It must be tough to be in REM right now. With a controversial war raging and a vitally important presidential election imminent, such politically outspoken groups with a broad reach are universally expected to take a leadership role, or at the very least to point a few fingers. Nope, not on Around The Sun anyway. Instead of the caustic anti-war tirades some people may have been hoping for, Michael Stipe can only muster the vague plea of Make It All OK, addressed to nobody in particular, while Peter Buck chips in some hootenanny-style acoustic guitar strumming. There's nothing in this dreary batch of REM by-the-numbers nonsense that even approaches their indictment of network news in Bad Day. Those looking for some real Bush bashing will just have to hang their hopes on the Dixie Chicks.