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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

REM - Collapse Into Now

The final instalment of the REM story and a sad day in the life of Doccortex as there'll be no new material. REM have soundtracked my adult life and have never really made a duff album apart from 'Accelerate' and I've viewed every release as a milestone on my journey from school to college to work to middle aged blogger. It's a triumph for the bullies who have for a long time crowed that the band were past their sell by date, but who else can now fill their role as godfathers of independent music? Raidiohead? U2? God help us!

'Collapse Into Now' is a triumphant last stand. It borrows from all their other albums, but sits somewhere between New Adventures, Monster and Out of Time. Lyrically, Stipe recounts past triumphs, experiences and the learning gained from their marathon stint in the music industry. The last line of the album and ultimately their career, 'Collapse into now', is particularly poignant as Michael almost sounds like he's throwing in the towel on the entire venture. It's a moving experience all round and is not unlike the last episode of a long running TV series as it pays its dues to the characters that paved the way for its success.

I find it difficult to dislike REM songs. They all have something to offer, but notable mentions have got to go to the World Leader-ish 'Mine Smell Like Honey', with 'Uberlin' sounding like a lost track from Up, and 'Blue' sounding like the distant cousin of 'E-Bow the Letter.' It's easily the most coherent package since Reveal and possibly their most musically varied album ever.

So it's good bye to the only band that I've thought enough about to buy all their albums in order as they were released. Here's hoping Stipey will do a bit of a Morrisey and vent his bitterness and frustration at the aging process through a solo career. Whatever happens, REM will always be remembered fondly. They stuck to the plan, they produced music on their terms and they never quite got the critical acclaim they deserved. Hopefully the journey is not quite over yet... 


1 comment:

  1. They're a bit like Buffalo Tom in that you know exactly what to expect from a new album and there's normally one good song on each album.