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Fables of the Reconstruction [Original recording reissued]

R.E.M.Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)

Price: $8.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 1998 $7.99  
Audio CD, Original recording reissued, 1998 $8.95  
Audio Cassette, 1989 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Feeling Gravitys Pull 4:50$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Maps And Legends (Fables of the Reconstruction Version) 3:10$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Driver 8 3:23$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Life And How To Live It 4:08$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Old Man Kensey 4:10$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Can't Get There from Here 3:39$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Green Grow the Rushes 3:46$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Kohoutek 3:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Auctioneer (Another Engine) 2:44$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Good Advices 3:30$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Wendell Gee 3:00$1.29  Buy MP3 

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R.E.M. Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011


R.E.M. marked the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. When their first single, "Radio Free Europe," was released in 1981, it sparked a back-to-the-garage movement in the American underground. While there were a number of hardcore and punk bands in the U.S. during the early '80s, R.E.M. brought guitar pop back into the underground lexicon. Combining ringing guitar ... Read more in Amazon's R.E.M. Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Fables of the Reconstruction + Reckoning + Lifes Rich Pageant
Price for all three: $27.30

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  • Reckoning $7.97
  • Lifes Rich Pageant $10.38

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 27, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: 1985
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000002UW0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,940 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still stirs emotions in me after 15 years. March 12, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I remember the day I bought Fables. Late spring '85, a gray sky overhead with intermittent sprinkles falling, a downpour could have come at any moment, it seemed. I was outdoors, riding a ten speed five miles to the record store on release day to buy the new album by R.E.M., which had become my new favorite band after a college friend of mine introduced me to their music the summer before... Reckoning, which I loved immediately, purchased, and promptly wore the cassette out. Murmur, just the same... bought it on vinyl, made two cassette copies for myself just in case the vinyl wore out. There was such a magic about this band: the sublime melodies, the mysterious lyrics and vocals, so hypnotic you just had to listen repeatedly, yet you could never tire of hearing the songs. I had heard advance rumblings that this album was a departure from Murmur and Reckoning, and as soon as "Feeling Gravity's Pull" resonated through the headphones as I began the journey homeward (thankfully the rain did not come) it was indeed true... this was a departure. The drone of cellos, the murky aura, the downcast nature of the majority of the songs was a far cry from the generally bright and upbeat Reckoning and the rock-folk-punkiness of Murmur. But I loved it anyway, and wore out the cassette as well, and replaced it with the CD as soon as I could afford a player (they were still quite expensive in those days). I went on to purchase every R.E.M. album that followed, and after all of the years that have passed, through all of their stylistic twists and turns, Fables is the one R.E.M. album that still takes me to another place, stirs my emotions more than any of the others, even the equally somber Automatic For The People. Read more ›
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
As a college student in the mid-eighties, we posed the question around the dorm room --- "Did REM make college radio, or did college radio make REM?" Fables is perhaps REM's last hurrah in the college music genre before their foray into an embracing pop culture. After Fables, gone were the twangy folk strains of Peter Buck, the driving bass of Mills, and the incoherent yet hauting howlings of Stipe. Fables is perhaps best experienced as a soundtrack of a drive through the South. The tempos of the first three tracks build to an energy-filled "Life and How to Live It" before taking a short breather with "Old Man Kensey." "Green Grow the Rushes" and "Good Advices" offer introspective commentaries in nicely sonorous melodies. Listen to this album while in a car, being sure to stay off the main roads. Best experienced in mid-summer, turn off the air conditioner and roll down the windows. Notice the landscape around rich in kudzu, Loblolly pines, and red clay. Fables is a perfect accompanyment to the passing sights, smells, and even sounds in the modern South.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Michael built a bridge...Michael tore it down" January 14, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I like all of R.E.M.'s 1980s albums, but their 1985 release Fables of the Reconstruction is my favorite. It is, in my opinion, their most solid album. The other records had at least one or two tracks that I was not crazy about, but this album does not let up. If I had to pick a least favorite song, it would be the banjo-driven "Wendell Gee" which is a little slow, but I can't say it is one of R.E.M.'s weakest songs. The rest of the album is awesome.

"Feeling Gravity's Pull" and "Maps and Legends" fit well side-by-side. They both have a unique, innovative sound, especially "Gravity." "Maps" is my favorite of the two and is, perhaps, my favorite track on this album. It is very upbeat and has excellent use of backing vocals at the chorus. "Driver 8" was one of R.E.M.'s best singles. You feel like your rattling through the countryside on a train when you listen to it. It is my second favorite track off Fables and is one of my all-time R.E.M. favorites. "Life and How to Live It" is a great, upbeat track. Stipe's wailing is a little much at times but it doesn't detract from the song like the wailing on "Just a Touch" off Lifes Rich Pageant. "Old Man Kensey" is a darker, slow song with the usual beautiful guitar work.

The other single off Fables was "Can't Get There From Here" which is an upbeat, fun track. "Green Grow the Rushes" and "Good Advices" are slower, pleasant tracks. "Kohoutek" is an interesting track. It has a very full sound and a lot of depth. Each time I listen to it, I like it better. The rocker "Auctioneer (Another Engine)" is another one of my favorites. If you only have R.E.M.'s singles compilations and are thinking about buying some of their 1980s studio releases, I recommend starting with Fables of the Reconstruction. It is one of their most accessible albums and is their most solid. It will leave you wanting to get their entire 1980s back catalogue!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Time and distance are out of place here..." April 18, 2000
Format:Audio CD
At first I didn't like this album. I found it too dark, too murky, too chaotic. Nowadays, I love "Fables of the Reconstruction/Reconstruction of the Fables", probably for much the same reasons. It's certainly one of R.E.M's least accessible albums - certainly not one to recommend to someone in the hope of converting them (try "Lifes Rich Pageant" or "Green" for this). "Fables" is like a good wine - it matures with age and this is perhaps the chief reason why it is so good - it stands the test of time, especially so coming from that unfortunate period known as the eighties. The opening track is stunning - the three jarring notes that open (and recur throughout) "Feeling Gravitys Pull" are indeed memorable - the song itself is filled with terrific imagery ("oceans fall and mountains drift"), seemingly about the beauty and restrictive power of nature. Thematically the rest of the album, as the circular title suggests, is about legends and tales of the deep South. There's folk rock ("Maps and Legends"), the manic "Life and How to Live It" and the cacophonic (and somewhat sluggish) "Old Man Kensey", all inspired by local personalities. "Driver 8" is gorgeous and the first single, "Can't Get There From Here" is probably the most out of place song, being upbeat, funky and happy. The songs which I always thought somewhat muddled and impenetrable, namely "Kohoutek" and "Auctioneer (Another Engine)" I now find to be really enjoyable, while "Green Grow the Rushes" and "Good Advices", two ballads which are soothing and unsettling at the same time, I have always loved. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars R.E.M.!
A.K.A. 'Reconstruction of the Fables'. A very strong showing following up on their first two L.P. releases. A must have for any REM aficionado.
Published 3 months ago by Kurk Schoner
5.0 out of 5 stars A strange but welcoming record.
Released in 1985, Fables Of The Reconstruction was R.E.M.'s third album and has the most mixed reception by both critics and fans of their early I.R.S. years. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Michael
3.0 out of 5 stars if you like R.E.M., you'll be mildly amused
bought it without ever hearing a single cut from the disc, for no other reason than i like R.E.M. probably oughta listen to it in it's completeness about 10 times in a row before... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars My second favorite behind Monster
Monster will always be my favorite album, but this one, Fables of the Reconstruction, comes in at a very close second behind it. Read more
Published 17 months ago by jsharbour
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe these songs and lyrics have been misunderstood... by me!
There are many people who grew up with R.E.M who constantly hearken back to FABLES OF THE RECONSTRUCTION/RECONSTRUCTION OF THE FABLES as being not only the finest of the IRS years,... Read more
Published on June 6, 2012 by James Donnelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe We've Caught The Legend
Sounding not particularly identical to what came before or after it, "Fables Of The Reconstruction" is neither REM's most universally recognizable, acclaimed, or popular release,... Read more
Published on January 4, 2012 by kabalabonga
5.0 out of 5 stars SWEET album
You gotta buy this one! and the rest of REM too! Love ya Michael, Mikey, Peter and Bill.
Published on August 8, 2011 by jonathan brailsford
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential to understanding all the fuss
Buy this album. In my opinion, one of the top five albums of all time. REM at the peak of perfection.
Published on June 2, 2010 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite R.E.M. album
I bought this album off of Rhapsody, because I wanted "Driver 8", and at the time, for some reason, Rhapsody said I had to buy the whole album if I wanted that one song. Read more
Published on May 5, 2010 by Joseph Rankin
4.0 out of 5 stars First REM albums: a great joy to listen
Truly among the best albums in I.R.S. years. Another great folk example, to be joined with 'Murmur' in your R.E.M. collection. Read more
Published on November 14, 2009 by David L. Carcoba
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