It is hard to believe that REM’s Life’s Rich Pageant has turned 25 this year. I remember it as my favorite REM record since it was unpretentious, rough and had some great moments of pop weirdness.
“Being The Begin,” “Fall On Me” and “Superman” are favorites but the entire record has a rock solid feel to it. In fact it may be the band’s last great moment before the pop fame and celebrity began with their next record, Document. ”Hyena” and “Cuyahoga” are also two well written and well textured tracks.
On this album the band acted as a tight unit. Peter Buck plays a mean guitar that coats Michael Stipe’s voice in a pleasantly understated way. Mike Mills and Bill Berry complete the sound, giving the record a buoyancy not found in their recent work.
Plus this is also an historical record of what alternative music sounded like in 1986, right before indie went mainstream and exploded in the 90s.
I think it is one of those classic records that everyone should hear at least once. The remaster features the original album along with nineteen unreleased demo recordings. The demos for “Fall On Me” and “Bad Day” are particularly interesting. For example, demos for “I Believe” and “Flowers of Guatemala” are noticeably different. You can hear a band searching and experimenting for what they want.
If you are a hardcore fan of REM or just like this record, pick it up. If you want to relive those magical days of flannel shirts and college radio then check this remaster out.
Unlike the earlier REM reissues this one has some substance and depth to it that make it enjoyable.
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