The allegedly “old school” sounding new album from R.E.M. seems decidedly un-old school in certain aspects: While the band may be returning to its original jangle pop form, there will be a lot more big name cameos than ever appeared on their early output. Collapse Into Now will feature contributions from Patti Smith, Peaches and Eddie Vedder, a fairly motley assortment of performers that plays into the band’s expressed desire for a diverse array of sounds:
"We wanted to put more variety into it and not limit ourselves to any one type of song,” bassist Mike Mills said in an interview with SPIN. "There are some really slow, beautiful songs; there are some nice, mid-tempo ones; and then there are three or four rockers. With “Accelerate” we were trying to make a point by making the songs as short and as fast as possible. So we wanted this new one to be more expansive."
Though the album may be sonically and aesthetically simpler, the recording process was not. Like Accelerator before it, songs from R.E.M.’s 15th studio album were recorded in three different cities – Berlin, Nashville and New Orleans – because being in a wildly successful band has many, many perks, not the least of which is awesome meals.
"After a day's work in the studio, the band would go out to dinner," said Mills. "It's really important to go out, get great food, shrug off the debris of the day, and just be friends and have a good time. In Berlin you drink beer and eat wurst. In New Orleans you eat Cajun food and drink sazerac. In Nashville we ate a lot of fried chicken."