With seven albums in the 1000, R.E.M. are one of the better represented groups to appear on the list. Two of these, Murmur and Automatic for the People are in the upper 250 of the list in rather lofty positions. Whilst I am not looking at placements for the remaining albums on the 1000, Reckoning is one of the lower of the R.E.M. albums that I will be listening to – although still in a respectable position, which is rightfully higher than FutureSex/LoveSounds.
It’s hard for me to not think of R.E.M. as their Automatic for the People selves rather than this darker group that they were at the beginning. A little bit disorientating at first, but you get used to it eventually and then try to remember back to how they were on their debut.
As a second album, Reckoning is not a massive departure from their work on Murmur. It’s more a refining of what made for a great debut rather than them necessarily trying something new on for size. Is it missing the great single? Yes, there are no songs on here that quite reach ‘Radio Free Europe’. In fact, when listening to this I was beginning to feel a real need to listen to ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ – guess that there is a mood similarity between this album and that song.
This isn’t to say there aren’t really good songs on here. Me being me, I like it when R.E.M. go a bit more on the upbeat side like the alternative country stylings of ‘(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville’, the jangle pop of ‘So. Central Rain’ or the faster moving ‘Little America’ which has a bit of U2 in it. Reckoning is a really good album and it is over so quickly that you just want more.