Lifes Rich Pageant [reissue] - CAPITOL/I.R.S.
FILTER Grade: 87%
By Nevin Martell on July 21, 2011
R.E.M.’s now-classic fourth album marked the beginning of its evolution from indie scamps to mainstream mainstays. With Don Gehman (John Mellencamp, Eric Clapton) at the helm, the Athens, Georgia, four-piece focused on keening choruses (“Fall On Me”) and jangly pop (“Superman”), which helped them reach beyond their fervent college radio base. A new, second disc of demos offers an enchanting bare bones look at the album, plus early versions of several other songs, such as a punchy, punky “Bad Day” and a cheerily pell-mell “Mystery to Me.” The whole package is a head-snapping reminder that when R.E.M. was on fire, you couldn’t put them out with all the water in the world.