This disc was supposed to be the one that put REM back on top. After being one of the biggest bands in the earlier nineties, they were no longer at the top. The disc failed to make much of an impact and came and went quite quickly.
Despite being deemed somewhat of a failure, I quite like this disc. It is far from ground-breaking and a lot of the songs sort of sound the same, but I enjoy them. All of the songs are quite mellow, ranging from ballads to slowed down rock songs.
Leaving New York was the first single and one of the strongest cuts. Other highlights include Around the Sun, Wanderlust, and I Wanted to be Wrong. I really enjoy the song The Outsiders, except for the end which features a rap by Q-Tip. For me, REM and rap just don't mix. There is a non-album version of this song which features Michael Stipe basically reading the rap part, and I much prefer that version of the song.
While the band has done a lot of experimenting with their sound in the past, on this album they just seem comfortable with themselves and are trying to make some strong material. I know that many people do not care for this album, but I do.