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Album review: R.E.M. Collapse Into Now

I've been an R.E.M. fan since my brother bought me a copy of "Life's Rich Pageant" back in the mid-1980s. I've got a lot emotionally invested in this band, so when they release a new album, I'm always excited..with reservations. Let's face it..some of the albums that came after "Automatic For the People" were not that good. So when I threw "Collapse Into Now" onto the turntable...or popped the disc in the CD player...I wasn't sure what I was going to hear. My first impression of the record was that I'd heard the songs before. Not in a "oh my goodness they're just churning out the same stuff and giving it new titles" kind of way, but each song seemed to remind me of one of their older tunes from back when I was really into the band (and listening on vinyl, by the way). Uberlin reminds me of "Drive," and "Walk It Back" has a similar feel and message as "Everybody Hurts," with lines including "Reverse and rewind, erase and revise, and try to start again." Not every song gave me a flashback though. There's an eerily soothing lullabye called "Every Day is Yours To Win," and a quirky rhyme-fest with a great title "Alligator-Aviator-Autopilot- Antimatter," that shows the band's rockin' side. And the last song, "Blue," is a musical beat poet collage that features Stipe and his hero Patti Smith, with a background of swirling atmospheric instrumentation. And as weird as that is..it seems to fit. Kind of like an old comfy sweater that you just bought today. -Reviewed by Kitty Dunn

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03/08/2011 12:54PM
Album review: R.E.M. Collapse Into Now
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