For a change this time my wife blindly picked one of my Vinyl Records instead of the usual compact disc format.
R.E.M. - Fables of the Reconstruction (1985)
On a Sunday night in 1990 at a Chinese food restaurant I overheard two people talking about the then new R.E.M. album Green. One of them said, “If you really like that album you should really check out R.E.M.’s first album Document". Hearing the comment left me pretty discouraged. It wasn't because I thought the guy was being ignorant because he thought Document was R.E.M.’s first album, it was because I felt bad this person was missing out on so much great music. They did not know about the bands introduction to the world in Chronic Town, the band's debut album Murmur which pretty much invented College Rock, the laid back minimalism of Reckoning, the near perfect Life’s Rich Pageant or the stories on Fables of the Reconstruction.
Up until 1991's shiny happy Out Of Time album I was a huge R.E.M. fan. So huge that the college I wanted to go to more than anywhere else was University of Georgia because it was in Athens, GA.
Although Fables of the Reconstruction is not my favorite R.EM. Album, I really enjoy it because each song uses music and lyrics to tell a story, all of them taking place in the South R.E.M. called home.
The guitars of “Feeling Gravity’s Pull” feel like they are weighting someone down, only to be let up for the chorus before the strings at the end pin them to the ground. The meandering sounds played “Maps and Legends” perfectly illustrate a guy walking through the backwoods of Georgia attempting to follow a map he wrote himself. Each guitar riff on “Driver 8” (my favorite R.E.M. song) is a chug of the train as it speeds a long. You can actually see the "tree house on the outskirts of the farm" and the "power lines with floaters" that the tired train engineer in the song sees as he drives the train. The fast pace and shooting guitar riffs illustrate the rapid fire bids to the auctioneer speaking at a fast pace while selling off bargains in “Auctioneer (Another Engine)”
R.E.M. does allow themselves one track to have a little fun in the bouncy "Can't Get There from Here". This also happens to be the first R.E.M. song I ever heard.
There is one issue that keeps Fables of the Reconstruction behind Life's Rich Pageant, Murmur, Chronic Town, Document and Reckoning in the order of my favorite R.E.M. albums. "Green Grow the Rushes", "Kohoutek" and "Good Advices" all sound a little to simialr.
In the summer of 1990 my family and I took a trip to look at the University of Georgia and a few other southern schools I was interested in on the way down to Florida. I finally got a chance to see the South and all the people R.E.M sang about on those early albums.
Somehow I ended up going to school in New York. Although I do not remember exactly how it happened I am pretty sure it had something to do with another band who's name began with an R.