Review of the final album from legendary alternative rock icons R.E.M.
By Carter Bagley
My first artist series comes to an end with the review of R.E.M.’s final album fittingly titled “Collapse Into Now”. The legacy of this band is going to be that of legend someday, compared to most bands their discography is huge and pretty flawless despite a few missteps. Either way back in 2011 R.E.M. knew they made a great record with “Accelerate” and knew it was time for the long-running group had to come to an end. They decided to make one final album to go out on and it had to a good one if it was going to be the last from a band that brought us “Murmur”, “Document”, and “Automatic For The People”. I’d say in many ways they succeeded and ended up delivering an album that’s entirely enjoyable and emotional. It start off strong with the one-two punch of the energetic and exciting opening songs “Discoverer” and “All The Best”. At this point the record is similar in tone and sound to “Accelerate” which gives it a fun opening vibe.The album isn’t all the way like that as the previous R.E.M. albums have had a hard time blending themes and emotions together like their earlier albums did so well. “Accelerate” may have been fun and enjoyable but it sort of lacked a depth while other albums like “Up” and “Around The Sun” were just too slow and overdramatic at a lot of parts. “Überlin” is a highlight on the album and sounds like something off one of their older classic albums with proficient vocals and lyrics from the band. The album continues to be extremely impressive with the lovely performed and melodic “Oh My Heart” and “It Happened Today” which are both very good songs. “Every Day Is Yours To Win” isn’t quite as good as some of the others but the way Michael Stipe delivers the vocals coupled with the beautiful instrumentation makes it have a real emotional vibe. The songs “Mine Smell Like Honey” and”Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter” are probably the worst songs on the album but they’re still very listenable power pop. The latter is pretty much lyrical nonsense almost in an Oasis “Supersonic” way but not done nearly as well. “That Someone Is You” is very melodic and pop rock sounding almost more like Better Than Ezra and Gin Blossoms than R.E.M. though that’s not a fault. Stipe’s lyrics are the best on the songs “Walk It Back” and “Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I” with the latter sounding like lyrics from early R.E.M. albums that make little sense but still convey a real point to them. The final song “Blue” does an amazing job at closing this album and caps off the career of one of the greatest and most consistent rock bands of all time. The album mixes celebratory fun with sorrow and that’s what makes it so good. The entire album feels real and genuine and mixes together many R.E.M. sounds and qualities from past and present to give a strong goodbye to their entire career. As R.E.M. collapsed into now they left one final great album that many people should give their attention to, for it deserves all of it.
Highlights: Überlin, Oh My Heart, It Happened Today, That Someone Is You, Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I
Lowlights Lesser Highlights: All The Best, Mine Smell Like Honey, Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter