REM: Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)


Lifes Rich Pageant;  1986
IRS Records

My Rating: 83/100

REM Begins Again

Following on the heels of the band’s first major misstep, PAGEANT is the album where REM starts to find some muscle amidst all the jangle. Whereas the band once relied on propulsion to drive many of their songs home, they slowed things down a bit here, combining huge choruses with slower tempos (“Begin the Begin”, “Cuyahoga”) to produce their most confident sounding record yet. This was the album that proved REM could be superstars, as evidenced by the classic status afforded to “Fall On Me,” which prefigures future REM classics like “Losing My Religion”, “Man on the Moon”, and “Everybody Hurts.” That’s not to say that REM slows everything down here – “Hyena” and “These Days” are just as fast-paced and visceral as anything on the band’s first three LPs. But this is the record where REM began to distance itself from even the best and brightest of 80’s college radio, and laid the foundation for its future success.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)


1. Begin the Begin (4.5/5)
2. These Days (4/5)
3. Fall On Me (5/5)
4. Cuyahoga (5/5)
5. Hyena (5/5)
6. Underneath the Bunker
7. The Flowers of Guatemala (5/5)
8. I Believe (5/5)
9. What If We Give It Away? (5/5)
10. Just a Touch (4/5)
11. Swan Swan H (4/5)
12. Superman (4/5)