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R.E.M.|Reckoning

Reckoning

R.E.M.

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After R.E.M. found commercial and critical success with their 1983 debut, Murmur, the Athens, Georgia, band wasted no time trying to make lightning strike twice. In late 1983 and early 1984, the group returned to where they recorded Murmur, Reflection Sound Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina, and reunited with the LP's co-producers, Mitch Easter and Don Dixon.

However, in a move that would play out time and time again during R.E.M.'s career, the resulting album avoided repetition and embraced sonic progress. More extroverted than Murmur, Reckoning has a crisp-sounding core of warm guitar jangle, taut drums, and lively bass lines. To this the band members—vocalist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry—add various instrumental flourishes: piano chords give gleaming polish to "So. Central Rain" and rustic charm to the country-tinged "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"; latticework-like backing harmonies add buoyancy to the insistent pogo "Letter Never Sent." And "Pretty Persuasion" is punk-like in its execution, as a train-whistle harmonica gives way to whirring riffs and windmilling drums, which crescendo into a bridge full of roaring noise.

Although it's widely believed that Stipe didn't embrace vocal clarity until two albums later on 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant, Reckoning tells a different story. On the slow and sparse "Camera" especially, his voice is haunted with grief as he mourns an ex: "If I'm to be your camera/Then who will be your face?" Elsewhere on the album, while certain specific lyrics might be puzzling ("There's a splinter in your eye and it reads 'react'"), songs are crystal-clear about homesickness, displacement, road-weariness, and the complexity of relationships.

On the rollicking "Second Guessing," however, Stipe is unmistakably clear about how he feels about R.E.M.'s place in the world: "Here we are," he announces, while challenging unnamed critics for "second guessing" them and their approach. Hindsight proves that such confidence was completely justified: Reckoning is a bold, cohesive step forward that propelled R.E.M. further down a path to success. © Annie Zaleksi/Qobuz

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Reckoning

R.E.M.

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1
Harborcoat
00:03:56

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 I.R.S Records Inc.

2
7 Chinese Bros.
00:04:14

R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist - Michael Mills, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 I.R.S Records Inc.

3
So. Central Rain
00:03:15

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 International Records Syndicate Inc.

4
Pretty Persuasion
00:03:53

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 I.R.S Records Inc.

5
Time After Time (Annelise)
00:03:33

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 I.R.S Records Inc.

6
Second Guessing
00:02:49

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 I.R.S Records Inc.

7
Letter Never Sent
00:02:59

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 I.R.S Records Inc.

8
Camera
00:05:50

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 I.R.S Records Inc.

9
(Don't Go Back To) Rockville
00:04:33

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Don Dixon, Producer - Mitch Easter, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 Capitol Records, LLC, Licensed courtesy of EMI Music Australia Pty Limited

10
Little America (Original Album Version)
00:03:41

Mike Mills, ComposerLyricist - R.E.M., MainArtist - MICHAEL STIPE, ComposerLyricist - PETER BUCK, ComposerLyricist - Mitch Easter, Producer - Don A. Dixon, Producer - William Thomas Berry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1984 I.R.S Records Inc.

Album Description

After R.E.M. found commercial and critical success with their 1983 debut, Murmur, the Athens, Georgia, band wasted no time trying to make lightning strike twice. In late 1983 and early 1984, the group returned to where they recorded Murmur, Reflection Sound Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina, and reunited with the LP's co-producers, Mitch Easter and Don Dixon.

However, in a move that would play out time and time again during R.E.M.'s career, the resulting album avoided repetition and embraced sonic progress. More extroverted than Murmur, Reckoning has a crisp-sounding core of warm guitar jangle, taut drums, and lively bass lines. To this the band members—vocalist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry—add various instrumental flourishes: piano chords give gleaming polish to "So. Central Rain" and rustic charm to the country-tinged "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"; latticework-like backing harmonies add buoyancy to the insistent pogo "Letter Never Sent." And "Pretty Persuasion" is punk-like in its execution, as a train-whistle harmonica gives way to whirring riffs and windmilling drums, which crescendo into a bridge full of roaring noise.

Although it's widely believed that Stipe didn't embrace vocal clarity until two albums later on 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant, Reckoning tells a different story. On the slow and sparse "Camera" especially, his voice is haunted with grief as he mourns an ex: "If I'm to be your camera/Then who will be your face?" Elsewhere on the album, while certain specific lyrics might be puzzling ("There's a splinter in your eye and it reads 'react'"), songs are crystal-clear about homesickness, displacement, road-weariness, and the complexity of relationships.

On the rollicking "Second Guessing," however, Stipe is unmistakably clear about how he feels about R.E.M.'s place in the world: "Here we are," he announces, while challenging unnamed critics for "second guessing" them and their approach. Hindsight proves that such confidence was completely justified: Reckoning is a bold, cohesive step forward that propelled R.E.M. further down a path to success. © Annie Zaleksi/Qobuz

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