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Life's Rich Pageant
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Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Begin The Begin - R.E.M.|
|3. Fall on Me|
|5. These Days|
|6. Underneath the Bunker|
|7. The Flowers of Guatemala|
|8. I Believe|
|9. What if We Give it Away?|
|10. Just a Touch|
|11. Swan Swan H|
After a harrowing experience recording their previous album (1985's magnificent Fables Of The Reconstruction), R.E.M. reconvened the following year muttering something about a "poppier" sound. However, old fans were given little to complain about when Life's Rich Pageant was unveiled. Admittedly new producer Don Gehman had cleaned things up; you can even hear what Michael Stipe was singing on a couple of songs. And, yes, there's even a novelty cover ("Superman"). All these factors though, point to a band really enjoying themselves in the studio, from the euphoric clatter of "Begin The Begin" to the poignant waltz-time strum of "Swan Swan H". Highlights? Too many to mention--but it's hard to disagree with Stipe when he cites "Cuyahoga" and the hymnal "Fall On Me" as two of his very best. And, of the extra tracks, an exquisitely bare "(All I Have To Do Is) Dream" runs them damn close. --Peter Paphides --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Begin the Begin"- Probably the strangest riff ever (sounds like a Hindu snakecharmer managed to learn how to play guitar) stuck in the middle of one of R.E.M.'s heaviest songs ever. This song is the perfect way to open the record, and lets you know exactly what you are going to hear for the next forty minutes. Probably the only time R.E.M. opened a record this way.
"These Days"- I think this song is probably the best guitar driven song that R.E.M. has ever recorded. I've never heard anything like it before or since. And talk about fast and driving! If this song doesn't get you going and your blood pumping, you need help.
"Fall on Me"- Almost everyone's heard this one. I like it a lot, but it's not my favorite on the record. Maybe I've just heard it too much.
"Cuyahoga"- The record's high point, in terms of songwriting and performance. The song is so simple and is played with so much restraint that it is engrossing.Read more ›
I especially like the songs "Begin the Begin", "Cuyahoga", and "Superman". However, though the album is rich with some lush and pretty music (it might be the most beautiful upbeat R.E.M. album -- "Automatic for the People" being the most beautiful pensive R.E.M. album) I think its overall quality is a bit less than that of predecessors "Murmur" and "Reckoning" and ancestor "Document".
While representing a bit of a departure from past R.E.M. sound, I'd say that "Life's Rich Pageant" isn't so much a seminal R.E.M. album like "Murmur" or "Out of Time" as it is a bridge between the first three albums ("Murmur", "Reckoning", and "Fables of the Reconstruction") and the two immediately subsequent albums, "Document" and "Green." Songs like "Superman" definitely foreshadow what was to come in those two follow-ups. Other songs, like "Cuyahoga", hearken back more to the three previous albums.
"Life's Rich Pageant" is yet another great R.E.M. record and definitely worth owning. The band's albums are all so good you'll see in each album's reviews, including this one's, a claim by someone saying that that particular album is the band's best. That is the sure sign of a great band.
For fans like myself this is the ultimate REM experience. For newcomers, an excellent introduction. For those sitting on the fence, it'll knock you clean to the ground on the REM side.
On previous albums, Stipe's vocals remain firmly buried in the mix, the lyrics practically indecipherable in places. This album shows Stipe's astounding vocal ability off to it's best. Heart-felt, passionate, full of emotion. The lyrics are often cryptic and abstract, yet somehow relevant ; as we've come to expect.
The instrumentation is virtually perfect, and not rooted in the 80's which means that the album hasn't aged at all, it's timeless and classic. This could be REM of the 80's, of the 90's, of the 21st century. Layers of delicate sound, blended to make the rich, soul-inspiring melodies which can lift us up or send us down effortlessly.
Stand out tracks include the beautifully simple "What if We Give it Away?", and the heavier yet controlled "Begin the Begin". The folk-esque "Swan Swan H" sticks in your mind with it's melodic guitar and lilting phrasing, and "Superman" is worth listening to for the harmonies alone. Tremendous.
The pivotal importance of this album in the career of the biggest band in the world today cannot be overplayed. This is the very essence of REM. Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe all at their creative best. Essential.
What grabbed my attention, even after hearing the album several times, is that R.E.M. were so successful in creating a new and unique bite to their sound without sounding like laboring fools or contrived trend-jumpers. Just A Touch and These Days illustrate this perfectly, giving you the clean punch in the teeth that all of us expected, but did not receive, from Monster.
But there is still one foot firmly planted in their original ground with I Believe and Cuyahoga, which sound like they could have fit on Reckoning. Underneath The Bunker, while being a tongue-in-cheek tango, proves to be way more entertaining than the short snipets that R.E.M. considered but threw away (see Dead Letter Office).
Fall On Me has aged very well. This song used to be just a blank page to me, but somehow it clicked with me last night. Maybe it's the way the chorus just repeats itself over and over towards the end. Normally, that agitates me. But with Fall On Me, it mysteriously does not.
Even Superman is good. Mike Mills taking lead vocals on a goofy golden-oldies rock n' roll tune may sound like a blueprint for disaster, but it succeeds. Stipe's harmony perfectly matches Mills' (if any of you have heard live bootlegs of R.E.M. tackling vocal harmonies onstage are familiar with the painful results).
This is not to say that Life's Rich Pageant is 100% perfect. The Flowers of Guatemala and What If We Give It Away? are merely there. But the good far outweighs the not-so-good any day. I love it. And like I said, it's not even my favorite.
Most recent customer reviews
How times flies. Most would say , this is REM at their greatest. I would estimate this at the level of " Fables of construction...". Read morePublished 18 months ago by Luc Morin
This is more like R.E.M. live sounds like, if you've grown up on the slower "Everybody Hurts" tracks in their career. Read morePublished on Sept. 21 2009 by Brian Maitland
This album is great from start to finish. There are no weak cuts and some of their greatest and most experimental songs of all-time. Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by MAGA
Largely underrated by even most fans, Pageant is quite simply the best album of REM's career(and that takes some doing!)Songwriting,invention and melody at its absolute peak. Read morePublished on April 4 2004
Absolutely R.E.M.'s best album. If you were too young to experience it back in the day and wonder what all the R.E.M hype is all about, this album will provide the answers. Read morePublished on March 24 2004
With "Life's Rich Pageant," REM does an about-face from the arty "Fables." The drums are pushed to the forefront, the guitars use a lot of distortion, the song... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004 by saxmaster3
.....and it still does. Regardless of how old hat REM may have become, they were a great band and have a lot to be proud of. Their first 5 albums or so are well worth picking up. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2003