Lifes Rich Pageant: 25th Anniversary Edition
R.E.M.’s terrific fourth album is usually lost in the shuffle between 1985’s meh Fables of the Reconstruction and 1987’s commercial breakthrough Document. Too bad, since some of the band’s best songs – “Begin the Begin,” “Fall on Me,” “I Believe” – are here. This two-disc 25th anniversary edition adds 19 demos R.E.M. laid down in their hometown of Athens, Georgia, including a few (“Bad Day,” “Wait”) that never made it on to their official albums. But it’s the remastered Lifes Rich Pageant that deserves another listen. Fables was a dark, moody exploration of the band’s southern roots; on Pageant they get back to the turbocharged indie hooks that made them college radio’s biggest group back in the day. Rich indeed.