Collapse into Now

Collapse into Now
Collapse into Now
A black silhouette of R.E.M. (from left to right: Peter Buck, Michael Stipe, and Mike Mills) stand in front of a white background with yellow and orange lines. The words "R.E.M. / COLLAPSE / INTO / NOW" are written in black.
Studio album by R.E.M.
Released March 7, 2011
Recorded November 2009 – 2010 at Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin, Blackbird Studios in Nashville, and The Music Shed in New Orleans[1][2]
Genre Alternative rock
Length 41:05
Language English
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Jacknife Lee and R.E.M.
R.E.M. chronology
Collapse into Now
Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982–2011
Singles from Collapse into Now
  1. "Mine Smell Like Honey"
    Released: January 18, 2011
  2. "Überlin"
    Released: January 25, 2011
  3. "Oh My Heart"
    Released: February 1, 2011

Collapse into Now is the fifteenth and final studio album by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released on March 7, 2011 on Warner Bros. Produced by Jacknife Lee, who has previously worked with the band on Accelerate (2008), the album was preceded by the singles, "Mine Smell Like Honey", "Überlin" and "Oh My Heart".

Regarding the album's title, vocalist Michael Stipe noted, "It's the final thing I sing, the last song on the record before the record goes into a coda and reprises the first song. In my head, it's like I'm addressing a nine-year-old and I'm saying, 'I come from a faraway place called the 20th century. And these are the values and these are the mistakes we've made and these are the triumphs. These are the things that we held in the highest esteem. These are the things to learn from."[3]

As of September 2011, the album has sold 142,000 copies in the United States.[4] Following the band's break-up, in September 2011, bassist Mike Mills noted that the album's lyrical content contained "indications" that the band were planning to split.[5]


Recording and music

R.E.M. recorded the album in four different cities—Berlin, Germany; Nashville, Tennessee; and New Orleans, Louisiana, plus demoing at Jackpot Studios in Portland, Oregon—with breaks between to write and rewrite songs. The album features guest appearances by Patti Smith, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Peaches, Lenny Kaye and Joel Gibb.[2][6]

In comparing the record to the band's previous release, Accelerate, bassist Mike Mills has said the band "wanted this new one to be more expansive. We wanted to put more variety into it and not limit ourselves to any one type of song. There are some really slow, beautiful songs; there are some nice, mid-tempo ones; and then there are three or four rockers."[2] He has spoken about the album's theme, saying: "It's more of a personal record than a political one. Current events do come into our mind when we write, but the themes here are more universal."[7]

According to Michael Stipe, the album contains "one of the only autobiographical songs of my entire career as a songwriter, in the opening track, "Discoverer". It's a song of discovery. It's about realizing that the city offers you this unbelievable potential and opportunity; all the things you are looking for in your teens and your twenties. That's what New York offered me."[8]

Release and promotion

To promote the album, the band released music videos for each song on the album, featuring directors such as, James Franco, Sam Taylor-Wood, Jim Herbert, and lead singer Michael Stipe.[9] Stipe notes that: "The idea was to present a 21st-century version of an album. What does an album mean in the year 2011, especially to generations of people for whom the word album is an archaic term? An album for me as a teenager in the '70s was a fully formed concept. It was a body of work from an artist I liked or trusted or who excited me..[...] I wanted to present an idea of what an album could be in the age of YouTube and the Internet. Not from Kanye West, not from Lady Gaga, not from Beyoncé; they've got their place. This is what we do. We put together and sequenced the strongest body of work that we could possibly come up with in this moment in time and put it onto this record."[3]

The band has stated that it has no intention of touring to support the album, with Peter Buck citing in an interview with NME that "it does seem like we've toured a lot in the last eight or 10 years. To some degree it felt like we'd just been doing kind of the same thing we did last time. You just don't really want to repeat yourself in that way." He also stated that touring doesn't help album sales and concluded, "It seems like less and less people are buying albums, so do what you want."[10]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars 2011
Entertainment Weekly B [11]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [12]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars [13]
The Telegraph 3/5 stars [14]
Time Out Chicago 4/5 stars [15]
The Guardian 4/5 stars [16]
Spin 8/10 stars [17]
The Independent 4/5 stars [18]
Evening Standard 4/5 stars [19]
Irish Times 4/5 stars [20]
Pitchfork Media (6.8/10)[21]
Shout4music (8.8/10)[22]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars[23]

Collapse into Now has received mostly positive reviews. The album currently holds a 71/100 on Metacritic, with a user score of 7.9.[24]

Pitchfork's Matt LeMay stated that "Collapse into Now also hosts some unlikely successes of its own; in spite of its discouraging title, "Mine Smell Like Honey" overcomes a water-treading verse and ascends to a truly a majestic classic R.E.M. chorus, complete with soaring Mike Mills backing vocals and jangling Peter Buck guitars. "Walk It Back" alone is worth the price of admission here, a gorgeous and enveloping song that takes a step back from the album's dense arrangements and gives Michael Stipe's vocals room to resonate. . . This album is host to more such complexity than anything since 1998's Up, but Collapse Into Now still sounds like the work of a band caught between old habits and new adventures."[21]

Josh Modell of Spin wrote that "(h)ere . . . they discover the glow of middle age, warmly acknowledging the past – hello again, Peter Buck's mandolin—while realizing that the present can feel just as comforting... Collapse mostly sounds like a familiar friend—reliable in all the best ways, but still capable of quietly insinuating surprises.[17]

Track listing

All songs written by Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, except as noted.

  1. "Discoverer" – 3:31
  2. "All the Best" – 2:48
  3. "Überlin" – 4:15
  4. "Oh My Heart" (Buck, Mills, Stipe, and Scott McCaughey) – 3:21
  5. "It Happened Today" – 3:49
  6. "Every Day Is Yours to Win" – 3:26
  7. "Mine Smell Like Honey" – 3:13
  8. "Walk It Back" – 3:24
  9. "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter" – 2:45
  10. "That Someone Is You" – 1:44
  11. "Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I" – 3:03
  12. "Blue" (Buck, Mills, Stipe, and Patti Smith) – 5:46
Amazon MP3 Downloads and iTunes bonus tracks
  1. "Discoverer" (Live in the Studio) – 3:31
  2. "Oh My Heart" (Live in the Studio) – 3:28
iTunes bonus track
  1. "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter" (Live in the Studio) – 2:44

Chart positions

Charts (2011) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[25] 15
Austria (Ö3)[26] 2
Canada (CANOE)[27] 6
Denmark (Tracklisten)[28] 3
Finland (Mitä Hitti)[29] 17
France (SNEP)[30] 31
Germany (Media Control)[31] 1
Hungary (Mahasz)[32] 18
Ireland (IRMA)[33] 3
Netherlands (MegaCharts)[34] 8
New Zealand (RIANZ)[35] 10
Norway (VG-Lista)[36] 2
Poland (ZPAV)[37] 5
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[38] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[39] 9
Switzerland (Hitparade)[40] 1
United Kingdom (OCC)[41] 5
US Billboard 200[42] 5


Additional musicians
  • Shamarr Allen – trumpet on "Discoverer", "It Happened Today", and "Oh My Heart"
  • Bonerama Horns:
  • Joel Gibb – vocals on "It Happened Today"
  • Lenny Kaye – guitar solo on "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter", guitar solo on "Blue"
  • Jacknife Lee – production, mixing, keyboards, guitar
  • Leroy Jones – trumpet on "Discoverer", "It Happened Today", and "Oh My Heart"
  • Kirk M. Joseph, Sr. – sousaphone on "Discoverer", "It Happened Today", and "Oh My Heart"
  • Scott McCaughey – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, accordion
  • Peaches – vocals on "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter"
  • Bill Rieflin – drums, bouzouki, keyboards, guitar
  • Patti Smith – vocals on "Blue" and "Discoverer"
  • Eddie Vedder – vocals on "It Happened Today"
Technical personnel and packaging
  • Sam Bell – engineering and mix engineering
  • Chris Bilheimer and Michael Stipe – packaging
  • Anton Corbijn – photography
  • Stephen Marcussen – mastering
  • Tom McFall – engineering


  1. ^ Doyle, Tom. "Athens' Favourite Sons Throw Away the Manual". Q. January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Goodman, William (November 3, 2010). "R.E.M. Tap Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith for Next Album". Spin. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "R.E.M. Breaks Up After Three Decades, Thanks Fans for Listening" Retrieved 2011-09-26
  5. ^ Fricke, David (September 26, 2011). "Exclusive: Mike Mills on Why R.E.M. Are Calling It Quits". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers Company, LP. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Collapse Into Now Release Date Set for March 8". R.E.M.HQ. December 15, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010. 
  7. ^ Greene, Andy (November 4, 2010). "Mike Mills On New R.E.M. Disc With Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (2011-03-03). "Pop Song 2011: The Video for R.E.M.’s ‘It Happened Today’". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  10. ^ REM's Peter Buck reveals reasons behind reluctance to tour | News | NME.COM
  11. ^ Collapse Into Now | Music |
  12. ^ Sheffield, Rob (March 3, 2011). "R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now". Rolling Stone (1125): 69-70. 
  13. ^ R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now | Music Review | Slant Magazine
  14. ^ McCormick, Neil (February 28, 2011). "R.E.M., Collapse Into Now, CD review". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  15. ^ R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now | Album review – Music – Time Out Chicago
  16. ^ Simpson, Dave (March 4, 2011). "REM: Collapse Into Now – review". The Guardian (London). 
  17. ^ a b R.E.M., 'Collapse Into Now' (Warner Bros.) |
  18. ^ Gill, Andy (March 4, 2011). "Album: R.E.M, Collapse Into Now (Warner Bros)". The Independent (London). 
  19. ^ CDs of the week: Elbow and REM | Music
  20. ^ REM - The Irish Times - Fri, Mar 04, 2011
  21. ^ a b Pitchfork: Album Reviews: R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now
  22. ^ New R.E.M. album ‘Collapse Into Now’ Review | Features |
  23. ^ R.E.M. - Collapse into Now | RollingStone Argentina
  24. ^ Collapse into Now Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic
  25. ^ "Australian chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  26. ^ "Austrian chart positions" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  27. ^ "Canadian chart positions". RPM. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  28. ^ "Danish chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  29. ^ Suomen virallinen lista - Artistit R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now. Retrieved on 18 March 2011.
  30. ^ "French chart positions" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  31. ^ Die ganze Musik im Internet
  32. ^ "MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége". Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  33. ^ "Irish chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  34. ^ "Dutch chart positions" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  35. ^ "New Zealand chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  36. ^ "Norwegian chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  37. ^ Official Polish Albums Chart Access Date: 2011-06-26
  38. ^ "Top 100 Álbumes. Semana 10: del 07.03.2011 al 13.03.2011". 
  39. ^ "Swedish chart positions" (in Swedish). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  40. ^ "Swiss chart positions" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  41. ^ "Adele, Elbow, Jessie J Top U.K. Chart, REM Debuts at No. 5". 
  42. ^ "Lupe Fiasco's 'Lasers' Lands at No. 1 on Billboard 200". 

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