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Fables Of The Reconstruction [2 CD Deluxe Edition] Box set, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Extra tracks, July 13, 2010
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  • Fables Of The Reconstruction [2 CD Deluxe Edition]
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Editorial Reviews

Originally released in 1985, R.E.M.'s 3rd album, Fables of The Reconstruction peaked at #28 on the Billboard charts and spawned two hit singles, Can t Get There From here and Driver 8. Breaking with their tradition of recording in Athens GA, the band recorded in England with producer Joe Boyd.

This 25th Anniversary Edition features the classic album digitally remastered. The bonus disc is a complete run thorugh of the album done in studio in Athens, before the band left for London for the actual recording sessions. These demos have never before been released and feature three additional tracks, not on the final album, including "Throw Those Trolls Away, " a song the band has never released.

The albums are packaged in a lift top box and include a poster and 4 postcards, as well as the CD booklet.
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Digital Booklet: Fables Of The Reconstruction (Deluxe Edition)
Digital Booklet: Fables Of The Reconstruction (Deluxe Edition)
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 13, 2010)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B003M70P1M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,062 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The mid-80s, as the cool documentary "American Hardcore" points out, was a weird time of hopeless "what now?" attitude in American underground music. Punk had died, heck even some were nostalgic for it, and "alternative rock" was its replacement, mass acceptance and MTV buzz-bin hipness on the horizon. Minor Threat spoke of "Salad Days". The stuff you prided yourself in "discovering" was showing up a month later in John Hughes flicks. To be labeled a "sellout" was the ultimate insult, meaning the most extreme loss of integrity, something that you just always knew a band like REM wasn't interested in. When REM released their 3rd, there were word-of-mouth stories of how the album almost broke them, about how they recorded it in London yet it turned out to be as Southern as Georgia clay, and how it was still strange enough that you needn't worry about their pictures being plastered on your younger sister's bedroom wall alongside Wham! and Duran Duran. We were safe in their weird eccentricity - despite a hit single.

In many ways, "Fables Of The Reconstruction" is not just the quintessential REM album, it's the last REM album. Their final weird, spooky take on Southern Americana before big drums and global fist-clenching, they move thoughtfully here, even when the songs are frantic. Michael Stipe is at his lyrical and stylistic peak: he became a cryptic storyteller, bending his harmonies, screaming, whispering - he's all over the place. Buck takes charge, making noises and sounds that legions of college-aged kids would replicate in years to come. The band itself plays with clear precision, interesting for an album that has a rep as a jangly mess. A good word is "immersed": you feel, at any time, that these songs are beneath, or that you are beneath them.
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Format: Audio CD
It seems so long ago, but in the early 1980s, REM was such a breath of musical fresh air. The punk era had morphed into new wave, new wave had morphed into the new romantics, but what of American rock n' roll? These four college kids from Athens, Georgia toured the U.S. extensively, playing small clubs, lodging at the homes of college disc jockeys, and playing what was, for that time, unique sounding folk influenced rock music featuring Peter Buck's "jangly" guitar lines, Michael Stipe's deep voiced but mostly incomprehensible lyrics, Mike Mills' melodic bass playing and harmony vocals and Bill Berry's solid drums. REM inspired countless college bands and came to be synonymous with the concepts "alternative" and "indie" rock. During their "early" period they recorded a terrific EP, Chronic Town, an incredible debut album, Murmur (Rolling Stone's 1983 album of the year), an equally strong sophomore effort, Reckoning, and this dark, atmospheric third album, Fables of The Reconstruction. It was their last album before they began altering their sound on the way to superstardom.

When it was released, Fables was an absolute knock-out album, and with two MTV/radio friendly singles, "Can't Get There From Here" and "Driver 8," was for many, including this reviewer, their first real introduction to REM. I fondly remember traveling up and down the California coast in the summer of 1985 listening to this album over and over on the car stereo.

Over the years, however, Fables has been viewed as a lesser REM album. There is a general perception that the band members do not like it, and I do recall reading one interview with the band that supported this perception.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Fables of the Reconstruction is my favorite R.E.M. album. I can listen to every track straight through, but this reissue is a disappointment. Other than the volume of the music following the modern trend of being turned very loud, causing audio compression, there's nothing special about the sound quality. The album has always lacked bass, and there's been no attempt to enhance that. But since the new remaster already shows some signs of distortion, boosting the bass would have caused more. I already have the remasters of Murmur and Reckoning, and have my reservations on the loud volume and sound quality on those as well. But after this recent disappointment, I will not pursue any further R.E.M remasters. If your idea of "sparkling" or "improved" sound means much louder, then this remaster is for you.

The packaging is nice, but I have no interest in these demos. The poster is nice but it would have never left the box anyway. So at this price, it's going back and I am sticking to the original CD I bought back in 1989.

If you want to hear the results of a very satisfying remaster, check out the brand new deluxe edition of the classic debut album by A-ha. Though the volume is louder, the compression is minimal and the sound is very improved over the previous CD. This type of result is certaily a rarity these days. Louder does not constitute "remastered".
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Format: Audio CD
As Peter Buck writes in the (way too brief, but we'll get to that in a second) line notes, "Fables Of The Reconstruction" is definitely R.E.M.'s most misunderstood record. The first time I heard it was in 1992 when a friend got it for me for Christmas. Up to that point the only albums I owned by them were "Out Of Time", "Green" and the newly released "Automatic For The People" so this was my first real dose of early R.E.M. I remember not being too impressed with the album, apart from "Driver 8", and it quickly gathered dust in my CD collection.

But then something happened...as I got older and revisited the album, I found myself enjoying it more and more and now consider it one of their best. So naturally, after eating up the 25th Anniversary reissues of "Murmur" and "Reckoning", I was beyond excited when I heard the official word that "Fables" would receive the same deluxe treatment.

The music itself on here has never sounded better, and while I sort of preferred the period era live sets that were included with both previous reissues, the demos are a nice touch.

The only reason I am giving this 4 stars instead of 5 is the packaging. I don't quite understand why they switched it up with this one and didn't have it the same way as "Murmur" and "Reckoning". Yeah, the poster is neat (even though I'll never hang it up, it will just sit in the box) and so are the cards...but I'd rather just have a nice booklet with extensive liner notes. Peter Buck is notorious for writing really informative, cool liner notes and I feel like the two pages he wrote for this record were done last minute and just leave me wanting more. Here's to hoping that next year when they (hopefully) reissue "Life's Rich Pagaent" they focus more on the content rather than packaging.
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