Dead Letter Office Best of
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This isn't some seminal or groundbreaking or even wonderful effort. But it is a collection of pretty cool songs, including all the songs from R.E.M. Read morePublished on May 22 2004 by Reviewer
"Dead Letter Office" is a record of R.E.M. duds... or, just the ones that never made it onto an album. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2003
Dead Letter Office (1987, tracks 1 thru 15) - 2 stars
Chronic Town (1982, tracks 16 thru 20) - 3 stars
So I guess you would say that my review averages out to be 2. Read more
I am completely amazed at the quality of the songs on "Chronic Town." It's R.E.M.'s first recording, and it's simply amazing. Read morePublished on Dec 30 2002 by race_of_doom
Many years ago, before CDs dropped [in price], I bought "Dead Letter Office" on cassette. I wore out the tape quickly skipping the sillier songs and listening to my favorites -- a... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2002 by Beau Dure
Dead Letter Office is an inside joke among the members of the band and their devoted fans. With a track that appears in the film "Bachelor Party" w/Tom Hanks, and others... Read morePublished on Dec 2 2002 by FallsAngel
The first collection of outtakes combined with the first EP while the band was moving from I.R.S. to Warner Bros. Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2002 by Andy Groomhan
"Dead Letter Office" is a housecleaning effort from R.E.M.'s days on IRS records (1981-1987). As such it provides an interesting alternative view of the band. Read morePublished on July 12 2002 by Brian D. Rubendall
Since I've only been a recent fan of REM's, it would be nearly impossibly to find an original tape of "Chronic Town". Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2002 by Fizzy: the real one