Monday, May 9, 2011

R.E.M.'s 'Pageant' to Get Reissued

R.E.M.'s fourth and last vital album (I'm gonna catch some flak for that) is getting the deluxe treatment. The 25th anniversary edition of 'Lifes Rich Pageant,' out July 12, is a double-disc remastered version with 19 'Pageant'-era demos recorded March 1986 at John Keane’s Studio in Athens, Ga. This is a huge step up from the bonus tracks that appeared on the I.R.S. Vintage Years reissue back in 1993. Having said that, some of those songs should have appeared on the 25th anniversary edition. Preorder here.

Let me explain my opening sentence a bit. I think R.E.M.'s first two albums are just about the best freshman/sophomore records ever. I have listened to them regularly since I was about 14 years old. I bought 'Fables of the Reconstruction' and 'Lifes Rich Pageant' on the days they were released. Although those two albums are not as good as 'Murmur' or 'Reckoning,' they are still must-haves. Many music fans must have agreed with me as 'Pageant' elevated them from college-rock heroes to bona fide stars. The album peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard chart.

Unfortunately, the move from theaters to arenas didn't sit well with me. Neither did the politicking. By the time the band moved from the indie to the major world, I was finished with R.E.M. I have never owned even one album from their Warner Bros. catalog. Still, early R.E.M. will always have a place in my heart. If you need any further evidence to support my decision, give "Pop Song 89" or "Shiny Happy People" a listen. "Stand" better be accompanied by video of Chris Elliott delivering newspapers. That's the only way I want to hear it. And all of the preceding songs were singles(!) and but a few short years from 'Lifes Rich Pageant.' Don't even get me started on the newer (ha! the last 20 years) WB stuff.

Here is a look at the new tracklist, a music video from the album and a song to remind you how good R.E.M. once was.

'Lifes Rich Pageant (25th Anniversary Edition)' Tracklist
Original Album
1. Begin The Begin
2. These Days
3. Fall on Me
4. Cuyahoga
5. Hyena
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
12. Superman

Disc 2: The Athens Demos
1. Fall On Me
2. Hyena
3. March Song (King Of Birds)
4. These Days
5. Bad Day
6. Salsa (Underneath The Bunker)
7. Swan Swan H
8. Flowers Of Guatemala
9. Begin The Begin
10. Cuyahoga
11. I Believe
12. Out Of Tune
13. Rotary Ten
14. Two Steps Onward
15. Just A Touch
16. Mystery To Me
17. Wait
18. All The Right Friends
19. Get On Their Way (What If We Give It Away)

R.E.M. - Begin the Begin (mp3)

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