eMusic Review 0
Just two songs into R.E.M.'s 15th — that's right, 15th — studio album, Michael Stipe goes self-referential: "I think I'll sing in rhyme/ I'll give it one more time/ I'll show the kids how to do it, fine." And then in the next verse, "It's just like me to overstay my welcome, man."
Whether or not, 30-plus years into their career, R.E.M. have overstayed their welcome, man, is a source of debate for greybeards whose hearts still skip a beat whenever they hear the phrase "Hib-Tone Single." The arguments break down predictably: that they lost their way after they left I.R.S. (22 years ago!), or that they should have quit when Bill Berry did (about 10 years later). And then there are those — usually shy, occasionally defensive and always self-conscious — who are just happy to have some version of R.E.M. sticking around and releasing modestly satisfying records every couple of years as long as they keep the number of embarrassments — both public and artistic — to a minimum.
It's that last set that Collapse Into Now is made for. Where 2008's lean, snarling Accelerate functioned mainly as a defibrillator, Collapse is more measured; it's diverse and dignified, a controlled… read more »