If R.E.M aren’t iconic enough, add Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder and Peaches to the liner notes.

Opening track Discoverer is the album’s quintessential rock anthem. Charismatic ringleader Michael Stipe coaxes listeners with his turn of phrase — “just the slightest bit of finesse might have made a little less mess,” urging us all to “get on with it, now!” Queen of rock ‘n’ roll Smith’s vocals only add to the stadium quality of this track, despite the fact the band has gone on record saying they have no intention to tour Collapse Into Now.

With 15 albums under their belt, R.E.M occupy space in the music industry’s collective consciousness, and touring isn’t required. Truthfully, it’s a treat for the fans — occasional — not expected. Since Out of Time exploded in 1991, R.E.M have become internationally renowned for writing timeless songs that resonate.

I remember skipping high school math, forging my mom’s signature on a note excusing me from class for an appointment and hopping on a GO Train to Toronto to see R.E.M perform a free show on Yonge Street. New Adventures In Hi-Fi just hit the shelves and everything felt possible.

Stipe is an advocate for political and queer rights, though it’s his evocative voice and poetics that are known to tug at hearts. A bloated horn opening on Oh My Heart makes way for the album’s coming-of-age pop song. With lyrics such as “this place needs me here, to start. This place, is the beat, of my heart,” they don’t merely tug at my heart strings, they tear at them.

I remember skipping high school math, forging my mom’s signature on a note excusing me from class for an appointment and hopping on a GO Train to Toronto to see R.E.M perform a free show on Yonge Street. New Adventures In Hi-Fi just hit the shelves and everything felt possible.

Whenever I hear Stipe hit one of his soaring notes, especially in a track like It Happened Today, I recall looking up to the sky, the buildings towering above and the shift in my sense of innocence — that moment before the rain fell. It’s been pouring ever since.

From one lover of alliteration to another, Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter is the perfect track to have an appearance by electro pop art star Peaches. A touch call-and-response, the combination of Peaches and Stipe is the best pairing of rock-stardom of the year. With her brassy spoken-word response to his call-and-response chorus, it’s like we’re teenagers pipping off school all over again.