New R.E.M. reissues are afoot, getting some of that early I.R.S. Records material back into circulation. Life’s Rich Pageant was the band’s fourth album, first released in 1986, when Stipe and co. were still young, hungry and indie. Includes their cover of The Clique’s song ‘Superman’. Reissued by Universal.
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Right, people listen up. R.E.M were fucking amazing. Let's just take what they did in the '80s on it's own and we have an incredible body of work. 'Lifes Rich Pageant' was the moment they went from pastoral mumblers to a potential stadium rock band and hits the sweet spot just right.
The album has so many highlights that it's hard to know where to begin but we could start at 'Begin the Begin' that has amazing riffage and tubthumping drums yet still manages to not be blindingly obvious. 'Fall on Me' has to be one of the finest songs written by anyone ever and is so life affirming it makes you want to pop a balloon and 'Cuyahoga' harks back towards the southern song stories of 'Fables of the Reconstruction' but with added political bite. And if you had REM down as being rather a brow furrowing proposition then listen to the marvellous '60s power pop of closer of 'Superman'.
In truth I'm barely scratching the surface. Cleverly, they brought in John Cougar Mellencamp producer Don Gehman in to oversee this and he perfectly supersizes R.E.M's sound without ever be at risk of anyone screaming sell out.
9/10 Jack Customer review, 11th July 2016
Life's Rich Pageant is the fourth R.E.M. full-length album, and like the predecessors, is accomplished. This album, like the others, has a trademark. Here it contains their most unconventionally conventional pop and rock songs. "...Pageant" contains propulsive anthems and some of their most pop-pleasing songs of any album. Their accomplishments were enough to propel them to the top ten next time around. Song for song, Life's Rich Pageant lives up to its title and delivers a record just as worthy as most of R.E.M.'s best work.
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