Album Review: REM – Collapse into now

Collapse Into Now by REM When you are the author of a substandard marginal music blog it quickly becomes shaky ground when you review a legend, and REM is certainly nothing short of legendary status. But after decades of inactivity you had to wonder if REM still had what it takes to make new music that didn’t seem out of place or antiquated in today’s alternative scene. Rest assured, these alt grandpas still have something to offer the community that they helped to build.

The fact that “Collapse” sounds so current is probably more of a testament to REM’s timeless sound than to the band adapting and evolving to the current times. REM’s sound has never really been a ‘trendy’ one, but one that has been universally appealing for three decades or so. I mean after all, the band broke it big writing folk rock songs during a time when the alt-scene was largely punk/hardcore dominated.The fact that the band has never used any trademark sounds of particular eras helps the album avoid sounding like an 80’s record.

The album begins with a bang. “Discoverer” is probably the best song on the album. It’s a larger than life rocker that tares into a classic REM chorus at the 1:02 mark. That moment is probably the first moment that I got legitimately excited about this record. “Uberlin” is one of those solid/somber folksy tracks that the band has become so known for over the years. It’s probably the best display of Michael Stipe’s unchanged vocals on “Collapse”. His way of rigidly chopping up lyrics with his delivery makes everything more profound. On the other hand “Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter” is a fast paced playful track that stirs up memories of “It’s the End of the World”. While “Collapse” certainly sounds like REM and never seems out of place in today’s musical environment, it probably won’t be one of the most memorable albums in REM’s discography. That being said, it undoubtedly shows that Stipe and company haven’t lost touch, and still no how to write compelling music. All in all things look real promising if these guys start getting into the flow of churning out music again.

 

Collapse into now: 3 out of 5

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