Style: Punkish rock and folk in the R.E.M. tradition; a cross between Accelerate and Out of Time
Top tracks: "Oh My Heart," "Every Day is Yours to Win," "Blue"
"This is my time, and I am thrilled to be alive!" sings R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe on "Blue," the closing number on his band's new album. He has every reason to be happy: Collapse Into Now is the group's most varied and vibrant work in more than a decade, touching on all of their classic modes but never resting on any of them for long. Stipe's positivity goes deeper than a solid new album, though. Collapse hinges on "Oh My Heart," a devastating paean to the ongoing clean-up efforts in New Orleans and a testament to the importance of courage and sacrifice. The twinkling lullaby "Every Day Is Yours to Win" admits that life is not all "cherry pie," but that optimism and endurance are to be treasured—"and that's how heroes are made."1
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