Last September, R.E.M. wrapped up the final session for their new album, Collapse Into Now, in Nashville. The next morning, guitarist Peter Buck started driving cross-country to his home in Portland, Oregon. "I like to drive, it allows you to decompress," he says. "I got in my car at 6 a.m. and listened to my iPod for four hours. Then I decided to listen to our record. I remember thinking, 'This is, song for song, the best thing we've ever done.'"
Bassist Mike Mills agrees, calling Collapse Into Now, out March 8th on Warner Bros., "our best record since Out of Time," the group's 1991 hit. "We took the shackles off and wrote whatever sounded good — balls-to-the-wall rockers, slow sad songs, great mid-tempo songs in the tradition of R.E.M. We had quality, top to bottom."