So it seems like R.E.M. has really gotten a second wind, huh? Their new album, Collapse Into Now (which arrives next month) has gotten some solid advance notice. Even though Stipe, Buck and Mills aren’t reinventing the wheel anymore (after 30 years, who’d expect it?), it appears that they’ve settled into a certain consistency after a few years in the wilderness.

The album’s first video, for “Mine Smells Like Honey”, is bizarre in typical R.E.M. fashion. Interestingly, the video stars Stipe alone. Well, not alone, as he’s manhandled into what seems like a bunch of painful positions over the course of the three-minute clip. What I mean to say is that neither Mike Mills nor Peter Buck is in the video. That certainly doesn’t make it any less interesting, though.

It also looks like time has been good to Michael Stipe. In a quarter-century of being an R.E.M. fan, this is the first time I remember looking at Stipe and not saying to myself “that guy looks a little weird”.

Album looks good. On the plus side, it’s a new R.E.M. album. Also on the plus side, Eddie Vedder is a guest artist. That all should make up for the fact that Peaches is also on the album, right?

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