Collapse Into Now

Studio Album by released in 2011
Collapse Into Now's tracklist:
Discoverer
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All the Best
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Uberlin
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Oh My Heart
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It Happened Today
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Every Day Is Yours to Win
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Mine Smell Like Honey
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Walk It Back
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Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter
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That Someone Is You
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Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I
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Blue
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Collapse Into Now review

R.E.M.’s hard path

Making fifteen albums without recording at least two similar songs is one impossible mission. You ca be an infinitely talented author, but it is your destiny to copy yourself to this or that degree. The America outfit R.E.M. is constantly accused of duplicating their own ideas, which wander from one album to another. Those who press these charges do not seem to know the difference that lies between self-copycat and style preservation. In case with R.E.M., we rather deal with the latter. The genre where this old and established tea works does not require making spacious pieces with complex structures or unimaginable virtuous command of instruments bearing something new all the time. Here is the reason why even most popular songs by R.E.M. do have a lot in common, which, however, has never stopped them from becoming true hits. Nevertheless, the lineup changes, namely, the parting of the drummer, who influenced greatly the music of the entire band, all of a sudden made the other musicians lose something that helped them write those very hits. As a trio, R.E.M. took a long and difficult time to get over that loss, during which they recorded a series of mediocre albums, before they delivered Accelerate. This sew a seed of optimism in the huge army of the outfit’s fans, a seed which is likely to grow big and strong after the release of the fifteenth record, Collapse Into Now.

Intense rock and roll and romantic ballads

There is no surprise that the new album by R.E.M. has a lot of things to share with the band’s previous studio effort, their singular considerable accomplishment in many years. Just like Accelerate, Collapse Into Now made guitars louder and brought back the long-forgotten taste of rock and roll. This exactly the way how the album starts as you hear its first two tracks, powerful Discoverer, and All The Best. However, shortly after, you will find out that Collapse Into Now does not support the speed developed by Accelerate. The good half of the new album’s tracks is ballad material. Each of these slow pieces has its own background and atmosphere. Thus, Überlin is apparently influenced by the band’s stay in Berlin during the recording sessions of the album. On My Heart has the same European elegant flavor, thank to accordion and mandolin. Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando And I is rather a reference to the past of R.E.M. with an accent made on acoustic guitars and folk-rock touch. There are a couple of songs staying equally far from sweet pop-ballad, and rock and roll explosive categories. This is what we can say, in particular, about the album’s last and longest piece, Blue, where the band’s singer Michael Stripe teams up with Patty Smith.

Return to the highest level

Collapse Into Now was recorded throughout almost all 2010, the process taking place in three cities on two continents. The musicians repeatedly took breaks as if to make sure they were doing the right thing. This responsible and serious attitude has its reason. Accelerate was made to prove the very fact of the band’s existence, its vitality; and the album that came after showcased the band’s resurrection. R.E.M. made an artful fusion of highlights from their best albums. In connection with this, the main advantages of Collapse Into Now are the variety of tracks and a sweet sensation of nostalgia, while the only considerable disadvantage is incoherence of the material, which produces an impression of listening to a hits collection rather than a new studio album. Nevertheless, the average quality of the record’s tracks and the level of their execution brings this album close to the band’s works of the first half of the nineties, their best works. Only time can tell how much vigor and strength R.E.M. possess and how long they can last like that. But right now they look rather like a band that is warming up before a new breakthrough than a slowly dying mechanism.

Alex Bartholomew (14.03.2011)
Rate review3.05
Total votes - 17