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Fables of the Reconstruction

4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Fables of the Reconstruction
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  • Document (Ann. Ed) (Rm)
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  • Green: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Total price: CDN$ 74.70
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 10 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000002UW0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,253 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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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
8. Kohoutek
9. Auctioneer (Another Engine)
10. Good Advices
11. Wendell Gee

Product Description

Product Description

Fables Of The Reconstruction


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

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I must confess I was somewhat shocked at learning that the band didn't think much of this record. I know all their albums almost by heart now, and I always considered "Fables..." as one of REM's finest. I suppose this shows just how a work of art, once it is finished, becomes something that no longer belongs to its creators, and gains a life of its own. More than any other REM album, this is one to listen to from beginning to end, as one single story with several changes of mood.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is the first album I purchased from R.E.M.s IRS days, and let me tell you, it's a real treat. Such good variety of songs, there's something in this collection that would appeal to everyone.
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!
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Format: Audio CD
"Fables of the Reconstruction" is the quiet darkhorse in R.E.M.'s collection. The band isn't too high on it and judging by the number of reviews on here compared to other R.E.M. albums, it's not as popular with R.E.M. fans, either.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
This is one of the first R.E.M. records I ever owned (I think I had Life's Rich Pageant first). Being a teenager at the time (1986), it was a very hard record to "get into". I liked a few of the songs, such as "Feeling Gravity's Pull", "Driver 8", and "Kohoutek", but really didn't get most of it. During the 1990's, as R.E.M. became just another band gone awry, I forgot about the record, and grew up. I pulled this record out of one of my boxes a couple of years ago, put it on, and "got it".
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.
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