Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this music junkie as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. Compact Discs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no files.

Monday, July 25, 2016

R.E.M. - Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)

Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD (the original issue, not the subsequent reissues in 1993 and 2011).

Last week, I was motoring along many of the same roads in San Antonio that I traveled back in the summer of 1986 and this album came to mind. A quick stop into a used CD store and 4 bucks later I had the soundtrack for the rest of my visit and most of the ride back home.

The fourth studio album from R.E.M., I thought it rocked harder than any of its predecessors; the change to producer Don Gehman done did the boys some good. The group was no longer a "college radio" band - hell, they practically invented that genre - they had become a rock band. Even though it doesn't contain my favorite R.E.M. single (that would be either Radio Free Europe or Can't Get There From Here), it quickly became my favorite R.E.M. album and has never relinquished that honor.

Press of the time:

Michael Stipe was improving as a lyricist and vocalist, so there's not as much mumbling mushmouth as in previous releases.  (As I type this sentence, the horrid lyrics "I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract" from I Believe are playing, making me reconsider what I've just written.)

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #21
Peak on the Billboard Pop CD chart*: #11
Peak on the CashBox CD chart*: #15
Peak on the Rolling Stone chart: #12

Tracks: let's rank 'em
  1. Begin The Begin
  2. Hyena
  3. Superman
  4. Just A Touch
  5. These Days
  6. Cuyahoga
  7. The Flowers Of Guatemala
  8. Fall On Me
  9. What If We Give It Away
  10. I Believe
  11. Underneath the Bunker
  12. Swan Swan H
Fall On Me has been called "the finest song in the R.E.M. canon" but to me, it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album. We also get a brief, novelty song in Underneath The Bunker and an awesome cover of Superman, a song originally recorded by the 60's Houston band The Clique. To be honest, I've never heard of The Clique apart from this cover.

For more information on the brief life of the CD longbox,
go visit The Legend of the Longbox.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: see this previous post

Previously revisited for the blog:
Eponymous (1988)

1 comment:

  1. Two band's albums I never bought until much much later were R.E.M. and Pink Floyd because my friend Stephen was the biggest fan of both and lent me all of their stuff, which I dutifully dubbed to cassette.

    It wasn't until late Nineties or early 2000s when he moved away that I realized all I had besides those tapes was a beat-up second hand vinyl copy of Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon and the MFSL gold disc edition of The Wall so I began filling out the collection.

    Don't know if I have a favorite R.E.M. album but I have favorite songs and even the 40 track career-spanning 2011 double-disc compilation Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage missed many of my favorite songs by the group.