Album: R.E.M. Collapse Into Now (Warner)

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The Independent Culture

R.E.M's 15th album could trade places with almost any of the previous 14.

With Buck's chiming guitars and Stipe's echo-laden vocals, from the opener's exuberant melodicism to the "Losing My Religion"-like "Uberlin", it's archetypal R.E.M. The one difference is that it's dotted with guests from Patti Smith and her guitarist Lenny Kaye to the useless Eddie Vedder and the amazing Peaches, thrown away as a backing singer on "Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter".