Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for April 19, 2024

[Reckoned 40 Years Ago] -- Forty years ago this month, R.E.M. released their second studio album, Reckoning, on I.R.S. Records. In the UK, the record came out on April 9, 1984; the US release date was the following week, on April 17. Now, even though I did not discover R.E.M. until the first semester of my freshman year at Penn State, at which time I devoured their first four studio albums. The band was a huge part of my college experience as well as my first several post-college years. So, yes, as I've previously confessed, I'm probably one of the reasons R.E.M. is considered a vanguard of "college radio."

Only two singles were released: "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" and "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville." I guess parentheses can be counted among the band's favored punctuation marks, along with periods and ellipses. "So. Central Rain" peaked at #85 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" failed to chart in either the US or the UK. The album reached #1 on several college charts wile peaking at #27 and #91 on the US Billboard 200 and the UK Album Charts respectively. 

I love both singles, and "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" was part of R.E.M.'s US television debut a year earlier, but they are only two out of the album's ten tracks. So, let's highlight a few of the other tracks. First up, and coming right after "So. Central Rain" on side one of LP, is "Pretty Persuasion." This one has a nice jangle and drive to it, both of which are carried by harmonized vocals. Next is the album's intro track, "Harborcoat," which probably doesn't make too many other fave lists. For me, it is similar to "Pretty Persuasion" in that it has a good driving beat with some cooking guitar by Peter Buck, but "Harborcoat" veers away because it is, lyrically, inscrutable to me (while I believe I do understand "Pretty Persuasion"). I just go along for the ride. Finally, I have to single out one of the album's more introspective songs, "Time After Time (Annelise)." This one captures me because of the haunting, droning guitar and the equally haunting, or is that hypnotic, supporting vocals. 

What are your favorite tracks or memories from this album?

FlashbackReckoning (April 9, 1984)

And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

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