It's been a busy but productive week. I've been listening to the rather fine new long player from REM. Collapse into Now is one of the best records of the year, I reckon. It's certainly kept me sane
I also think that the reviews have been somewhat churlish. They tend to say that it's a good record but it's not as good as REM in their heyday. Poor REM, it seems, have to write tunes that are not only good as Losing my Religion, Night Swimming, Everyone Hurts, etc for every record but they also have to make reviewers feel as they did when they first heard those songs 15 or more years ago. This is too heavy a load to bear for any band - even one as exceptional as REM.
On its own merits Collapse into Now is a fine record, lively tunes, fabulously jangly guitars (even Peter Buck's mandolin) and intriguing lyrics. I'd say that in Blue - an extraordinary half-slurred, half sung duet with Patti Smith - Oh My Heart and It Happened Today, it boasts songs that would not be out of place on a greatest hits compilation that features the vintage tracks mentioned above.
In short it's good, so listen without prejudice (as some other singer once said).