Preview of R.E.M.’s “Collapse Into Now”

I’m getting pretty excited about R.E.M.’s upcoming album Collapse  Into Now. 2008’s Accelerate was a return to form, after about 10 years of three abysmal albums (1998’s Up, 2001’s Reveal, and 2004’s virtually unlistenable Around The Sun).  While I loved Accelerate when it came out, its break-neck speed which was refreshing at the time has proved to be its achilles heel.  R.E.M. is at their best when their songs are moody and reflective even in their rockers.  Accelerate in its urgency left little room for the listener to enter into the songs.

But the songs off of Collapse Into Now that have been leaked or officially find R.E.M. entering a territory both familiar and new.  “It Happened Today” sounds like something off of Out Of Time – except better than almost all of the songs combined with the exception of “Losing My Religion”.  Peter Buck’s ringing guitar chords sing through while Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, and guest vocalist Eddie Vedder spend almost two minutes in a wordless harmonizing chant that never ceases to be boring.  “Mine Smell Like Honey” sounds like an Accelerate out-take, with its blasting guitars.  Yet it’s more accessible in its melody, and a reminder than the interchange between Mike Mills and Michael Stipe is a force to be reckoned with.  The psychedelic “Discoverer” might be the weakest of the three tracks I’ve heard, but it’s still very good. Stipe’s chant of “Discoverer!” in the chorus might of course be a live-highlight.

If these three tracks are any indication, Collapse Into Now might be a latter-day R.E.M. classic, as opposed to just a very good R.E.M. album like Accelerate.

“It Happened Today”


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4 responses to “Preview of R.E.M.’s “Collapse Into Now”

  1. remtrestle

    Good preview there..If you’ve heard ‘Uberlin’ which is released on radio in UK and Ireland tomorrow (Jan 24th) you’ll know that of the songs the band have released so far, this is by far the most impressive..and that is saying something considering the quality of material released to date. Look out for the new song tomorrow on youtube/remhq.

    trestle out.

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  3. “Accelerate” was a really, really short album, but I did like that it showed a speed and edge that people had stopped associating with R.E.M.’s repertoire. “Sing for the Submarine” is the song that, for me, is really the standout as time passes.

    Anyways, glad to see another one is on the way, and I’m also liking what I’m hearing so far.

    • I do like “Accelerate”. Funny you should mention “Sing for the Submarine”…it’s not one I was attached to when I first heard the album, but I like it now. Did you hear “Live at the Olympia” where they have working versions of those songs? “Supernatural Superserious” has a completely different bridge and chorus.

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