It happened today! After a barrage of free downloads and video previews leading up to the release of their 25th studio album, [lastfm]R.E.M.[/lastfm]fans finally have access to the whole thing. Released today, Collapse Into Now is a solid record, carrying over the energy of their 2008 disc Accelerate while stretching out in other, sometimes unfamiliar directions. 95% of the record was recorded live with at least most the band playing together in one room and includes guests such as [lastfm]Eddie Vedder[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Patti Smith[/lastfm].
The band stuck with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jacknife Lee[/lastfm] as producer (who they worked with on Accelerate) for this relevant (and very listenable) album filled with urgency, feeling and passion.
After some missteps on past albums, the opening track, “Discoverer” reminds you why R.E.M. should be on par with anthem-machines like [lastfm]U2[/lastfm]. The band has announced that they have no plans to tour behind this album, which is a bummer since the album is packed with rockers built for stadiums.
The first single, “Mine Smell Like Honey” encapsulates the alt-rock sound they first forged in the 1990s. Peter Buck’s guitar work reminds me of ’94s Monster with jolts of hi-fi garage rock. Buck told NME, ”I’ve always tended to not say it’s the greatest record we’ve ever done because that’s what everyone does… But this feels like every song all the way through is great.”
“Oh My Heart” is Michael Stipe’s quiet and meditative tribute to New Orleans, singing, “This place is the beat of my heart.”
The folk-rock downtempo acoustic ballad, “Uberlin” struts with acoustic guitar, organ and mechanical percussion.
To close out the album, Stipe recruits one of his old friends and musical heroes [lastfm]Patti Smith[/lastfm] on “Blue.” The disc ends with a reprise of “Discoverer” to bring the whole project full circle.
There have been rumors that Collapse Into Now will be R.E.M.’s final album. Though they have no plans to tour, the band is moving forward, making mini-movies directed by greats like James Franco. Stipe explained his goal is to give a cohesive “album” feel to a generation of listeners who have been brought up on digital downloads. [View Here]
2. All The Best
4. Oh My Heart
5. It Happened Today
6. Every Day Is Yours To Win
7. Mine Smell Like Honey
8. Walk It Back
9. Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter
10. That Someone Is You
11. Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I
You can purchase the the album on iTunes.