UPDATE: Here’s another song from R.E.M.’s upcoming album Collapse Into Now. This track, “Oh My Heart”, is another R.E.M. song in 6/8, so it follows in the footsteps of songs like “Everybody Hurts”, “Try Not To Breathe”, “Strange Currencies”, “Daysleeper”, or the more recent “Houston”. Please continue to discuss the album in the comments below.

Oh My Heart

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First, let’s hear once again everything that R.E.M. have released so far – 2 songs and 1 trailer:

It Happened Today


Collapse Into Now Trailer

Now, I’ve read all sorts of opinions about the first two songs, ranging from enthusiastic to dismissive. A majority of complaints are actually directed at Michael Stipe’s unoriginal lyrics – I guess people miss Laocoon and her two sons, maps and legends and whatnot. To be honest, I rarely pay attention to lyrics at all, so Stipe’s lack of inspiration doesn’t bother me. As for music, I definitely prefer “It Happened Today”, if for no other reason than the fact that Mike Mills absolutely dominates the chorus and the final singalong! big grin As for “Discoverer”, it reminds me of U2 circa Joshua Tree and other mid-80s stadium rock. I haven’t decided yet whether it’s a good thing or not…

Anyway, I’d love to hear your opinions on these songs, so if you feel like saying something, please go ahead! Unlike some other bloggers, I won’t bite your head off if you disagree with me. happy

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16 Responses to “Collapse Into Now: discussion thread! – UPDATED”

  1. charky Says:

    well… I have to say I’m super-excited & LOVING every note iv’e heard so far.
    AAAA reminds me of one of the green instrumental outtakes (-guitar-wise), know which one I mean?
    discoverer brings to mind lots of other REM songs,and also one song that michael wrote in 2006, called “what she wore”, preformed by interpol’s drummer. but all in a good way, with all the similiraties -its still very original.

  2. Ivana Says:

    You’re right about “Discoverer”… At least we know now that it’s not a new version of “Kick The Traces”. I have to admit that, when I first heard it, it reminded me of U2 anthems like “When The Streets Have No Name” or “Desire”. It also reminds me of “Finest Worksong” and other stuff from Document, with that big guitar sound.

    As for AAAA you know what it reminds me of?

  3. charky Says:

    some REM-fan-musician should take the Michael vocal track from ‘kick the traces’ and add some REMish instrumentation, that way we can at least SORTA hear the full song

  4. arek Says:

    these 2 songs are very good and promising much more exspansive record in its sound. I’m very excited because the last 2 albums were weak. Containing good songs and filled with poor production (on both Around and Accelerate).
    The last good album was Reveal and last really GREAT “hi-fi”.
    So, I hope this one will be returning to form in its really and big shape.

  5. Linda Sommerville Says:

    These are two of my posts from the NPR website.They are in reference to “Oh My Heart” in particular.

    Hmmmmmm. Some folks are not happy with the lyrics???? Lyrics are so personal. I love Michael’s oblique and “free form” writing as much as the next fan, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate direct and personal expression as well. I fall into the ‘elder” fan category, and find that as I grow older, I sometimes feel the need to be more direct and to simply make my point. Maybe with his maturity, Michael feels some of that? Just saying…………

    This comment is part of the discussion about the evolution of the lyrics from “Houston” (‘If the storm doesn’t kill me the government will’winkingto “The storm didn’t kill me, the government changed,” in “Oh My Heart.”

    I,for one,love the use of powerful lyrics segueing from one album to another. In my humble opinion, the songs and albums are then “tied together,” one to the other. I also love the use of percussion here, reminiscent of “Sing for the Submarine” from the “Take Away Shows.” I think that anything the boys of R.E.M do is well thought out and is certainly excellently crafted….beautiful soulful music and lyrics. I am so tired of people whining…”it’s not like Green, or Up, or ‘name that album.’Get over it and look at each song individually, as a piece of art. As well, I am sure when we hear the entire album,it will be as beautifully and masterfully complete in theme and message,just like they have done with every album to date. Listen to the subtle harmonies, instrumentation and heartfelt lyrics and vocals……….it’s a stunning song.

  6. arek Says:

    Yeah Linda, you’re right. Everything they’ve done ’till now is good. But sometimes the masterpieces songs were ruined by production. f.e.: The Outsiders, what a great song, but with auwful sound of drums. And to me, Accelerate was “not return to form”. Because this album was too loud with fussy production and too short. Around the Sun was much more ambitious. So now i’m looking forward to this new one, because that 3 new songs (especially “oh my heart”winkingsound great and better that anything they’ve done in the last 10 years.

  7. Linda Sommerville Says:

    I agree with you arek, on the overproduction of some of the songs. I am in a rather unique position of rediscovering R.E.M after many years away from the music, and have been REALLY listening and hearing all of those nuances and musical gems I missed before. I find myself loving the live versions and the acoustic versions even more than the albums . Then the music shines through and the production doesn’t get in the way. It is interesting that you prefer Around the Sun to Accelerate, since most critics seem to feel that particular album suffered from overproduction. Didn’t Peter make the same criticism of the work?

  8. Ivana Says:

    Hiya folks! I’m back after a short holiday – sorry for the lack of updates in the past few weeks, I could not access my server.

    Anyway, I’ve been listening to these new songs non-stop lately, and I must admit that Discoverer has really grown on me. And I love the fact that all three songs that we’ve heard so far are quite different, they sort of paraphrase different segments of the band’s legacy. I mean, Discoverer evokes the sound of Document, It Happened Today is more Out Of Time-inspired, while Oh My Heart is a sequel to slow songs from Accelerate.

    Arek, I agree that Accelerate should have been better produced, but their Live from Austin TX DVD has “corrected” all deficiencies of the CD! I know I’m repeating myself, but I do recommend that DVD to everyone, because the songs sound raw and fresh and ballsy, and they mix well with their older material.

  9. arek Says:

    You’re right about Around and Accelerate. the first one was overproducted and Peter is right about it. But I think Peter also forgets that this album contains memorable songs with quintessentional REM-style, look at the LEAVING NEW YORK, BOY IN THE WELL, OUTSIDERS, ASCENT OF MAN, MAKE IT ALL OKAY. These are the great songs. And then look to the Accelerate fussy-produced, cheap-mp3-sound album: it contains only LIVING WELL and SUBMARINE witch are as good as the songs form the best REM albums. Anyway, I know the most of people are feeling in a different way than me. It is good and great.
    I do have Live from Austin witch is good show, but I prefer Live at the Olympia…

  10. Mark Says:

    I’m very optimistic about the album as a whole after hearing what has been released/streamed so far. I’m fearing, though, that it is the equivalent of a “I’m leaving you/Thank you, but, we’re done” note. Viewed from that perspective a lot of the lyrics, so far, seem to be relevant to that direction. And so, I’ll be doing my best to soak it up as much as possible, all the time hoping that I’m wrong.

  11. arek Says:

    you’re right Mark. But I was feeling the same thing when UP was released. Do You remember the words written on the disc?: “R.E.M. Thank You” witch means absolutely nothing. Maybe a big THANK YOU for Bill Berry, but not for the funs.
    But now??? This is the last record for Warner in the deal they made in 1996. So, maybe You’re right??? I hope no.

  12. Linda Says:

    Just listened to the tunes yet again, and was struck by a connection to something Michael and Mike both said once in an interview,in the early 80′s…that the lyrics may not have had meaning, but were meant to be another instrument in the total mix ( that was the gist of the comment anyway).”It Happened Today” has really embraced that concept, hasn’t it? What a glorious mix of vocals that are themselves instruments. Each layer of harmony is sung as if written as a score for an individual instrument. I am more impressed every time I listen.

    Mark, I hope you are wrong!!!!! There was a group interview re: Accelerate and a statement made in the interview, to the effect that with that album, they felt they had finally broken through the barriers that plagued them after Bill left and that they were finally “together” and working well as a three piece. I am hopeful that “Collapse Into Now” is the extension of that new-found relationship, and not the end!

  13. Kirsten Says:

    What I’ve heard so far makes me ecstatic!

    I love Discoverer, especially the great catchy guitar riff – and listen to that brilliant bassline – I fell in love with it immediately! Well, R.E.M. songs always have a sublime and melodious bass line (those who have one), so this one is no exception.
    The chorus where Michael just repeatedly shouts “Discoverer”, however, I find to be a little too monotonous.

    It Happened Today – what a great song.
    What can I say, I’m absolutely delighted of Mike’s prominent backing vocals on this song – great, beautiful, gorgeous.
    I can’t stress it enough, we need more of Mike’s voice!! It’s been FAR too long since the last song with him on lead vocals! Let’s start a petition: Mike for lead vocals!!! happy
    I was really surprised that Eddie Vedder can only faintly be heard on the song… I would have expected that as a special guest musician, he sings a verse or at least parts of the chorus. But okay, I’m just very very happy that there’s so much of Mike!
    The “lyricless singing part” at the end reminds me of Ken Stringfellow’s breathtaking background vocals on the 2001 MTV Unplugged version of Find The River. Absolutely stunning, Mike!!
    The style/sound of the beat somehow reminds me of the stellar unplugged version of Let Me In that they often perform live, when they stomp on the ground with their foot every now and then happy

    Oh My Heart? To me it stands for “Oh my heart, is it wonderful!!”
    The brass at the beginning I think provide the song a, by R.E.M.’s standards, unusual and also very haunting touch.
    And there’s the accordion – multi-talent Mike in action happy
    Peter’s mandolin also add a very special wonderful depth and atmosphere.
    The whole song gives me goosebumps, starting right at the beginning with the brass intro. It has such a gorgeous melody, so sad and melancholic. In both melody and lyrics there’s a feeling of despair in the air, yet there’s also hope and optimism. Wow.

    I paid close attention to the great lyrics of all three songs – partly simple, partly cryptic, poetic – just the crazy genius writer Stipe that we know. I have absolutely nothing to complain here. One of my favorite lines is “I have been laughable wrong”.
    And listen to how Michael pronounces Houston in “Discoverer”! LOL!

    AAAA, yes, I think it’s the beat that evokes associations with Driver’s Seat (a song that I absolutely love BTW) happy. If I’m not completely wrong AAAA is a little faster than Sniff ’n’ the Tears’ song.

    The excerpts from the other songs I have to say are too short for me to be able to tell how they really are and what my thoughts about them are, I’d have to listen to at least a little longer part of each.
    Also, there’s almost always something in each R.E.M. song that reminds me of another song from them, but that’s okay, because that’s what makes up the distinctive R.E.M. sound. And that sound happens to just exactly match my taste in music, which is why I love them so much for everything they do and have ever done. There will probably never be any other band I love so unbelievably many songs from – the new stuff confirms that.

  14. Linda Says:

    Hi Kirsten. I think that when Michael pronounces “Houston” as he does in “Discoverer,” that he is referring to Houston Street in New York City. He refers to the city in the next line. Houston Street is indeed pronounced the way Michael sings it in the song. happy

  15. Kirsten Says:

    Ah, thanks Linda for pointing that out! Very very interesting, so I learned something new again, cool happy

    If anyone is interested, here’s some history about why Houston Street in NYC and Houston, TX are pronounced differently:

    I think now I’ll have to visit Houston Street the next time I’m in New York – might have been there before but didn’t realize it happy

  16. Linda Says:

    My pleasure Kirsten. You are a Google lover as I am!! I Google everything! Thanks for sharing your information and welcome to the fan site. I just thought the Houston reference was an interesting one. I know that street is near where Michael has his New York home.

    As to learning new things, I am amazed at how much I have learned from this site. Thanks Ivana and Elena and everyone who contributes. I am having so much fun navigating my way through the interviews, videos etc.happy

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