Collapse Into Now

R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now

The pre-release hype trumpeted that R.E.M.'s fifteenth studio album was a return to their classic sound. If you're a fan, my advice to you is to ignore that suggestion. Unless you consider
Automatic for the People as classic Stipe and company, you're setting yourself up for a letdown. There are a lot more acoustic oriented numbers, and Peter Buck's mandolin makes a return appearance. But apart from the opener "Discoverer," which evokes sonic memories of "Finest Worksong," and Mike Mills throwback harmonies on the unfortunately titled "Mine Smell Like Honey," the only thing that really evokes the bands mid-to-late eighties period is that they've put a lot more reverb on Michael Stipes voice.

It took me a couple of listens, but once I got past the idea of what the reviews said this album should be, I'm able to really enjoy it for what it is... a good album by one of America's best bands. As a friend of mine put it, there is a little something for everyone. "All The Best" picks up where
Accelerate left off, and though the thought of Eddie Vedder basically yodeling might sound like a nightmare, it works great on the "Let It Be"-esque code to "It Happened Today." Other guest appearances include Patti Smith on "Blue" (the bastard lovechild of "Belong" and "E-bow The Letter"), and Peaches on "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter." So if the distortion riddled blasts of their last studio effort was a little too Monster-esque for your tastes, Collapse Into Now might be just what you need to Athens, GA's finest back into your good graces.


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