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Reckoning [2 CD Deluxe Edition] Extra tracks, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Digitally remastered and expanded deluxe two CD edition of the Alt-Rock band's sophomore album featuring a bonus disc that contains a previously unreleased concert recorded during the band's Little America tour at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom on July 7, 1984, and broadcast on WXRT-FM. On the live disc, the group not only performs eight of Reckoning's 10 songs but also new songs that had yet to make it onto tape: 'Driver 8' would later debut on R.E.M.'s third album and 'Hyena' on its fourth. The inclusion of the live concert is particularly appropriate for Reckoning. Whereas Murmur had been complex and painstakingly deliberate, the band's Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, along with producers Mitch Easter and Don Dixon, saw Reckoning as a ''chance to turn up the volume, tear up the rule book, and capture instead R.E.M.'s on-stage mojo,'' according to the liner notes by author Tony Fletcher.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 23, 2009)
  • Rmst DLX Dig Ocrd ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
  • Label: A&M
  • ASIN: B0027WNRK4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,485 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
A couple of universal arguments before considering this release:

1. The entire IRS catalog of REM albums including the "Chronic Town" EP, with the exception of only a handful of songs buried on later albums, is pretty much untouchable in the pantheon of American independent rock. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either 14 or younger, or was listening exclusively to Spandau Ballet and Visage at the time.

2. "Dead Letter Office" exists for a reason, and I'm happy it does. Maybe it'll be beefed up and reissued later, maybe not; but REM decided not to clutter their original albums in re-released form with supplementary distractions, and it was a good decision. I don't want to hear "White Tornado" after "Little America", nor do I need it on a second CD for chronological or historical reasons.

3. The live REM show attached to this reissue is astounding. It's even more powerful than the stellar show attached to "Murmur". Had it stood alone as its own release I would have considered it one of their best releases ever. I've had this classic show for a long time on cassette, and we used to tease it was a punk band playing an REM set. It's so brutal and powerful and direct and honest, you'd think this was a band with 10 confident years under their belt.

So if you buy those general arguments about the package, then you might also share my outlook on the content: "Reckoning" is the most REM of REM albums.
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Format: Audio CD
Elvis Costello once suggested that much of the music of the 1980's was a wasteland. One band and album I'm sure he wasn't referring to was REM and "Reckoning".

I'm not sure if "Reckoning" is REM's finest moment but it certainly is ONE of their finest albums. The band's second album (not counting their EP "Chronic Town")found them expanding on the sound from their "Chronic Town" EP and "Murmur" album giving us more with less--the arrangements are more direct and the performances even more energetic than their debut album. Veering towards Americana and all of its variety in the sounds on the album, "Reckoning" marked a major step forward for one of America's most important bands to come out of the 80's.

Greg Calbi's mastering improves on the original CD in some ways but isn't quite as strong as the limited edition Gold CD that Mobile Fidelity put out a decade ago. Detail is clearer but the album is noticeably louder than previous editions diminishing both the dynamic range and occasionally the power of some songs. That said, "Reckoning" sounds extremely good even if it was compromised somewhat during the mastering process (Calbi tried to keep as much dynamics as possible but keep in mind he was a hired hand and had to do what his bosses asked him to do). Michael Stipe's lyrics are as cryptic as ever but also a bit clearer. Mike Mills' ("Don't Go Back)To Rockville" (a song that Mills wrote for a girlfriend at while still in college)got reworked for the album at a more leisurely time signature creating a hit when it appeared on college radio in 1984.

The real gem here though is the second disc of a live performance.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
By 1984, the path of popular music was an eight lane toll road of synthesizers and drum machines. Angry drivers, were not even paying attention to where they were going. There was no soul or any answers at the end of this highway....To be outta control and speeding to the beat, meant you were in the center of nothing. In all this emptiness, you at last, were surrounded by everyone else, blind to the beautiful view all around them, as if they were machines from a science fiction movie....1984.

From a back country path deep in the South, along comes R.E.M.
This band of light and energy crossed the highway so quickly and headed back into the woods, that hardly anyone payed them any attention. I was lucky to have seen them cross the interstate, and I went exploring in the woods, searching for answers.

Deep into a green forest, I found guitars and drums and words that became strange shapes and forms. Everything else was on the outside of the woods, nothing else was as important as this. I abandoned the eighties, as something better was to be found in this forest....Here, I found hope.

"Reckoning" is my favorite album from R.E.M.
This record, rocks as much as it talks.
"Pretty Persuation" "Harborcoat" "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" "7 Chinese Brothers" "Second Guessing" & "So. Central Rain" are enough music to fill a Greatest Hits record, from any other band. The surprise here is that this is only a second full album of songs from a band that had been touring the South, in a station wagon playing crazy gigs anywhere that would have them.

The sound has improved to the original record, and that in itself is a big deal. But at last the Chicago show that was broadcast in July 1984 (and bootlegged to death) gives us a listen to R.E.
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