1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I wish R.E.M. had quit before this...,
This review is from: Collapse Into Now: Special Edition Digipack (Audio CD)
I got into R.E.M. during the early 2000s, as such I missed their early IRS Years (too young) and missed their Warner Bros years with Berry (didn't really appreciate music as I do now!). When I went to university R.E.M. became the band of my days there. Unfortunately around that time, they had past their prime. Still, of their latter albums I loved 'Up' the most, I thought 'Reveal' was good, but their follow-up around the sun was average. They came back with 'Accelerate' which was another good album and if R.E.M. had finished there I would've been happy. Accelerate seemed to incorporate their jangly guitar sound of 90s era R.E.M. and Michael Stipe seemed to have found his singing voice again, it seemed like a return to form and would've been a fitting (if not amazing) ending to an amazing band. But they followed it up with this album...
...And it sucked!
I sometimes think that people give single star reviews to drag rating down to the level they want rather than because they think it actually deserves a single star. In this case however, I honestly think this album deserved the lowest possible rating, and it pains me to admit it, but this album is awful. Where to begin... Lyrics were never R.E.M.s strongest point, but the lyrics here are meaningless nonsense and only serve to fill a space left by instruments. The melodies (always one of R.E.M. strongest attributes), are average to poor and even border on the self plagiarising. There are two songs that had a good melody and they are 'It Happened Today' and 'Walk it Back'; one of those songs is 90% humming (no lyrics hooray!) and the other is actually quite good, though I've no idea what its about. R.E.M. were never stellar musicians, but they could play well and while the musicianship remains good there's never a great moment on this album. The vocals were another of R.E.M.s finest attributes, but Michael Stipe sounds old and tired here. There's the occasional moment where his vocals are back to the high standards I've come to expect, but as a whole they sound lifeless.
This album is the most disappointed I've ever been in an album. If there is a single good thing to say about this album its the song 'Walk it Back', which is quite good. To make matters worse though, they quit soon afterwards then released another (another!!) best of collection with three songs from this album (Three!!!) and three additional songs of equally poor quality. If you are new to R.E.M. I urge you to ignore R.E.M.s existence at this stage in their career. If you want a best of go with the I.R.S years and In Time. I really have nothing else to say other than I am amazed at the high ratings that this album achieved!