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Life's Rich Pageant

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Editors’ Notes

After the moody and mysterious Fables of the Reconstruction, R.E.M. teamed up with producer Don Gehman to make the hardest- rocking album of their career to date. Michael Stipe’s vocals were pushed to the front of the mix and Peter Buck’s jangle was punched up to a guitar roar on songs such as “Begin the Begin” and “These Days” and given an extra snarl for “Cuyahoga,” “Hyena” and “I Believe.” The single, “Fall On Me,” showcased a haunting, dizzying melody, while “Swan Swan H” played like a forlorn British folk song from centuries past. The album solidified the band’s college-radio base and set them in motion to become one of the ‘80s biggest groups.

Customer Reviews

An amazing, wonderful album

Lifes Rich Pageant (shame on iTunes for including the apostrophe) is a classic transition album and is one of R.E.M.’s very finest. Recorded under very different circumstances than their previous album Fables of the Reconstruction, Pageant features the members of R.E.M. starting to branch out, with Michael’s lyrics moving front and center into areas including political and deep personal concerns, Peter’s guitar coming front and center whether in a loud way (Begin the Begin) or in a acoustic lead (Swan Swan H), and Bill’s drums gaining clarity and a greater presence. R.E.M.’s secret weapon Mike Mills takes lead on Superman and provides gorgeous backing vocals. The band sounds like it’s having a hell of a lot of fun, too, with tracks like Just a Touch, Superman and Underneath the Bunker.

And I haven’t even mentioned that this record features one of R.E.M.’s very best songs, Fall on Me. I think that this album is just a track or two short of being a greatest album of all time, and incredibly, R.E.M. had the material at the time to pull it off in the form of “Bad Day” and “Theme from Two Steps Onward”, which are both available as slightly unvarnished rarities.


The best

Clearly their best LP. From start to finish.....


the best rem album RR


Formed: 1980 in Athens, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

R.E.M. marked the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. When their first single, "Radio Free Europe," was released in 1981, it sparked a back-to-the-garage movement in the American underground. While there were a number of hardcore and punk bands in the U.S. during the early '80s, R.E.M. brought guitar pop back into the underground lexicon. Combining ringing guitar hooks with mumbled, cryptic lyrics and a D.I.Y. aesthetic borrowed from post-punk, the band simultaneously sounded traditional...
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