R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now (2023 Vinyl Reissue) (Craft) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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R.E.M.

Collapse Into Now (2023 Vinyl Reissue)

Craft Recordings

Sep 06, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Craft Recordings has done a commendable job at reissuing R.E.M.‘s catalog on vinyl. Already having revisited its early- to mid-‘90s albums Automatic for the People, Monster, and New Adventures in Hi-Fi, they are now taking on the band’s latter-day recordings.

Collapse Into Now was R.E.M.‘s final studio album, its 15th in total, and was originally released in 2011. It found the band critical success, reaching the Top 5 in the U.S., UK, and throughout Europe, but R.E.M. did not tour to support the album, rather letting the statement resonate as its final one as a band. And what a statement it is.

The album, pressed here into 180g vinyl and sounding terrific, features all the hallmarks of R.E.M.‘s 30-plus year career, balancing Monster-leaning rockers (e.g., “Discoverer,” “All the Best,” “Mine Smell Like Honey”) with more delicate ethereal material (“Uberlin,” “Oh My Heart”) and a honest-to-goodness piano-led ballad (“Walk It Back”). A few guests punctuate songs: Eddie Vedder with backing vocals toward the end of “It Happened Today,” Peaches with vocals and Lenny Kaye with guitar on the rocker “Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter,” and Patti Smith with vocals on both “Discoverer” and the spoken word and drone of “Blue.” Michael Stipe’s lyrics are as thought-provoking and oft-inscrutable as ever. But the one constant is the brilliant melodies that flow throughout the record.

Not ones to tip their hand, R.E.M. don’t do much foreshadowing that Collapse Into Now is their swan song, unless one reads perhaps too much into things, but “All the Best” does seem a posthumous, snarky goodbye letter, Stipe singing, “I’ll sing and rhyme/I’ll give it one more time/I’ll show the kids how to do it,” and later “It’s just like me to overstay my welcome.”

They were never ones to overstay their welcome. The strength of Collapse Into Now makes one wish they’d stayed just a bit longer. (www.remhq.com) (www.craftrecordings.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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