Like their debut, Reckoning was produced by Mitch Easter and Don Dixon. They intended to capture R.E.M.’s live sound and used binaural recording. The album was recorded faster than usual in order to prevent meddling from I.R.S. to make the album “more commercial”. The album had two singles, and reached #27 in the US and #91 in the UK, and reached Gold status. Many of the songs have watery imagery.
- “Harborcoat”: the album starts with a frenetic-paced opener with some good vocals from Berry and Stipe.
- “7 Chinese Brothers”: This song was inspired by The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Hutchet Bishop, in which five boys have special powers. One of which is capable of swallowing the ocean. I like the drumming and guitar work.
- “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)”: I’ve watched the video for this song, and it is so weird to see how Stipe looked when the band was starting out. I like the somber feel of the main riff. This is Thom Yorke’s favorite R.E M. song, and one of mine too.
- “Pretty Persuasion”: Another one of my favorites. The guitar hits hard and there’s a good rhythm. I think it’s the best song on the album.
- “Time After Time (Annelise)”: Another nice somber track with some good bass.
- “Second Guessing “: A decent guitar on this one.
- “Letter Never Sent”: This has a good rhythm to it.
- “Camera”: This is about a friend who died in a car crash. It’s probably one of the darkest songs on the album.
- “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”: This was written by Mills as a plea to his girlfriend not to return to Rockville, a town in Maryland. In fact, sometimes Mike Mills would sing the lead vocals instead of Stipe. It has a good piano solo. It was later covered by 10,000 Maniavs
- “Little America”: Not a good closer, but not bad.
Final Verdict: This is a rushed follow-up, and although I like Murmur better, it’s not a sophomore slump.