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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 10 November 2007
Good album - but the reason i'm writing is to give the PROPER order of the tracks. As far as i'm aware, all formats have always infamously had the above listing which also omits a couple of tracks - this still confuses me. Below is the correct one (including bonus tracks on the IRS Years special edition)

1. Begin the begin
2. These Days
3. Fall on me
4. Cuyahoga
5. Hyena
6. Underneath the bunker
7. Flowers of Guatemala
8. I believe
9. What if we give it away
10.Just a touch
11.Swan swan H
12.Superman
13.Tired of singing trouble
14.Rotary ten
15.Toys in the attic
16.Just a touch (live)
17.Dream (all I have to do)
18.Swan swan H (acoustic)

Anal retentive? Me?
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on 22 July 2011
Among their finest moments, this album doesn't really need more praise for the songs. I would still recommend buying it for a couple of reasons:
The mastering is superb- the sound is clean and bright but not unnecessarily tinkered with. I'd say better than the IRS Years CD. Although i haven't actually measured, it doesn't seem to be obviously a victim of the 'loudness wars' (check wiki) style of mastering either.
The demo's disc is definitely worth it. Better than the one on Fables (which was good), the production is of surprisingly high quality and full of interesting curiosities and alternate versions.
The only fly in the ointment is the box packaging- just as big and clumsy as Fables was. What the hell am I supposed to do with a poster? What about a tin badge or maybe a snippet of the drummer's underwear? Use a little imagination next time.
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on 23 June 2002
Having previously only owned Out Of Time, Automatic For The People, and Best Of, I was thinking "REM don't do rock". But I was wrong! People who like Monster or New Adventures will probably also like this. Ranging from medium-pace ("Begin the Begin") to frantic ("Just a touch"), the rock tracks have a vibrancy and freshness somehow lacking in the later works. But there is so much more to this album. "Cuyahoga" is arguably REM's best ever track. Simple, understandable lyrics, which make a political statement (like John Lennon) but are at the same time poetic (like Bob Dylan or early Paul Simon). Wonderful! Other highlights include the dreamy "Flowers of Guatemala", upbeat "I believe" and more political anthems - "Fall on me", "What if we give it away?" and the acoustic "Swan Swan H". All the tracks gel together really well, and there is not a duff track on here, with the possible exception of the strange instrumental. But even that fits onto this album better than the funny lumpy ones they put on Automatic and New Adventures. This is a much more musically diverse and interesting album to listen to than Document, which followed; and if, after having listened to Out of Time and Automatic, you're feeling depressed, this album is the perfect antidote. Oh, I also forgot to mention, the distinctive Stipe/Mills vocal harmonies are superb too. It's a must-have album, and 16 years after its release, I think it is still one of the best, if not the best, REM album.
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Well, here we have my favourite of the "indie" REM albums, beefed up with a sparkling new remaster and an excellent additional CD of outtakes.

Great to hear some of the great REM songs reduced to a guide vocal line (see "I Believe"), and a really nice alternate take on Fall On Me.

For obsessives only I would have thought. That's me then.
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on 23 July 2002
Lifes Rich Pageant is a true work of musical art. Encompassing all that was great in REM during their early years and highlighting the great things that were to come. Each track gets better and better with none being below par, country melodies blend with both the acoustic sets of "swan swan humming" bird and the "thrash of just a touch". Now re released with the IRS vintage version the album offers great value with previosly unheard live and cover tracks. No REM fan would be complete without this vintage album, which in my opinion track for track is their best ever work, and although some recent tracks are true works of art the band has to replicate the magic of this album which was recorded over 18 years ago.
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on 14 October 2012
Bought this re-issue when it was hot off the presses, sad fanboy that I am.

My favourite REM album, sitting on the cusp of their earlier garage band sound and the later over-slickness, the politics in the lyrics becoming more obvious, Buck moving along from the Rickenbacker arpeggios of Reckoning, adding more texture to his playing.

Contains one of the lines I like best from any song: "I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract..."

Why this version? The sound of the album itself is a distinct improvement, without being caught up in the loudness wars, just clearer and more detailed. The demos disc is interesting, but, for me, not as much so as the live material accompanying others in this series. The packaging? Why?

Still, just stick the disc in the player and groove like it's 1986!
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on 27 December 2009
Anyone interested in R.E.M. should own this album: it is both the creative peak of their early period and the manifesto of their evolution from indie darlings to the biggest band in the world. While R.E.M.'s previous albums were, to various degrees, hampered by deliberately low-key and obscure production, here the producer Don Gehrman finally captures the band's fantastic energy and makes an album that actually sounds like their live shows. The spacious and boisterous sound gives full justice to a succession of perfectly crafted anthems; and for the first time on an R.E.M. record, the vocals really stand out. Superb singing from Michael Stipe and Mike Mills gives boost to magnificent songs such as These Days, Hyena, Fall On Me, and the quirky Superman. Five stars well deserved.
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on 1 August 2010
'Lifes Rich Pageant' for me is remarkable for two reasons. Firstly it sounds completely timeless, a classic American record which showcases the connection of the bands four personalities together to make intelligent, exciting rock music. Secondly it's a rare example of a hugely commercial, ambitious record that never even hints of selling out (think about how many have tried this and failed in the past). Respect must go to producer Don Gehman who gives the band a big stadium rock sound without ever losing their cutting edge. This was to be the start of a new era for the band who would use it as a springboard to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world and in turn open the door for future stadium alt.rock bands such as Coldplay, Radiohead, Muse etc. Five Stars.
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on 23 March 2015
I believe that this album is one of their best from their earlier days. I bought this to replace a long gone tape I once owned of it and am rather elated to hear it clearer than I have ever done before.
I can't be bothered posting a track by track analysis of it, even though it may deserve it. All I will say that it won't disappoint, whether if you are a new REM fan, seeking out their earlier workings or if like me, you are a die hard fan of this fantastic band.
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on 25 June 2014
I have been interested in this album for a long time. Fall on me is lovely and many of the tracks on this album is great. One of my relatives former partner once owned this album, and I used to listen to one of tracks on a recorded tape.
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