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4.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 8 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000001I0G
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,732 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. HarborcOat
2. 7 ChineSe Bros.
3. so. Central Rain
4. Pretty Persuasion
5. Time After Time (annElise)
6. second GuessinG
7. letter Never seNt
8. camerA
9. (don't Go back To) ROCKVILLE
10. little america

Product Description


The 1984 follow-up to R.E.M.'s brilliantly murky debut features Michael Stipe's ambiguous moan, drummer Bill Berry's strong backbeat, and guitarist Peter Buck's endless wave of catchy, jangling riffs. They wouldn't fully beef up their hard rock until roughly 1986's Life's Rich Pageant, but the swimming melodies of "Pretty Persuasion," "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" and "Rockville (Don't Go Back To)" recall why the band frequently earned comparisons to a power-pop Beatles and the country-rock Byrds. Also, the jittery rhythms and deceptively simple guitar lines make the underappreciated "Harborcoat" and "7 Chinese Bros." worth revisiting. --Steve Knopper

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It was junior year of high school and Chris and I were among the invitees to a soiree at our friend Cynthia's house. Ever the thoughtful guests, we swung by Farm Fresh to pick up a boss of Hires root beer on our way. R.E.M.'s Reckoning album blared from the speakers of Chris' beige Ford Escort. "Seven Chinese Brothers swallowing the ocean (or something to that effect)", Michael Stipe sang as Chris and I shouted at each other over top of the music.
By the time we arrived at Cynthia's house we were only up to "Pretty Persuasion", about 1/3 of the way through the tape, and were already pretty hoarse. I don't know why we always played the music so loud, yet still valiantly tried to carry on conversations over top of it. We parked next to the mailbox by Cynthia's driveway but there was no way either of us were leaving that car until Reckoning was over. During the lull that is "Time After Time (Annelise)", we could no longer resist opening the root beer. We were going to need to fortify ourselves for side 2 of the tape. Without an alternative drinking apparatus, we took turns imbibing root beer straight from the boss.
"Why you trying to second guess me?" Yeah, things were starting to pick up again when suddenly I was startled by a knock on the passenger's side window. I turned to face the source of the noise and saw none other than Alan, Cynthia's older brother, standing impatiently next to the car. I rolled down the window to let him air whatever grievance he might have against us.
"What are you guys doing out here? Everyone is already inside getting ready to eat." Hair moussed and gelled to perfection and decked out in his finest 80s skinny tie regalia, Alan wasn't exactly a frightening authority figure even if he was a year older than us.
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Format: Audio CD
"Reckoning" is one of the top five R.E.M. albums in my opinion and probably my second favorite of the IRS years (behind "Document", and slightly edging out "Life's Rich Pageant").
Songs like "So. Central Rain", "Pretty Persuasion", and "(Don't Go Back) Rockville" are classics that you can listen to over and over.
While I am not one of those R.E.M. fans that only likes their early work, I do appreciate listening to the band play at a time when it was far less encumbered by the introspection and seriousness that have come with age. This album is a great one for getting a glimpse at that free-spirited, youthful time during the band's evolution to what it is today.
"Reckoning" is R.E.M's umpteenth great album but to those not familiar with R.E.M.'s early work, it may sound perhaps a bit unpolished and raw compared to the later albums released under the Warner Bros. label. Much like nascent cartoons or comics that look a bit different than they do in their later years, R.E.M.'s sound, though definitely still taking shape, is unmistakable.
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Format: Audio CD
R.E.M. broke onto the scene with "Chronic Town" when I was a sophomore in high school in 1982. Prior to this time, I was "into" the mainstream hard rock of the day (Van Halen, Aldo Nova, Huey Lewis, Rush, Men at Work, etc.). R.E.M gave me an individualistic retreat amidst the pressure of adolescent conformity. In this period prior to adulthood, I was able to invest R.E.M.'s music with my own innocence, naivete, and sense of mystery. The band's initial EP ("Chronic Town") and first two LPs ("Murmur" & "Reckoning") seemed to beg the listener down this path. The music suggested a growing youth movement that embraced kindness, creativity, and commeraderie.
Side One (pardon this out-moded expression) was one of the best LP sides ever. The sound of "Reckoning" was more driving and slightly more electric than it's folk-tinged predecessor, "Murmur". The vocals were rarely decipherable, but one could extract occassional nuggets ("Your handshake is worthy, it's all that you've got"..."The wiseman builds his house upon the rock, but I'm not bound to follow suit"..."Goddamn your confusion"..."pull your dress on, and stay real close"). These little chestnuts somehow seemed and felt important at the time. Never enough to hang one's hat on, but enough to conjure intrigue.
Side Two yielded "Letter Never Sent", which is still at the top of my favorite R.E.M. songlist. Other highlights included "Second Guessing" and "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville".
While R.E.M.
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Format: Audio CD
Recorded in 2 weeks, this quick, rollicking followup to Murmur continued the jangly folk of that masterpiece, if not the otherworldy feel. Still a terrific album by any means, with Stipe's mubles as effective and evocative as ever. "Harborcoat" is a great kick-off to this record, with a terrific driving beat from Bill Berry, chiming guitars from Peter Buck, and beautiful harmonies from Mike Mills to complement Michael Stipe's warm, gorgeous lyrics. "7 Chinese Brothers" continues this mood, a slower, more meditative piece that includes beguiling lyrics and wonderful seasonal and water imagery. "So. Central Rain" is the timeless classic of this album, a sorrowful but intense tune on loss and forgiveness. "Pretty Persuasion" shows the band rocking harder than they have before, proving they know how to torture they instruments for the right sound when needed :) "Time after Time" is a nice longing tune, inviting and sad at once. Two somewhat lighthearted, quick rockers, "Second Guessing" and "Letter Never Sent" bridge the gap to "Camera," definitely one of their best. Stipe's lyrics about a lost friend are truly heart-wrenching and a glowing tribute. The atmospherics to the song are surprisingly intricate too, considering the budgets they were working on back then. "Don't Go Back to Rockville," is another solid masterpiece, a Mill's-penned tune with a great country feel and wistful lyrics. Rounding out the album and lending to its Old-West feel wonderfully is the tight scrappy rocker "Little America," with a very catchy breakdown by Stipe in the chorus. It's a very quick listen, but that's another benefit: You won't have to wait long to rip through it again. Stands wonderfully with Murmurs and their older classics Automatic for the People and New Adventures in Hi-Fi.
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