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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accelerate into now
Now that the dust has settled a little from the release of this album, it may be possible to take a slightly more dispassionate view of it. First the facts; clearly it does sound like other R.E.M. albums. It is an R.E.M album after all, and I don't recall The Beatles ever making much of an effort to sound like The Rolling Stones. But aimless re-tread it most definitely is...
Published on 1 April 2011 by Bungliemutt

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars REM's Greatest Bits!
REM have reached a point when every release is declared as "A return to form!" by fans,with an odd edge of desperate hope. It's a sad state of affairs when a band and its followers find themselves constantly looking over their collective shoulders, but it comes to all great bands, and REM certainly have known greatness. While their latest isn't the annoying, posturing...
Published on 21 July 2011 by Adam K.


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accelerate into now, 1 April 2011
By 
Now that the dust has settled a little from the release of this album, it may be possible to take a slightly more dispassionate view of it. First the facts; clearly it does sound like other R.E.M. albums. It is an R.E.M album after all, and I don't recall The Beatles ever making much of an effort to sound like The Rolling Stones. But aimless re-tread it most definitely is not. A better and more cohesive set of songs than Accelerate it most certainly is. We amateur pundits could argue until the cows come home over which former R.E.M. album(s) Collapse Into Now most closely resembles, but the argument is fruitless (Out Of Time, for my money, if you're interested). What is important is that this is a good R.E.M. album. In fact, a very good one.

'Discoverer', 'Uberlin', 'Oh My Heart' and 'Mine Smell Like Honey' are cracking R.E.M. songs, bearing all the best hallmarks of the band; melody, harmony and jangling guitars aplenty. In 'It Happened Today', lightweight lyrics aside (ironic, who knows?) R.E.M. have delivered the best soaring harmonies and chorus since the sublime 'Texarcana'. 'Blue', with its Patti Smith vocals and feedback guitar, is reminiscent of the wondrous 'Country Feedback'. But all of them are strong songs in their own right; their similarity to past glories being just that, glorious. No one ever likened anything on Around The Sun to R.E.M.'s previous work, and with good reason (although that album is nowhere near as execrable as popular opinion would have us believe).

So there you have it. Two decent albums in a row. The band sounds like R.E.M. again. Thank heavens for that; they have never really sounded like anyone else. They have rediscovered decent songwriting, soaring harmonies and loud jangling guitars, and they sound like they had a great time doing it. How many other American bands from the 80s are knocking out material of this quality after 25 years? Buy it, and enjoy.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Birthday R.E.M., 16 Mar 2011
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Any which way you look at it a new R.E.M. album is always an
event of sufficient importance that we have to sit up and listen!
With a band who have been with us in the listening world for
such a long time it's hard to resist the urge to look backwards
over our shoulder and compare each album with what has gone before.
There's a big, brave body of work stretching out behind them like
a wild wave on which we have surfed with them across three decades!

'Collapse Into Now' is a fine album (some decidedly dodgy guitar
tunings nothwithstanding here and there!) A very fine album in fact.
There are some good songs here but there are also a handful of great
ones. I've always been able to take or leave the band's more ribald
electric offerings and although the opening two tracks 'Discover'
and 'All The Best' certainly demonstrate that there is still life
after middle-age they didn't exactly blow my socks off into the ether.

When we get round to the gloriously rich simplicity of 'Oh My Heart'
and the joyous folksy melancholy of 'It Happened Today', however, we
feel the blood begin to flow more quickly through our veins!
(In Mr Stipes hands even a phrase as potentially lame as "Hip Hip
Hooray" sounds as though it might have a deeper philosophical meaning!)

'Every Day Is Yours To Win' is simply beautiful too. An R.E.M. anthem
to stand shoulder to shoulder with their most memorable inventions.

The final track 'Blue' is a big song. A veritable monolithic stone
ziggurat of a song! World-weary and weather-beaten; cloak trailing
behind it in the mud and grime of another failing century, it has
a rough and ready majesty strong enough to make the Earth tremble
beneath our feet. Pagan Poet Queen Patti Smith is here to share
the moment; her doleful intonation of the words lending an exquisite
gravitas to this truly stunning transcendental musical edifice. Sublime.

There is more to love than to leave on 'Collapse Into Now'.
Messrs Stipe, Buck and Mills have delivered a true classic.

Essential.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why does everyone hate post Automatic REM?, 12 Mar 2011
Collapse Into Now is a very good album. On its own merit. I have read a lot of reviews which obsess about the disappointing quality of REM albums post Automatic. The run from Murmur to Automatic is indeed wonderful (although I think Out of Time, despite containing some of their best songs, is overrated) but I can say honestly that I also love Up and Reveal. Monster has some fantastic moments, New Adventures was a great collection of songs that didn't cohere as an album. Around the Sun remains the only blemish on their career to date and I'm not even going to try to justify it. Accelerate was a welcome blast of fresh air (much like Pearl Jam's Backspacer) but its nice to hear REM returning to a more relaxed style on Collapse. Discoverer is a promising opener and the album is consistently rewarding throughout. Uberlin is a particular highlight - a beautiful song that gives me goosebumps - remember how REM have an uncanny, inexplicable way of doing that at times? So, no its not Murmur or Automatic and it all sounds just how you imagine REM should sound - but you know what? I keep listening to it. It finishes and I hit play again. And again. And I love Stipe's voice. And the music just works! And God bless Mike Mills with those harmonies! And these are great songs! Enjoy them. And long live REM!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars REM's Greatest Bits!, 21 July 2011
By 
Adam K. "adam k" (London, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
REM have reached a point when every release is declared as "A return to form!" by fans,with an odd edge of desperate hope. It's a sad state of affairs when a band and its followers find themselves constantly looking over their collective shoulders, but it comes to all great bands, and REM certainly have known greatness. While their latest isn't the annoying, posturing squall of their last, ("Accelerate") it can't seem to help but harken back to past glories. So its opening song, "Discoverer" borrows the riff from "Finest Worksong", "Uberlin" is a variant on their "Drive" mode, "That Someone Is You" crams in pop-culture references into a hyperactive blur a la "End of the World As We Know It" (while also sounding oddly like "Mine Smell Like Honey" from earlier on the disc). "Alligator...", meanwhile, stomps around nonsensically and rather irritatingly, "Me, Marlon Brando..." revisits the wistful "Monty Got a Raw Deal" (50s film icons, always a good source of inspiration) and the album wraps up with "Blue", which re-visits "E-bow the Letter", complete with Patti Smith vocals. The end result is one of those albums that is reassuring more than anything else: REM doing "business as usual" and showing their fans that they've still "got it". And to an extent, they do. This is quite an enjoyable album, as you get so many bits of REM for the price of one, and there are some genuinely nice songs on here (I have a soft spot for "It Happened Today" and "Walk It Back", personally). To say it's their best album since...well, whatever... is to damn it with faint praise, given how poor their recent output has been. And, while it's disappointing that REM aren't straying at all far from their comfort zone in middle age, it's paradoxically quite comforting that they can still be relied upon to do that REM thing when called upon. A return to form? Hardly. It's a decent re-tread job, but their glory days are behind them and, as long as they keep looking back they always will be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A return of sorts to what made them who they are, but only a few new twists, 24 Sep 2011
By 
John J. Martinez (Chicago, Illinois, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Collapse Into Now (MP3 Download)
R.E.M. has my total respect. I have been an off-and-on fan for over 25 years. My first experience was the wonderful "Green," and as I was living in seattle at the time, it will forever remind me of the Crocodile Cafe, a new alt band moping around 5th Ave and Pike called Nirvana, and so much more.

It was with real glee that I was handed a copy of R.E.M's newest release and their fifteenth album. I have followed their changes, both personal and with personnel.

This album is lush, loud (but the right kind of loud), straightforward and more.

12 songs totalling just over 40 minutes:

1. Discoverer - Michael Snipe's vocals have never sounded better as he takes us on his and his bandmates journey once again, taking us by the hand into the craziness of life, and sometimes it's not as bad as we think it is. Patti Smith also jumps in on harmony, and it only sounds greater with her in this fast rocker.

2. All the Best - the sound is fresh and wonderful, a bit rushed but they tell you that they as a band have done it all and they aren't going anywhere - the kids don't really know, so we'll just have to show them how to.

3. Überlin - the lyrics are just as sing-song and still make me have to listen to it a few times - the guitars here are somewhat buried, but the harmonies will lift you off the ground. Eat some breakfast, don't forget us, we're right here, and we always have been...

4. Oh My Heart - If Starship built this city on rock and roll, R.E.M. came back after a long journey with a heavy heart to help rebuild it after the disasters of power pop princesses, Autotune and Beatles car commercials. Will they save us? I hope to God so...

5. It Happened Today - Michael and the boys took the brunt of the pain and want you to know it's okay to breathe, and the parade is holding them up in their arms... wonderful harmonies by wonderful tunesmiths Michael and guest vocalist Eddie Vedder.

6. Every Day Is Yours to Win - a wonderful slow ballad that reminds me so much of "Everybody Hurts," but not so much the message, but it's a grocery list of laments and ideas and promises, but in the end as they've always said, it's in your hands, and you decide how you shape the world... is this so wrong?

7. Mine Smell Like Honey - a crunchy bit of rock slapped down in the middle of this album, and sometimes the search is better than the finding of what's really out there.

8. Walk It Back - one of the most direct songs on the album, and will be in heavy rotation on many alt stations nationwide, guaranteed. He wants you to know that it's okay to want the things you've given to others to sometimes come back to you faster than anyone else may want it to happen. Blessings, miracles, magical events, karma, they do come back, but at their pace.

9. Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter - a real rocking return to the R.E.M. of old, it's the 1990's all over, and guest vocalist techno rocker Peaches perfectly throws out the nonsensical and wild lyrics with a gusto I haven't heard on an R.E.M. album in a while...

10. That Someone Is You - God, I thought it was The Replacements from 1992 all over again, but this only tells me that their sound, THEIR SPEEDY GUITAR GEORGIA SOUND, has been copied by so many others I thought it was someone else! Wow, they sound so good...!

11. Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I - this song once again takes me to "Man In The Moon," and it's another lost ballad to once glorious times, and people who defined the kind of effortless cool and strength at the speed of sound that's gone, gone, gone, and only the boys can make it worth listening to.

12. Blue - Patti Smith, who keeps Michael and the rest of the band centered as everything else unravels in a miked up background, sings against a digital wind and a symphony of words, guitar and drums swirling around her. She is grounded, and the storm rises and flows, and the album ends on a whirlwind of what-might-have-beens, piano and repetitive words, and finally background vocal noises and guitar effects, endlessly fading into the blackness of the album.

I was exhausted after listening to this, and you will be too. It's breezy, forces you to stop and listen, to take a sonic journey and stay the whole way through. I was a bit disappointed that they are relying on past glories (and sound) to produce still inventive music, but I have looked past worse things from other bands. If you've got a great formula, and it works, use it!

Out of 5 stars I'm giving it 4 - I have to be honest, I have heard a few of these songs before wearing the same suit, but I still say buy it for it's use of sound, the usage of their singsong lyrics, and please give it a listen. Discover it for yourself and you might find it's a journey worth taking.

(Thanks for reading and please check out my other reviews, and don't forget to leave feedback!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Swan Song, 23 Sep 2011
By 
robotfish "robotfish" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So REM are no more, and this is what they have left us with. It's a lovely album, whilst not top drawer (New Adventures, Pageant, Murmur, AFTP) it is still one of the best records you'll hear this year.

The album starts stridently with Discoverer and All The Best (my favourite REM track for years and years) before slowing down into a sumptious middle section. The songs here are all reminiscent of glories past (a touch of Daysleeper here, a touch of Drive there) before revving up again with Mine Smell Like Honey and the silliness of Alligator...(the first irreverent song they've done since Out of Time I reckon) and the Monster-esque That Someone Is You. Like Automatic, they save two pearls for last. Me, Marlon Brando is beautiful - a lovely lilting tune that demands repeat listening. And then the finale. Its a mash-up of E-Bow and Country Feedback. It's called Blue, and it's a magnificent end to a magnificent career. When the chiming guitars that reprise Discoverer come in at the end it brings a lump to my throat every time.

I was looking forward to hearing this live though. Bummer. Maybe the reunion tour in 2015! Here's hoping.

Lastly - thanks REM, you were my Beatles. I'll miss you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I know, it's only Rock'n Roll, but I like it!, 29 Aug 2011
Fifteen years after "New Adventures In Hi-Fi" and after 4 albums, each of them supposed to be "the best of our career" and each of them becoming a new deception for me, yes, even accelerate, at last R.E.M. returns to the right place. It's not "Green", "Out Of Time", "Automatic For The People", "Monster" or "New Adventures In Hi-Fi" but it seems that after 4 false attempts a three legged dog is finally a dog. Maybe some of the songs sound a bit like other of their previous albums, maybe, but I like them. Maybe sometimes we expect too much of just a piece of music named song and it may happen somehow some bands are trapped in this question when, actually, it's just as simple as: I know, it's only Rock'n Roll, but I like it! I also think the album works quite well as a whole and contains really powerfull tunes, rocky and catchy, but not sticky. Also, there are some slow quiet songs but this time they work, it's not a simple sucession of sad depressing tunes. I wonder if I will have to wait for another fifteen years to get again a real good cd that deserves the name R.E.M. on its sleeve. A final wish, I've missed the availability of an special edition containing the footage of the concert held at Hansa Studios, of which some is shown on the web. I like the intimate atmosphere of this event.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning album!, 10 Mar 2011
Without any reference to previous albums or the age of this band, this is an absolutely beautiful, amazing album with the exception of only two songs in my opinion which are just average (All the best and Me, Marlon Brando..)but I've given it 5 stars anyway because the other ten tracks are so outstanding.

Highlights for me are Uberlin, Oh My Heart, Everyday is Yours to Win and Walk it Back which has the loveliest, most vulnerable vocal from Michael Stipe since Nightswimming (oops..can't help referencing previous albums).

I think this is the kind of album with something for everyone, fast paced rockers, gorgeous ballads, experimental stuff (Blue) and lighthearted fun (That Someone is You, Alligator...)

Now, with reference to their previous work and their age (apparently the band is 30 years old!), I find it amazing that a band can produce something this stunning so late in their career. It's true, there is nothing groundbreaking in this album, it is not a new direction for the band, but neither is it a repeat of their older stuff. Collapse into Now has a warm familiarity to it which is very welcome - REM are making the kind of beautiful music they are so good at and it makes me smile.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars R.E.M. - Collapse averted, 7 Mar 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
3.5 stars
Can we 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 Mills sentiments since they amount to one of the strongest opening sets to a REM album in many years. "Discoverer" is a truly excellent rock song full of great chunking Peter Buck chords and with Michael 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. The New Orleans floods and Hurricane Katrina provide the backdrop to the superb single "Oh my heart" a waltz like song which henceforth should be made the recovering cities unofficial national anthem.

So a good start which is followed by a more variable mid section. The melodic "It happened today" with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder providing backing vocals is fine if a bit repetitive. "Everyday is yours to win" and "Walk it back" are again old style REM ballads and the beauty of latter in particular grows on every listen. Its from here however that significant faults begin to emerge the most obvious being that you become increasingly aware of the appalling Jacknife Lee production that is so "in your face" with every instrument pumped up to Spinal Tap Volume 11 it often destroys any hint of subtlety or nuance. In addition there are couple of songs here which Buck should have insisted that Stipe keep them for an album of B Sides of rarities not least the very silly duet with Peaches "Alligator, Avaitor, Autopliot, Antimatter" and the REM by numbers approach set out in "Mine smell like honey". Stipe also needs to end his never-ending quest to find the distant relative of the "End of the world as we know it and I feel fine" and "That someone is you" again falls into this category.

REM do have a track record of leaving their best songs until last and who can forget the brilliant trio of Man on the moon, Nightswimming and Find the river on "Automatic" While "Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I" and "Blue" are not in that league but they are a strong conclusion to the album. The first is one of those aching ballads which Stipe nails proving that on his day he remains a great songwriter and it is one of his best songs since "I'll take the rain" "Blue' alternatively is hewn from the same rock which carved out "Country Feedback" the penultimate song on "Out of Time". The latter is one of my favourite REM songs and like it "Blue" has one of those spoken Stipe lyrics over distorted guitar with Stipe's enlisting again the help of his great friend Patti Smith to provide a charismatic vocal accompaniment. The song fades out by reprising the riffs of opener "Discoverer", not before Stipe however announces, "that this is my time and I am thrilled to be alive". On the evidence of the bulk of this album it's a sentiment that can be endorsed by all good music fans.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's really very good indeed..., 10 Mar 2011
By 
AJ (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
Top album. I've been playing it non-stop for a few days now and it really has everything that's good about a great REM album.

Discoverer kicks it off in style with probably as strong an opening as they've had since Feeling Gravity Pull on Fables of the Reconstruction. Uberlin, Oh My Heart, and It Happened Today are as good a 3 song sequence as you'll find on any REM album. Terrific emotive numbers that have that classic REM feel to it and the power to move. Blue ends the album in a Country Feedback / E Bow The letter vein - a real tour de force that is absolutely beautiful.

Shame this album probably won't attract any news fans as it genuinely deserves to. It holds together really well as a 12 track album with a mixture of slow and fast paced tracks that has something for everyone. REM will always be judged against their past work which is pretty tough to follow considering their first 8 albums are near perfection. Collapse into Now is however an excellent album definitely up their with their best post 1991 work - buy it and be glad they're still around.
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