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4.1 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

R.E.M. (singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, and bassist Mike Mills) mark the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. For COLLAPSE INTO NOW, the follow-up to 2008's ACCELERATE, R.E.M. re-teamed with Grammy Award-winning producer Jacknife Lee who recorded the album in New Orleans at the Music Shed and in Berlin at the famed Hansa Studios. Additional recording and mixing was done at the venerable Blackbird Studio in Nashville. COLLAPSE INTO NOW also features some very special guests: Patti Smith, guitarist Lenny Kaye, Peaches, Eddie Vedder, and the Hidden Cameras frontman Joel Gibb.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 2016)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Concord Records
  • ASIN: B004G5ZXVQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,243 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Adam Pawlowski on March 9, 2011
Format: Audio CD
It might be presumptuous of me, but Peter Buck has always struck me as the kind of guy I could have a beer with and talk for hours about music and whatever else. Over the last, say, two decades or so, he's gotten into a habit of touting the latest R.E.M. release as "our best one yet"-- although even he knew to hold his tongue when Around The Sun was released. A few weeks ago, I read an interview with Peter where he talked about driving home after the Nashville sessions, listening to the finished mixes of Collapse Into Now, and thinking to himself: "song for song, this is our best album yet."

Well, it isn't, but Peter's enthusiasm is not entirely without foundation. (In my opinion, anyway.) I didn't care much for Accelerate, and especially disliked Around The Sun, but this album strikes me as the most effortless and fun recording R.E.M. has released in a while, for once largely avoiding the ponderous quality that has begun sneaking into their music around 1998. I instantly enjoyed Discoverer, Uberlin, That Someone Is You, Oh My Heart, and Walk It Back. Heck, I even enjoy the unabashed cheesiness of Every Day Is Yours To Win. So sue me. There's not one song I really dislike, in fact, although the closing number Blue seems like a hasty shotgun marriage between Country Feedback and E-Bow The Letter, and is to my ears not as successful as the band probably thinks it is.

Finally, I briefly want to address the mastering engineer for this project, a vulgar audio criminal who calls himself Stephen Marcussen. Listen to me, dude: when the Loudness Wars are over, and you're put on trial for your atrocities, for your ruthless limiting and for your utter lack of subtlety with dynamics, and when they finally sentence you to the (musical) chair, I will be there to laugh in your face.
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Format: Audio CD
3.5 stars
Lets start this review with three basic facts about R.E.M that if accepted will make us all feel much more content and happier.

1. Bill Berry left REM some time ago.
2. The band have already recorded their best albums and with "Murmur" and "Automatic for the people" behind them they will never make better music.
3. Some of their albums since Berry's departure have not been very good and in particular "Around the Sun" could be used for Frisbee practice.

Thus we have REMs 15th album "Collapse into now" which Mike Mills has trailed with the enticing hint that "It makes sense as a whole the same way that Automatic For The People did." And yet it has already been denounced by some critics as a sure sign of a band "stranded between somewhere between pointlessness and real inspiration" (John Harris in Q Mag). So let's ignore the verbal's and judge the songs and see where that takes us. As a starting point after listening to the first four songs it's hard to disagree with Mill's sentiments since they amount to one of the finest opening sets to a REM album in many a long year. The blazing "Discoverer" is a truly excellent rock song full of great chunking Peter Buck chords and with Stipe spitting out the opening lines "Hey baby/This is not a challenge/It just means that I don't love you as much as I always said I did". Next up is the ferocious attack of "All the best" with its great centerpiece line "lets show the kids how to do it fine"; it is followed by "Uberlin" which does echo "Drive" and taps into that instantly recognizable classic REM sound harking back to the "Reckoning" era sound and is a lovely lament and a great Stipe vocal.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The one thing that mystifies me the most about comments like "R.E.M. are returning to form" is the implication that they LOST their form in the first place. Sure, the post-Berry albums have not been anywhere near as strong as their earlier work. No disputing that. But the worst album they've put out has been Around the Sun, which was definitely uneven and mediocre but still had a few flashes of brilliance (most particularly "Final Straw," which was a full-on political slam on par with any track from their mid-80s discography). The same can be said of Reveal or Up. The cohesiveness of Murmur or Automatic for the People might not have been there, but there were still some very fine songs produced during that period. If the past ten years have been R.E.M. at their worst, then that's actually a mark in their favor, because their worst is still better than most if not all of their peers have been able to put together.

Which brings us to Collapse Into Now. I am not going to waste anybody's time trying to compare it to Automatic or Murmur or anything else. You draw your own conclusions. What I will say is that this album has that cohesion that their recent albums (even Accelerate, which was on the whole a very strong outing) have lacked. The tracks flow together. All of the various stylistic masks the band has worn as they've tried to find their way artistically since Bill Berry's departure coalesce in a natural, unforced way (more than once I've read reviews that say it sounds like a greatest hits album, and that is not an unfair assessment). Peter Buck alternates from full-out feedback-driven rockers to the softer, janglier style that defined R.E.M. in their prime, occasionally throwing in a few chords off a mandolin for good measure.
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