The trouble with guitar pop bands in the ’90s basically boils down to this: Too many of today’s young musicians grew up worshipping R.E.M. – and for the wrong reasons. Many aspire to the beta-male earnestness that informs both R.E.M.’s jangly songs and their anti-rock star image. But few have matched the group’s ability to use melody, rhythm, and dynamics in smart and exciting ways.
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