Dead Letter Office


A&M Records, 1987

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


True, R.E.M. is a great band. It has proven to be one of the best of the '90s, and has influenced a lot of the contemporary ones. Though it may seem that we are all well familiar with R.E.M's music, little do we know of the nether side of R.E.M.'s songs. Well, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Dead Letter Office give us a glimpse of the darker side of this Athens outfit.

Very aptly titled, Dead Letter Office contains mainly the 'reject' songs that couldn't make it to R.E.M.'s regular albums. From the pre- Document days, the songs in this album indeed reflect that side of R.E.M.'s, which one should very well stay away from.

There is really nothing much worth writing about the songs in Dead Letter Office. The songs truly represent the breed of typical B-side songs. Mainly due to its length, the album, with just a handful of listenable songs, becomes a bit of a burden on the listener. Though R.E.M's regular songs, classics they are, are often great songs to cover, R.E.M's cover-versions of other artists' songs on this album are disappointing. There are, however, songs like "Crazy," "Burning Down" and "Burning Hell" that are as good as any other songs on regular R.E.M. albums.

Not all is bad about this album. As a matter of fact, the last five songs of the album come as a relief, and save the day. Each one of those five songs from their very first release, an EP called Chronic Town, is a gem, and is indicative of a truly talented and promising band.

For the songs from Chronic Town, this album proves well worth the moolah. Barring that element, though, Dead Letter Office is strictly for avid R.E.M. fans, to complete their collection of R.E.M. albums.

Rating: D

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© 2003 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A&M Records, and is used for informational purposes only.