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R.E.M. - Discoverer (Hansa Studio, Berlin 2010)

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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.
ReleasedMarch 7, 2011 (2011-03-07)
RecordedNovember 2009 – September 2010
StudioHansa Tonstudio in Berlin, Blackbird Studios in Nashville, and The Music Shed in New Orleans[1][2]
GenreAlternative rock
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerJacknife Lee and R.E.M.
R.E.M. chronology
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
  4. "Discoverer"
    Released: 2011
  5. "It Happened Today"
    Released: 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 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, lead singer 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 had sold 142,000 copies in the United States.[4] At the time of the band's breakup, bassist Mike Mills noted that the album's lyrical content contained "indications" that the band were planning to split. [5] The band never played any of the songs live, though Michael Stipe did play "Every Day Is Yours to Win" live without R.E.M. for the Tibethouse Annual Benefit Concert.[6]


  • 1 Background and recording
  • 2 Songs
  • 3 Release and promotion
  • 4 Critical reception
  • 5 Track listing
  • 6 Chart positions and certifications
    • 6.1 Weekly charts
    • 6.2 Year-end charts
    • 6.3 Certifications
  • 7 Personnel
    • 7.1 Additional musicians
    • 7.2 Technical and design
  • 8 References

Background and recording

A large hall with chairs along the edge

In 2008, while touring in support of Accelerate, R.E.M. discussed the possibility of ending the band in the near future.[7] Entering the studio with producer Jacknife Lee, the band began recording a final studio album, with the intention of "going out on a high note."[8] Regarding these initial discussions, bassist Mike Mills stated, "We knew we had some decisions to make regarding our contract with Warner Bros. We had to make some decision about how to continue going forward as a recording unit, and if we still wanted to tour together. Oddly enough, I think that independently, we all arrived at the conclusion that this was such a great opportunity to walk away on our own terms, that we thought, 'Why not take advantage of it?'"[8] Buck later would state that the final decision to end the band came when Stipe remarked that "I need to be away from this for a long time." Buck suggested "How about forever?" and they thus decided to break up. [9]

Collapse into Now was recorded in four different cities: Berlin, Germany, Nashville, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana, with demoing taking place at Jackpot Studios, in Portland, Oregon. Regarding the recording process, and the fact that it marked the conception of their final studio album, Mills noted, "We tried to enjoy it as much as possible and make it as fun as possible, but we’re not super-sentimental people in that sense. The only time we got really poignant was when we were working in Berlin, and they have a beautiful room there, Meister Halle, where we recorded seven or eight songs. There was no one there really except some friends, family, and significant others, and we knew that was probably the last time we would ever play together as R.E.M. That was a pretty fraught day. But it was fun."[8]

In comparing the record to the band's previous release, Accelerate, Mills noted that 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."[10]

The album features guest appearances by Patti Smith, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Peaches, Lenny Kaye and Joel Gibb.[2][11]


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."[12]

Release and promotion

A tinted photo of Franco smiling

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.[13] 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]

During promotion, the band stated that it had 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 ten 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."[14]

Complying with their resolution of not engaging in a new tour, R.E.M. officially disbanded as a group in September 2011, six months after the album was released.

For 2011's Record Store Day, the band released R.E.M. Three—a package of three 7"s containing each of the commercial singles for the album.

Critical reception

Collapse into Now received mostly positive reviews. The album currently holds a 71/100 on Metacritic, with a user score of 7.9.[15]

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."[23]

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.[25]

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, Scott McCaughey) – 3:21
  5. "It Happened Today" – 3:49
  6. "Every Day Is Yours to Win" – 3:26
  1. "Mine Smell Like Honey" – 3:13
  2. "Walk It Back" – 3:24
  3. "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter" – 2:45
  4. "That Someone Is You" – 1:44
  5. "Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I" – 3:03
  6. "Blue" (Buck, Mills, Stipe, 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


  • Peter Buck – guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, production
  • Mike Mills – bass guitar, guitar, backing vocals, keyboards, production
  • Michael Stipe – lead vocals, production, packaging

Additional musicians

Smith singing with a guitar and Kaye playing guitar onstageGibb looking sideways, wearing a gold lame suit
  • Shamarr Allen – trumpet on "Discoverer", "It Happened Today", and "Oh My Heart"
  • Greg Hicks – trombone
  • Craig Klein – trombone
  • Mark Mullins – trombone and horn arrangements
  • 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"
  • Eddie Vedder – vocals on "It Happened Today"

Technical and design

  • 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 Interview with Michael Stipe. Interview Magazine. 2011.
  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. ^ Flaming Lips, Michael Stipe, The Roots and Patti Smith Rock for Tibet - Rolling Stone
  7. ^ Dombal, Ryan (2011-11-21). "Interviews: R.E.M. | Features". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  8. ^ a b c Hyden, Steven (2011-11-16). "R.E.M.'s Mike Mills | Music | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  9. ^ Young, Alex. "Peter Buck explains R.E.M.'s decision to break up, and why they won't reunite". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  10. ^ Greene, Andy (November 4, 2010). "Mike Mills On New R.E.M. Disc With Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Collapse Into Now Release Date Set for March 8". R.E.M.HQ. December 15, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010. 
  12. ^ [1] Archived May 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ "REM's Peter Buck reveals reasons behind reluctance to tour | News". Nme.Com. 2011-03-10. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  15. ^ a b "Reviews for Collapse into Now by R.E.M.". Metacritic. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  16. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Collapse into Now – R.E.M.". AllMusic. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  17. ^ Murray, Noel (March 8, 2011). "R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  18. ^ McCormick, Neil (February 28, 2011). "R.E.M., Collapse Into Now, CD review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved October 20, 2016. 
  19. ^ Harvilla, Rob (June 24, 2011). "Collapse Into Now". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  20. ^ Simpson, Dave (March 4, 2011). "REM: Collapse Into Now – review". The Guardian. London. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
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  22. ^ "R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now". Mojo (209): 96. April 2011. 
  23. ^ a b LeMay, Matt (March 9, 2011). "R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  24. ^ Sheffield, Rob (February 23, 2011). "Collapse Into Now". Rolling Stone (1125): 69–70. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Modell, Josh (March 8, 2011). "R.E.M., 'Collapse Into Now' (Warner Bros.)". Spin. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Australian chart positions". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  27. ^ "Austrian chart positions" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  28. ^ " R.E.M. - Collapse into Now" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  29. ^ " R.E.M. - Collapse into Now" (ASP). Hung Medien (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  30. ^ "Canadian chart positions". RPM. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  31. ^ "Danish chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  32. ^ Suomen virallinen lista - Artistit R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now. Retrieved on 18 March 2011.
  33. ^ "French chart positions" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  34. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  35. ^ "MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége". Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  36. ^ "Irish chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  37. ^ " R.E.M. - Collapse into Now" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  38. ^ "コラプス・イントゥ・ナウ/R.E.M.-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of Collapse into Now by R.E.M.]. (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  39. ^ "Dutch chart positions" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  40. ^ "New Zealand chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  41. ^ "Norwegian chart positions". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  42. ^ Official Polish Albums Chart Access Date: 2011-06-26
  43. ^ "Top 100 Álbumes. Semana 10: del 07.03.2011 al 13.03.2011" (PDF). 
  44. ^ "Swedish chart positions" (in Swedish). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  45. ^ "Swiss chart positions" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  46. ^ "Adele, Elbow, Jessie J Top U.K. Chart, REM Debuts at No. 5". 
  47. ^ "Lupe Fiasco's 'Lasers' Lands at No. 1 on Billboard 200". 
  48. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 2011". Ultratop (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  49. ^ "Album-Top 100". Hitlisten. IFPI Danmark& Nielsen Music Control. Archived from the original on 2012-06-09. 
  50. ^ "Die Jahrescharts 2011! - News". Archived from the original on 2012-01-12. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  51. ^ Steffen Hung. "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 2011". Archived from the original on 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  52. ^ "Italian album certifications – R.E.M. – Collapse into Now" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana.  Select Album e Compilation in the field Sezione. Enter R.E.M. in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  53. ^ "British album certifications – R.E.M. – Collapse into Now". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Collapse into Now in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search

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