Twenty-five years ago, Lifes Rich Pageant found R.E.M. metamorphosing from what was effectively a turbo-charged folk-rock cult indie outfit into a proper rock band capable of filling stadia.
Producer Don Gehman added a crunchy muscularity to their natural melodic charm, and demanded that if Michael Stipe had something to say, he should sing it out loud rather than mumble. And Stipe certainly had something to say: the album is afire with political rage, presenting the first shoots of a generational shift back towards political engagement after years of poodle-haired heavy-metal indulgence in American rock. This expanded edition includes an extra disc of demos and outtakes, the most revealing aspect being the increased clarity of Mike Mills' counterpoint vocals on tracks like "Fall On Me" and "Hyena".
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