Collapse Into NowAlbum |
So much for that return to form.
After all the "return to form" hype over 2008's Accelerate, where was the post-Bill Berry R.E.M. supposed to go next? Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills saved some face with the no frills, guitar-driven attack of their last LP following the utter disappointment of 2004's somber Around the Sun, but even with producer Jacknife Lee again manning the boards, Collapse Into Now circles over-familiar territory. There's a modicum of experimenting, most notably on the Patti Smith-featuring "Blue," but in comparison to the group's lengthy back catalog, the new record too often finds itself stuck in a holding pattern. The frequent stabs at balladry drag things down most, though the cantankerous opener "Discoverer" isn't that great either. That's not to say it's entirely terrible: "Mine Smell Like Honey" is a decent reminder of the band's early-90s vulnerability and the dramatic outro of "It Happened Today" features some classic emoting from the still-pretty-distraught Stipe. But when he's spitting lines like, "I cannot tell a lie, it's not all cherry pie" (in the insufferable "Everyday Is Yours To Win"), perhaps it's time to start listening to the cynics who claim the band should've hung ‘em up after Automatic For the People.
|Mine Smell Like Honey|