Sunday, March 13, 2011

CD Review: Collapse Into Now

Title: Collapse Into Now (Amazon, Wikipedia)
Artist: R.E.M. (Official, Facebook, MySpace,, AllMusic, Wikipedia)

I think it is safe to say that most long time R.E.M. had become resigned to the fact that the band’s best days and music was behind them. Since the departure of drummer Bill Berry in 1997, R.E.M. just wasn’t the same band. Sure there were a handful of good songs on the albums that they released since then, but none of them would be considered great albums. Then the band released Accelerate.

2008’s Accelerate was a surprisingly good album and easily the band’s best work since Berry’s departure. Most conversations that I’ve had with people about Accelerate were pretty similar in that everyone agreed that the album was good but we were all a bit cautious in that proclamation. It was almost like we’ve all been so disappointed by the band for nearly a decade that we’re unsure if we can allow ourselves to actually enjoy an R.E.M. record. I suspect that many long time fans of the band will have this type of reaction to Collapse Into Now.

Collapse Into Now is another surprisingly good record. That is now two in a row for R.E.M. Does this bode well for the future musical prospects of this once beloved band? I certainly hope so. I first heard the album online (thank you NPR) and liked it enough to go and pick it up the day it came out. Since then I haven’t listened to the album non-stop but I have given it a spin enough time to know that it is a good record. Collapse Into Now harkens back to the days of Out of Time and Automatic for the People at times and picks up where Accelerate left off at others. At this point there aren’t any songs that really stand out to me but that probably has more to do with the fact that I am still absorbing the album.

If you are an old school fan of R.E.M. but haven’t gotten one of their albums in years, then at the very least you should listen to the album once, if not just take a chance and spend the $15 or so to get the CD. It’s honestly worth at least listening to, if not adding to your collection.

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