R.E.M. / Collapse Into Now

Collapse Into Now

Collapse into Now is the fifteenth studio album by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released on March 7, 2011, in Europe and March 8, 2011, in North America.[1][3] The album is produced by Jacknife Lee and R.E.M.

The Analysis:

Discoverer—-I hate to begin a review with clichés’, but the first thing you notice about this record is a true return to form. The band….sounding phenomenal, delivers the sound of a young and upcoming group full of energy and urgency. Stipe is almost indecipherable at times…reminding you of the early 80’s. The guitar is driving and electric and the energy is contagious. This is simply fantastic!!!

All The Best—-Continuing a more aggressive and throwback sound, this song is another that is delivered with remarkable urgency and energy!!! Stipe has not sounded this invigorated in years…the chorus is huge and catchy as hell. The guitars are electric and full of familiar yet amazingly fresh sounds…this is superb!!!

UBerlin—-This is nice…..allowing you to settle from the electricity of the first two songs….the track features my favorite thing about this band…a remarkable harmony from Mike Mills……just exquisite. The song has an almost acoustic flair to it…allowing you to easily lose yourself in the sound. This is beautiful, introspective and damn near brilliant!

Oh My Heart—-The intro to this track is nice….shifting gears once again and allowing Stipe to have the forefront of the song. the vocal is quiet and the lyrics introspective and a bit full of melancholy. this is brilliant….especially when Mills enters and assists in the harmonies. This would not be the same band without him…I believe he is the great unsung hero of R.E.M. I could never ask for more from this band…quickly becoming one of my favorite new releases!!!

It Happened Today—-Without a doubt, my favorite track on this release. The song features everything that I love about R.E.M….a gentle guitar delivery, a calm and introspective vocal delivery from Stipe and a beautiful and essential harmony from Mills. All of this is piled on top of each other…creating a nice landscape that becomes a beautiful and essential track in the bands catalog!!!

Everyday Is Yours To Win—-Allowing a bit to much melancholy between energetic tracks, this addition seems to almost suck some life from this release for me. I am ready at this point to hear a bit more of an aggressive sound, but I’m not the producer after all!!! Stipe delivers a gentle vocal although it is much more pushed to the back behind the guitar and seems a bit filtered to me. That is not to say this is a bad track, it just suffers a bit from the sameness of the previous 3 songs.

Mine Smell Like Honey—-Returning to the full throttle rock that first established the band, this song is another favorite of mine simply because of the backdrop vocal from Mills. I love this guy…wishing he would record a solo record where he can actually sing a whole song!!!! This is driving, aggressive and full of enough ebbs and flows to keep me interested through the entire track. Stellar!!!!

Walk It Back—-Just as quickly, the electricity ebbs and we are again treated to a nice introspective piece of music that is tender and gentle….bordering on damn near beautiful. I have no complaints about this one…it is featured by a very upfront vocal, a stellar percussion and a guitar effect that only allows me to smile from ear to ear…..superb!!!

Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter—-Again, the band returns to a full throttle song that is delivered with a mania that fills me with energy and joy. This is fast…like The End Of The World!!!! This is classic R.E.M…..full of energy….garbled vocals, handclaps and a vocal from Patti Smith that gives so much depth and addition to the song you will play it over and over again. Fantastic…..delivered with a nice Punk edge!!!!

That Someone Is You—-Gosh I love Mike Mills…..he seems to handle much of the vocals on this track and the result is nothing less than stellar. This has a nice surf pop sound to it that makes me smile and feel great. I dance around the living room like an idiot…enjoying this so much…the best release this band has managed in the last 10 years…just incredible!!!!

Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando And I—-Delivering another introspective type track, this is layered with a nice mellow sound, an interchange between Stipe and Mills and a gentle guitar that is only broken by the slight fuzz that runs through the backdrop of the song. This is brilliant…..only serving to remind us why this band has been around as long as they have. Hail to the KINGS!!!!

Blue—-Beginning with a spoken word type of delivery, this is a clear definition of the classic alternative track if I have ever heard one. When Patti Smith enters the fray once again, you are transported back to a place when intelligent music really mattered. This is a fantastic closer for a pretty damn incredible track. Well worth the wait!!!!

****3/4 out of 5


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