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Dead Letter Office Best of

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 19 1987)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Best of
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000001I0I
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,678 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Crazy
2. There She Goes Again
3. Burning Down
4. Voice Of Harold
5. Burning Hell
6. White Tornado
7. Toys In the Attic
8. Windout
9. Ages Of You
10. Pale Blue Eyes
11. Rotary Ten
12. Bandwagon
13. Femme Fatale
14. Walters Theme
15. King Of The Road
16. Wolves, Lower
17. Gardening At Night
18. Carnival Of Sorts (Box Cars)
19. 1,000,000
20. Stumble

Product Description


While purists will insist on an undiluted copy of the band's 1982 Chronic Town EP, R.E.M. completists (and those who just like a lot of tracks for their money) will be grateful for the inclusion of 15 additional B-sides and curios on this 1987 compilation. Not surprisingly, the non-Chronic material is a mixed blessing: while R.E.M. were much beloved for being notorious cover-whores during those early Athens live shows, their reverent takes on Velvet Underground classics stand the test of time far better than their odes to Roger Miller and Aerosmith. But all that will be forgotten by the time Chronic Town's "Wolves, Lower" kicks in, signaling the official arrival of a band that forever changed the face of Southern rock. --Bill Forman

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This compilation is a really mixed bag, but that's part of it's appeal. Only a few of these songs will stick with you: "Ages Of You" is a really catchy upbeat number that would have fit right in on Lifes Rich Pageant, and there's some very good covers of Pylon's "Crazy" and "There She Goes Again", "Femme Fatale", and "Pale Blue Eyes" by The Velvet Underground (the last of those is especially nice and Byrds-esque). However, more of it is just things that are good for a listen once in a while but not much more. The main thing here is that you get to see the band cutting loose. REM are percieved as being an overly "serious" and "arty" band, especially during this era, so there's something just fun about hearing them doing a surf instrumental, an Aerosmith cover, a ridiculous Document-meets- Spinal-Tap "evil" rocker called "Burning Hell", background music for a local restaurant commercial, and especially a drunken barely-remembered run-through of "King Of The Road". "Voice Of Harold", basically the liner notes to a gospel album set to the music of "Seven Chinese Brothers", is pretty amusing as well, I might even like it better than "Seven Chinese Brothers" itself.
However, the real draw here (and the main reason this is a 4 and not a 3) is that it's the easiest place to find the Chronic Town EP, presented here as bonus tracks. Though still in the same oblique but jangly indie-rock vein as the full length debut Murmur, surprisingly the performances are more confident. All 5 of these tracks, especially the eerie "Wolves, Lower" and beautiful "Gardening At Night", are too good to be this obscure.
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Format: Audio CD
This has to be one of the coolest road trip albums ever thrown together? I take this one out every single time I take a trip through the Eastern states in my pick-up. Flying by the telephone poles and over the road kill - the poetry of America! It has a strange kind of feel to it, like we are listening to the only album released by a band that once was and never will be again.
THE VOICE OF HAROLD is a beautiful tune, sort of like the lighter counter-part to MAPS AND LEGENDS. As for the Aerosmith cover, TOYS IN THE ATTIC - well, the one song I usually skip over. I'm sure one day it'll accidentally sneak by my sensors. KING OF THE ROAD? If you have ever square-danced to the original, then this version should make you smile. It's hard to put into words the charm I find in this album? I own all of REM's albums, and this one finds its way into the player the most... well, behind "Reckoning". You can wash a hundred dishes with DLO on repeat, go for long bike rides in the park with a sweetheart, background music for necking with another sweetheart later that day, stir up Kool-aid with your left hand, stumble through the yard laughing with it playing from your car stereo, watch old robot monster movies with the sound turned down low, catch shoplifters at your day job, take polaroids of grandma trying to climb the porch steps, count the dead flies on your window sill and even try to guess what the weather is like in Kansas as you spin through 1,000,000. The addition of the "Chronic Town" EP is a wonderful ending to this delightful collection of soggy gems. Come on aboard, I promise you we won't hurt the horse... yes siree bob!
& I recommend getting the limited edition VINTAGE IRS YEARS copy of this album, for the few extra tracks (gardening at night - acoustic & all the right friends)... more bang for your Buck!
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Format: Audio CD
True, R.E.M. is a great band. It has proven to be one of the best of the 90's, and has influenced a lot of the contemporary ones. Though it may seem that we are all well familiar with R.E.M's music, little do we know of the nether side of R.E.M.'s songs. Well, 'DEAD LETTER OFFICE', give us a glimpse of the darker side of this Athens outfit.
Very aptly titled, 'DEAD LETTER OFFICE' contains mainly the 'reject' songs, which couldn't make it to R.E.M.'s regular albums. From the pre-'DOCUMENT' days, the songs in this album indeed reflect that side of R.E.M.'s, which one should very well stay away from.
There is really nothing much worth writing about the songs in 'DEAD LETTER OFFICE'. The songs truly represent the breed of typical B-side songs. Mainly due to its length, the album, with just a handful of listenable songs, becomes a bit of a burden on the listener. Though R.E.M's regular songs, classics they are, are often great songs to 'cover', R.E.M's cover-versions of other artists' songs on this album are disappointing. There are, however, songs like 'Crazy', 'Burning Down', and 'Burning Hell', which are as good as any other songs on regular R.E.M. albums.
But, not all is bad about this album. As a matter of fact, the last five songs of the album come as a relief, and save the day. Songs from their very first release: an EP called 'CHRONIC TOWN', make up the last five songs of 'DEAD LETTER OFFICE'. Each one of those five songs of 'CHRONIC TOWN', is a gem, and is indicative of a truly talented and promising band.
Definitely for the songs on 'CHRONIC TOWN', this album proves well worth the moolah. Barring the 'CHRONIC TOWN' part of it, 'DEAD LETTER OFFICE' is strictly for avid R.E.M. fans, to complete their collection of R.E.M. albums.
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