The band's fifteenth album, 'Collapse Into Now', features three guest singers alongside regular vocalist Michael Stipe and has been described by the band as a "very personal, very human record", in contrast to their politically slanted last album, 'Accelerate'.
Bassist and keyboardist Mike Mills told Spin.com: "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. We wanted to put more variety into it and not limit ourselves to any one type of song.
"It's a very personal, very human record. Not only to Michael, but personal and human in the sense of the narrative of the songs, the protagonists of the songs."
Describing the variety of songs on the album, Mike added: "There are some really slow, beautiful songs; there are some nice, mid-tempo ones; and then there are three or four rockers."
The tracks which feature guest vocals are album closer, 'Blue' which includes Patti, 'It Happened Today' with Pearl Jam singer Eddie and an as-yet untitled track with Peaches; although Mike promised the name of the song will include the word 'Alligator'.
'Collapse Into Now' is set for release next year.