R.E.M. – Reckoning [2 CD Deluxe Edition]

The only surprising thing about R.E.M’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 80’s, the rerelease come 25 years after it was first issued. A college radio station staple then and even now, “Reckoning” finds the band gaining confidence. The lyrics are a bit darker than its predecessor “Murmur” and Michael Stipe’s vocals, though often criticized for being mumbled, come out pretty clear. Songs like “So. Central Rain,” “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” and “7 Chinese Bros” 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 “Radio Free Europe” and “Gardening at Night.” This collection is definitely worth buying if you’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. – Reckoning [CD Deluxe Edition]/26 tracks/A&M/www.remhq.com

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