Collapse Into Now
REM’s 15th album Collapse Into Now opens with “Discoverer”, in which Michael Stipe discovers the joys of cocktails and laughter (“Remember that vodka espresso night of discovery / Remember that? Laughing! Discovery!”) as Peter Buck and Mike Mills seize the moment with ringing riffs and pounding rhythms.
It’s a lively way to kick off the band’s 30th anniversary celebrations, which continue with “All the Best”’s electric memories of early-1980s Hüsker Dü, a formative REM influence, and the ecstatic “It Happened Today”. But then the party takes an embarrassing turn with the appallingly named “Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter”, which finds Stipe shouting nonsense in a duet with Peaches. The rest of us shuffle our feet and look at the floor.
Collapse Into Now has its moments, but there’ll be sore heads in the morning – not least because of producer Jackknife Lee’s heavily compressed, too-loud production style.