R.E.M. Listening Club


I don’t know whether anyone bought this Q R.E.M. Special produced around the time of Reveal? Just dug it out from my archives.

Thought this might be of interest while we’re on Reckoning: Malk’s personal take on the role the album played in his life - one of my heroes writing about some of my others.

Some great writing here - you might need to download the image to expand it so it’s readable:


unseen power is my favourite pavement song I think, maybe. disagree with him about time after time though


I definitely used to have that - think I might have lost it after splitting with my wife.


So Reckoning… The REM album that I’ve listened to most down the years. Loved revisiting it this week, might well be an all time top 10 for me.
The songwriting throughout is masterful, such strong melodies… every song is an ear worm.
Harborcoat is just a perfect opener. As mentioned upthread, it’s hook after hook, and Mills backing vocals are ace.
Camera is simply gorgeous.
Little America as closer is genius. It’s so catchy and being pretty short, it makes you want to listen to the whole album again immediately.

Looking forward to the next few weeks as I’ve not spent as much time with the rest of the IRS era albums, largely because when I was younger Reckoning cast a shadow over a chunk of their catalog and I didn’t connect with those albums in the same way.


I think I’m massively out of step with everyone else here :reckoning doesn’t do nearly as much for me as all of the rest of the IRS stuff (with the exception of fables ). It doesn’t have the mystery of murmur but neither does it have the glorious extrovert sing a longs of pageant, falls well short of both in my humbles.


so hyped for fables week


nah I kiiiiiind of agree - I think the best songs (Harborcoat and So Central Rain) are incredible and it is a really good record, but it’s a bit straight-down-the-line indie, especially coming in between Murmur and Fables


I think there’ll be a lot of people thinking Pageant is the best in a couple of weeks’ time. But Reckoning is second best of the IRS era for me.


My opinion too. Its hard to fault it exactly, it’s just missing a uniqueness and spark I get from Murmur and (for me) Pageant. Fables never clicked with me but I didn’t persevere, maybe next week is the time for that.


it’s not any more weird than referring to it as ‘just the music’ tbh, not to be argumentative about it…and who could even make out the lyrics on most of the album.


could say the same about Fall on Me and that’s a consensus favourite.


I think I just about prefer Reckoning over Murmur. The obvious tracks got my attention (So Central Rain, Pretty Persuasion, Rockville) because I’ve heard them before. Other tracks (Harborcoat, Second Guessing, Little America) were just as good. Like Murmur, not getting the slow tempo stuff like Time after Time or Camera. Need more listens? Really enjoying the melodic bass playing.

Current ranking of bands who debuted with an EP followed by two albums in quick succession.
1 Pixies


Pageant is one i never really want to come back to. it tails off massively on the second side, and the first side is exhilirating the first time you hear it but progressively less so with time. i think it’s arguably their weakest album from their youthful era.
Superman is a bit rubbish too


yes! It has a really good energy to it and, you know, Fall On Me, but it’s easily their weakest 80s album, I always think people who think it’s amazing must have totally seen something I haven’t. Loads (well, several) of the tracks on it were old songs that had been in their sets since before Murmur. Still a pretty damn good record by most standards though.


Weaker than Document? Hmm…


Pageant is either my fave or second gave rem album ever


I mean they’re all great records and each to their own etc etc. I think Document is tremendous, but there is a definite tension between hit singles and very weird album tracks


actually i take this back about Superman.


Oh as we’re still on Reconing (just), I’ll say what my wife used to sing for Rockville when we started going out:

“Don’t go back to Rochdale,
And waste another year…”

Obv as I was from Rochdale it made a lot of sense…


Yeah, i do to. Time After Time might not be the best song on the record, but I really love that droning guitar riff.

Maybe twinned the bongos it was a little too psych for the adolescent Malkmus?