YEAR RELEASED: 1984
CHART ACTION: #27 US, #91 UK
SINGLES: So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) (#85 US, #43 Mainstream), (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: 7 Chinese Bros., Pretty Persuasion
LINEUP: Michael Stipe. Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Bill Berry.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second full length from the Athens band moves a bit forward from their fantastic debut towards a more rock oriented sound, but the overall songs aren’t as strong.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While Pavement once said “Time After Time / is my least favorite song”, I think that’s a matter for discussion on this album. Of all of the songs on Reckoning, that one seems to have most of the elements of their debut (that and “Letter Never Sent” could have fit in with Murmur, sound wise, but aren’t that strong).
This second album isn’t a slump from their classic debut, as the first side is fairly strong with some absolute REM classics. The second side wobbles a bit, with some secondary material that are either very similar to other songs or just not as cohesive.
Of course, a second-rate REM song at this time was better than almost every other bands top songs, so this is still a darn great album. Just not up to the standards of the debut.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: One of the iconic songs on the album, “Pretty Persuasion”, was an older tune that producers Don Dixon and Mitch Easter had to convince them to record.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a couple of editions featuring outtakes, alternate cuts, live tracks, you name it.
GRADE: A-: It’s no Murmur, but what is? There’s still a bunch of great, classic tracks here.