10 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After Murmur turned the Athens, Ga., quartet into mini-stars, R.E.M. didn’t waste time, with Reckoning slipping into stores a short year after that mysterioso debut album. Certainly a less mind-altering experience than its predecessor, Reckoning was hardly a retreat; its often more straightforward charms served to bring another view of the band’s gifts to light. Strong hints of acoustic-based glories to come were present in moments as varied as the countryish college-radio hits “So. Central Rain” and “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” and the raga-rock experiment “Time After Time,” while full-on stompers like “Pretty Persuasion” and “Little America” showcased drummer Bill Berry as a cogent musical engine. Through all this, a modesty prevailed, as if a clear decision had been made to simply do the work and go. But the steps R.E.M. was taking were long, hurtling ones.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After Murmur turned the Athens, Ga., quartet into mini-stars, R.E.M. didn’t waste time, with Reckoning slipping into stores a short year after that mysterioso debut album. Certainly a less mind-altering experience than its predecessor, Reckoning was hardly a retreat; its often more straightforward charms served to bring another view of the band’s gifts to light. Strong hints of acoustic-based glories to come were present in moments as varied as the countryish college-radio hits “So. Central Rain” and “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” and the raga-rock experiment “Time After Time,” while full-on stompers like “Pretty Persuasion” and “Little America” showcased drummer Bill Berry as a cogent musical engine. Through all this, a modesty prevailed, as if a clear decision had been made to simply do the work and go. But the steps R.E.M. was taking were long, hurtling ones.

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