R.E.M.-Collapse Into Now

Oh that difficult 15th album, not something you hear everyday as there is really no development/longevity in today’s music industry and its more about bleeding a quick buck from bands before moving on to next big thing like a child with an attention deficit disorder. So it is very unusual to be writing a review of a band who have been together for thirty years like R.E.M. Sadly after cultdom came the ‘Out of time’/’Automatic for the People’ era which catapulted them to the heady heights of being one of the biggest bands on the planet which is why most things they have done since has been a bit of a let down. Hailed as a return to form ‘Collapse Into Now’ kind of is, but its also a rehash of former glories, opener ‘Discoverer’ is by far the best track they have done since the one off single ‘Great Beyond’ (from ‘Man on the Moon’) but soon after that it changes. On ‘All the best’ they steal their own riff from ‘Turn You Inside Out’ which is then followed by ‘Uberlin’ which is basically ‘Drive’ after a few cups of coffee. From this point the album grinds slowly down into R.E.M. by numbers, which sounds like the R.E.M. of old, but holds nothing new. Diehard fans will hunt me down for saying this and as a massive fan myself I wish I wasn’t saying it either but let’s be honest even by their own standards this isn’t a very good album. No amount of guests, Patti Smith, guitarist Lenny Kaye, Peaches, Eddie Vedder, and The Hidden Cameras frontman Joel Gibb, can hide the fact that aside from the opening song there are no real tunes. At least on albums like ‘Up’ they were trying something different but here they sound like someone doing an impersonation. Maybe the band has some more greatness in them but unfortunately this isn’t it. Shelve under R.E.M. albums you won’t listen too much again like ‘Accelerate’, ‘Reveal’ and ‘Around the Sun’. Collapse into disappointment.

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