing spoke to me, nothing stood out. One day that changed. A video came on that I had not seen before. After only a few seconds, I realized that this was something unlike anything I had been exposed to that week. It instantly became so clear to me that the music I was hearing was of a much higher quality, and on a much higher level than everything else I had heard thus far. The video was for Imitation of Life, the first single from R.E.M.’s 12th studio album, Reveal. As the video came to an end, I scrambled for a pen and paper to jot down the artist and song name–this was something I needed to look into. After that day, everything was different. For the first time in my life, I had genuinely experienced the joy and magic that music can instill in a person. The spring and summer of 2001 is a period I will never forget. Reveal was released in May, and R.E.M. would appear later that month on MTV Unplugged, as well as on the internet, via a webcast of a promotional concert in Cologne. I spent the summer listening to these songs, watching the live performances, and learning everything I could about the band. Without question, Reveal is responsible for jump starting my interest in, and love of music. I look back so fondly on that spring, that album, and the sense of wonder and discovery it sparked inside of me. The coming months and years would be difficult ones, but thanks to R.E.M., there was now something in my life that would help me make it through even the darkest nights. Music.

-Jordan Caleb Zeigler/ symantech

I had really got into REM from 1998 onwards,I got the whole back cat and was hooked. In 2001 I was 16, leaving school and heading into the military so it was a formitive time, and Reveal is the soundtrack to that whole summer. Reveal was the first time I experienced the build up and excitment, I had high hopes which were not dissapointed. IoL was lush, beautiful and accompanied by an amazing video that played and played on MTV. I was electrified when my friend handed me two free tickets to the South Africa Freedom Day concert in Traf Sqaure, which remains the best concert I have ever seen. 10 years on and the album remains very special for me and I still love all the songs in different ways…there are a lot of people who love this album ( especially in Japan!)

-Mike/ mozzh

This thread prompted me to play the record again from beginning to end and I have to admit, it is a damn fine record. Looking back those ten years, Reveal has really aged fine.  I, too, have a lot of memories attached to this album. I remember the day of its release, when I went into the record store and listened to the album on the CD player in my car on my way home – windows open, sun shining, wind blowing in.

It was the summer before my last year in school. The year, before I moved out of home and went on to study, one of the last really light-hearted years with nothing much to worry about. I remember going to the concert in Cologne in May 2001. Going all night by train and almost falling asleep at the train station in Cologne, when going back. I remember campfire nights out in the fields with my friends during that summer, discussing god and the world until the wee hours of the morning. Life was much easier back then, having the chance to meet with friends whenever you wanted to, no appointments, no schedules, really nothing much to worry about. Reveal has somehow become the soundtrack to all of this.

And putting it into the record player and giving it a spin now, instantly puts me back to those days of wonder. It kind of fills me with a sweet melancholy. I think this summer will see some more spins of this great record.

-Sebastian Lehner/ ThunderRoad

Today,  my hometown is warm and sunny, a portent of summer to come , and a perfect day to listen to “Reveal.” From the opening dream state of “The Lifting, ”  this album, like no other, is to me, R.E.M.’s most beautiful and evocative . While the summer theme runs through the music and lyrics, the greater impact for me, lies in the “photographs” Michael paints with his voice …images of each of the characters in the songs, images of the days and nights when we are yearning for more, but not sure how to get what we imagine. How many times have you lay in the sun on a dreamy summer afternoon, haziness and stillness in the air, while you daydreamed of your future, finding your love, achieving fame …a myriad of drifting thoughts and dreams ? “Reveal” is all of that and more. Musically, this album has an otherworldy  presence that speaks of hazy, humid days, when even your thoughts are slow and wandering. Even the more “poppy” sound of “Imitation of Life,” carries a hint of melancholy and finding oneself, as the protagonist seems torn between memories of a pleasant past and how he must convince himself to that all will be okay as long as “no one can see you cry,” and that he is not afraid.The song that resonates most deeply with me, is “She Just Wants To Be.” It spoke to me again during a time in my life when I was ready to make that move away from all that was safe and begin to explore a new and exciting change of pace from the past. It has become my personal “anthem” I guess. I can’t speak too highly of the musical talent possessed by all members of R.E.M. Every album is a surprise and delight for me….where are they now, and what other feelings will they evoke with their new work , what new risks will create delight for us, the listeners? Through it all, however,  “Reveal” has remained my favourite collection of extraordinary music. It is a masterpiece. Thank you Mike, Michael and Peter.

-Linda Sommerville


2 Responses to “Reveal Fan Reflection”

  1. Greg McGarvey May 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm #


  2. REManic September 4, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    When “Reveal” came out I was still a school boy who spent most of his time listening to music and operating an imaginary radio station with a stereo, one tape recorder and a load of cassette tapes. My own world was all made of music, and R.E.M.’s first album of the 21st century came into my world with the brightness of a lightning and the main of a hurricane.
    Whenever I listen to this album my mind is sweetly flooded with memories of those summery, carefree days. From the very first time I played my copy of “Reveal”, I found there was something magic in its electronic, pastoral and summery sound – from the sonic complexity of “The Lifting” to the beat-driven melancholy of “Saturn Return”. The very artwork seemed to me a perfect complement to the music – that sunny landscape on the cover with the band name’s smart logo only added to my attraction for the album. I would listen to those 12 songs over and over again during that summer – and I cannot recollect those happy days without thinking about “Reveal”. I watched the videos for “Imitation Of Life”, “All The Way To Reno” and “I’ll Take The Rain” as often as I could and listened to those songs everytime they played on the radio.
    And it was “Reveal” that really made me want to explore R.E.M.’s music, since until then I knew very few songs besides “Losing My Religion”, “Everybody Hurts” and “The One I Love”. So some time after that epiphany of mine in 2001, I started buying all of their records – and R.E.M. became my favourite band. Perhaps that wouldn’t have happened if “Reveal” hadn’t caught my attention when it came out.
    So to me personally “Reveal” represents that time of fun, sunshine and innocence which today seem to be so terribly distant. The early years of the 21st century were, in my life, comparatively happy, and when I look back on the idyllic, dream-like summer of 2001, I am pretty sure that this record was the best of the things that made my days pleasurable. So whenever I listen to it, it’s as if I take a trip on a time machine and find myself in my long gone childhood again, enjoying that beautiful music to the full, cocooned in a world of sugar canes, lemonades, seahorses and butterflies. All I need to do is to “allow [myself] to drift and fly away.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: