The only surprising thing about R.E.Mâ€™s sophomore full length getting the deluxe double disc treatment is that it took so long. Long considered one of the best efforts from one of the most influential bands to come out of the 80â€™s, the rerelease come 25 years after it was first issued. A college radio station staple then and even now, â€œReckoningâ€ finds the band gaining confidence. The lyrics are a bit darker than its predecessor â€œMurmurâ€ and Michael Stipeâ€™s vocals, though often criticized for being mumbled, come out pretty clear. Songs like â€œSo. Central Rain,â€ â€œDonâ€™t Go Back to Rockvilleâ€ and â€œ7 Chinese Brosâ€ all hold up pretty well.
There are a couple of tracks that start to drag down the record a bit, but overall a strong effort by a groundbreaking band. The second disc is a live set recorded in 1984 in Chicago. The sound of the live record is great and includes a fantastic collection of earlier tracks like â€œRadio Free Europeâ€ and â€œGardening at Night.â€ This collection is definitely worth buying if youâ€™re a longtime fan. At the very least, the re-release of this set is a great reminder to dig out their earlier records.
Rating 8.2 out of 10
R.E.M. â€“ Reckoning [CD Deluxe Edition]/26 tracks/A&M/www.remhq.com