More than a decade after R.E.M. released their 15th and final album, Collapse into Now, the record is finally getting a vinyl re-release thanks to Craft Recordings.
Originally put out in 2011, Collapse into Now finds the band back to brilliant form following the release of the equally impressive Accelerate after years of uneven records where the band appeared to be struggling for direction and inspiration. The album starts off with “Discoverer,” a surprisingly autobiographical song by the long secretive Michael Stipe, that also serves as a prelude to what would follow: a dozen compelling indie rock tracks that harken back to the band’s ‘80s and ‘90s heyday.
R.E.M. also bring in some impressive guests to close out their career including Eddie Vedder on “It Happened Today,” Peaches and legendary guitarist Lenny Kaye on the addictively driving “Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter,” and Stipe’s longtime musical hero Patti Smith dueting on “Blue.” Coming full circle (mostly), the last line of the song is the word “discover” repeated again and again. Songs like “It Happened Today” and the upbeat “Mine Smells Like Honey” are among the best songs the band had recorded in almost a decade.
There are hints buried in the lyrics throughout the record that this would be the band’s swan song, but as Stipe is notoriously cryptic lyrically, the Easter eggs are only obvious after the fact. Also, the album cover, the first one in R.E.M.’s decades-long career to feature a full band shot on the cover, shows Stipe waving. It was not until after the band announced their split that Stipe let on it was a conscious decision and the hand signal was actually a goodbye wave.
The album is pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and fans can find limited editions exclusively at REMHQ.com: including a version on Milky Clear vinyl.