Fables of the Reconstruction
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Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Feeling Gravity's Pull|
|2. Maps and Legends|
|3. Driver 8|
|4. Life and How to Live It|
|5. Old Man Kensey|
|6. Can't Get There From Here|
|7. Green Grow the Rushes|
|9. Auctioneer (Another Engine)|
|10. Good Advices|
|11. Wendell Gee|
R.E.M.'s third full-length recording, Fables of the Reconstruction delivers the purest distillation of the band's early sound. With the exception of the horn-laden, radio-friendly "Can't Get There from Here," the songs form a connected soundscape. Nearly transparent production highlights the glittering guitar arpeggios, active bass, and the disciplined, patterned drum lines, with organ and spare string arrangements adding texture to several pieces. And then there are the vocals: dense harmonies of voices calling out to each other, a rich humming and howling around Michael Stipe's central mumble. A careful listener can discern most of the lyrics, though what exactly they signify remains unclear. The album is best contemplated in its entirety, and the songs reward careful, repeated listening. This is a seminal alternative album, its material evocative, its ultimate meanings elusive. If your CD collection has room for only a few R.E.M. albums, Fables should be one of them. --Albert Massa
Top Customer Reviews
In a way, the general mood of "Fables..." is quite similar to that of "Automatic for the people", somewhat dark and sad overall, but with a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. Personally, I think this record shows REM at their best: great songwriting, with exquisite melodies and cryptic lyrics that can mean almost anything (the title of this review, for example, is taken from "Kohoutek", and can be used to illustrate the band's disapproval of their own work).
It is quite difficult to point out the highlights of this album, but "Maps and legends", "Driver 8" and "Life and how to live it" are short masterpieces, and "Wendell Gee" is a little gem that shows just how much can be achieved with few materials: a fine example of Peter Buck's opinion of how simple songwriting should be. Granted, it might not be the perfect place to start, but it sure is one of the greatest to revisit again and again.
From the excellent opener, Feeling Gravitys Pull, the listener is drawn into the albums generally gloomy mood... but who said there's anything wrong with gloomy? There are the radio hits Driver 8 (my personal favourite of this cd), Life And How To Live It, and the somewhat upbeat Can't Get There From Here, all great songs.
We also have the calm, though catchy melodys of Maps And Legends, Old Man Kensey, Good Advices and Wendell Gee (a very good album closer.) No track on this cd is bad, so there's no track skipping here!
The only real reason it missed the 5 star rating is because it still pales in comparison to Lifes Rich Pageant, Document and Murmur, let alone all their bigger Warner Bros albums... A more accurate rating for this cd would be 4.5.
This cd is a thoroughly great purchase that anyone can do well to pick up. Try and get the one with bonus tracks, just for the live versions of Driver 8 and Maps And Legends!
Yet the album is so good -- I cannot understand why the band would practically disavow it. "Driver 8" and "Can't Get There from Here" are great songs and pretty accessible; they're as good as anything on any R.E.M. IRS album.
Perhaps the reason this album is a darkhorse is because the remaining songs, while still very good, are a little more muted in terms of energy compared with what's found on early R.E.M. albums like "Murmur", "Reckoning", and "Life's Rich Pageant".
Those who love R.E.M. need to add this to their collection, especially if they have a predilection for R.E.M.'s earlier, pre-Warner Bros. sound. Those who are casual listeners or are new would do better getting an album like "Document" or perhaps "Life's Rich Pageant" if they wanted to start delving into the band's earlier work.
I think it is impossible to rate this record as a standalone effort. This record has to be considered in a context of R.E.M.'s first five albums, ending with Document. After that, I didn't leave the music, it just left me. This album, falling smack-dab in the middle of R.E.M.'s creative high point, just nails what they were trying to do on every front. There is probably no album that better combines melody, tune, songcraft, storytelling, musicianship, and absolute creativity. The only thing I would change would be to remove "Old Man Kensey", and "Can't Get There From Here". I find myself pushing the forward button on the iPod every time they roll around. The high point of this album, as with "Reckoning", is the songwriting, insrumentation, and arrangement of the first four songs. "Feeling Gravity's Pull" is probably R.E.M.'s most avant-garde composition of all time (until they just really weirded out in the late 90's). "Maps and Legends" is one of their best, in terms of songwriting and performance. "Driver 8" captures a general feeling of nostalgia like no other song in rock that I know of.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I can understand why REM is less than proud of this disc, I was a big fan of their early material when in my early 20's, but this disc never quite grew on me, and for good reason;... Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2006 by B. Keith
While records like Murmur, Automatic for the People, and New Adventures are more obvious masterpieces in their catalogue, Fables of the Reconstruction definitely shows up as the... Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2004 by Michael Kluge
This CD has a very dreamy quality about it, evoking images of a hot cobweb-filled attics and ancient, dusty books. Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004 by saxmaster3
As soon as I popped this CD into my stereo, my ears immediately sank into the sonic swirl of words and sounds that this album delivered. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004 by Andrew
I am a very big REM fan, yet it took me years to get into this album. I always listened to my favorites (Murmur, Pageant, Reckoning, Automatic) but really didn't give this album a... Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2004
To truly consider "Fables" effectively, you have to throw everything that you've known about R.E.M. after 1985 out the window. When this record was made R.E.M. Read morePublished on Dec 18 2003 by Brad Luthye
"Fables of the reconstruction" is the most excentric and darkest album in r.e.m's career.they were going through personal problems in the time of recording but nobody... Read morePublished on Dec 5 2003 by Mike Chadwick
This is probably one of the most underrated R.E.M. album of the catalog, but still a quality work and a good listen. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2003