Released: Mar 7, 2011
Genre: Alternative rock
Label: Warner Bros.
Number Of Tracks: 12
"Collapse Into Now" is a disc that should not be ignored; the craft put into each song mapped out on the album are hard not to replay.
Collapse Into Now
UG Team, on march 08, 2011 2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: To R.E.M. followers, the 2008 creation titled *Accelerate* exceeded expectations and fulfilled appetites longing for that rich electric guitar sound. The release was energetic, pushing both listeners and the band members themselves to believe the group had returned to form. Three years later, *Collapse Into Now* holds the same feeling and injects the same rush with every stimulating hook and stirring melody. Acting as an opener, "Discoverer" pushes to be the sign of R.E.M.'s re-emergence but is in fact only a stepping stone. "All The Best" showcases Michael Stipe and co. getting their rage on with a classic rock beat for a steady two and a half minutes before sliding into "Uberlin", a number fueled by guitarist Peter Buck's acoustic fingerpicking. It doesn't stop there as the humanitarian anthem "Oh My Heart" and the force that is "Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter" continue to show R.E.M.'s ability to flirt with the different areas of music, switching from a teary, soft-spoken tune to a high-octane track in a heartbeat. The drastic shift can play with a listener's mood a bit too much at times, but the glowing chemistry between the Georgia outfit and the hints of vintage punk and 90s' modern rock make sure you're clinging onto the rollercoaster until the ride comes to a stop. // 9
Lyrics: Some may disagree, but it's hard to picture R.E.M. with a different singer or a different voice. *Collapse Into Now*practically cradles diversity and with vocalist Michael Stipe howling out trademark harmonies and vague, sometimes highly complex lines, another vocalist would appear out of character among the group's style. Take the closer "Blue" for example; distortion pummels your ears while Stipe recites spoken-word poetry and then enters Patti Smith, singing her heart out but seeming awkwardly out of place. To say Stipe is irreplaceable isn't a negative note; the 51-year-old is a respected frontman and his talents are evident on the release. "You're going to sing the praises of your fruit," he graciously mutters on "Mine Smell Like Honey" before rolling into casually addictive chorus reminiscent of "Orange Crush", a number, similar to the new material, that's difficult to mimic when drifting into various degrees of emotion. // 8
Overall Impression: Similar to The Tragically Hip and Neil Young, R.E.M. tend to fall into the "old man" category of rock n' roll the young generation rolls their eyes at. *Collapse Into Now* is a disc that should not be ignored; the craft put into each song mapped out on the album are hard not to replay. When R.E.M. become personal, their lyrics and intricate harmonies strike a chord with you while their newly discovered uptempo rock swings create a sense of atonishment and pleasure (*if *you are a rock fan). With no tour in sight and a next album seeming unlikely, *Collapse Into Now* would fit the role of a career closer perfectly. That is if the fifteenth studio record were indeed that. The road ahead seems cloudy, but this collection of alternative rock is simply an ode to what bore a musical style, a mixtape of memorable songs and most of all, a career. // 8
Collapse Into Now
SamLambeth, on march 08, 2011 1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: After 2008's 'Accelerate' offered snippets of rediscovered fire and relevance, it seemed logical that its predecessor would enhance on it - murky production, jangling riffs. Or at least torch the nearest dead letter office, like the good old days. However, Athens trio R.E.M. pride themselves on changing tack on every album, and thus 'Collapse Into Now' sees the band indulge their new found confidence in a set of wildly erratic tracks that just about hinge together.
Peter Buck, the hardest member of the band to please, has been quoted saying the band "haven't been this excited about an R.E.M. album for 20 years", and Mike Mills has also compared the album to 'Automatic for the People'. Alas, the album's muddled nature sees it sit alongside their more obtuse records not sure of which classic REM album it wants to be, and instead settling to emulate all 14 of them. In terms of the overall sound, though, the LP pitches itself between the colours of Accelerate' and the sonic detail of 2001's Reveal'.
Opener 'Discoverer' is a sound so furious a band half they're age couldn't muster, a full throttled rocker that would sound amazing live (shame no live dates are planned), whilst 'All The Best' comes across as one of 'Monster''s more feral moments. // 7
Lyrics: Mills had been quoted that Stipe had turned his attentions from political to personal for the new album, and in part, it's a step forward from the cul-de-sac the band were driving themselves into. 'All the Best' offers two Stipe impressions that have resonance within the record - "it's just like me to overstay my welcome", and "I'll show the kids how to do it". Stipe's lyrics have always been impressive, and they don't let up as they go along. // 7
Overall Impression: Two tracks in, it seems REM have rekindled their fire. However, Uberlin' sounds like a weary retread of Drive', without the raw emotion. Everyday Is Yours to Win' aims for the grandeur of Everybody Hurts' but falls slightly flat, whilst It Happened Today', despite its jangles, never achieves lift off.
When they get it right, though, it works well. That Someone Is You' has the ragged pop formerly contained in Lifes Rich Pageant', and lasts a lean 1 minute 50. Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I' is where the Automatic' comparisons are justified a beautiful, mellow acoustic number, it rivals Monty Got a Raw Deal' or Try Not To Breathe'.
Mike Mills says the album "makes sense as a whole", and in part, he's right. It's tempting to call the album a consolidation of the band's strengths. Tempting, but not quite accurate. There's shades of 'Reckoning' ('Mine Smell Like Honey'), 'New Adventures In Hi Fi' ('Blue') and 'Out of Time' ('Oh My Heart'), it offers something for every R.E.M. fan. But in reality, it offers more a collection of decent tracks that aren't sure of where they're going. And, 15 albums in, maybe that's a fitting view of the trio themselves.
It is still decent though! // 7