Metascore
93

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Jul 15, 2011
    90
    Where previous records kept the rhythm section in the background, Pageant emphasizes the beat, and the band turns in its hardest rockers to date, including the anthemic "Begin the Begin" and the punky "Just a Touch."
  2. Jul 15, 2011
    80
    Commemorative repackage or not, Lifes Rich Pageant is a must-listen rock record that is too often overshadowed by more chatted-about releases.
  3. Jul 15, 2011
    88
    It's both epilogue and prologue, yet these songs retain their own specific flavor, as R.E.M. map the borders between small clubs and large venues, between underground and mainstream, between rhythm and melody, between outrage and hope. That in-between quality still sounds invigorating so many years later.
  4. Jul 28, 2011
    100
    R.E.M. were already walking head and shoulders taller than most by now, but Life's Rich Pageant was nevertheless a startlingly great leap forward. [Aug 2011, p.102]
  5. Aug 9, 2011
    80
    Before stardom, they stopped off to reinvent guitar rock. [Aug. 2011, p. 128]
  6. Jul 15, 2011
    80
    R.E.M. were already college-radio heroes by the time they made Lifes Rich Pageant in 1986. They could've kept making mumbly, jangly tunes for their core audience, but they went bigger and bolder, stepping toward radio-friendliness while retaining their iconoclastic spirit.
  7. Jul 15, 2011
    90
    Pageant exists in a rarified echelon of R.E.M. records, alongside Murmur and Automatic for the People as one of their unimpeachable classics.
  8. Jul 21, 2011
    80
    The momentum and joie de vivre is intoxicating, and unlike many a transitional record, it's a genuine hoot, an unexpected blast of sunshine between the darkness of Fables… and the fires of Document.
  9. Jul 15, 2011
    100
    There's a theory that REM were never the same after their lyrics became audible, but Lifes Rich Pageant is packed with songs on which the new clarity of Stipe's vocals bears dividends.
  10. Jul 15, 2011
    70
    Although it shines a giant and unmistakable signal toward the direct and poppy approach the band would undertake on their next few albums, Pageant still retains the mumbles of Murmur, the jangles of Reckoning, and the rustic tones of Fables of the Reconstruction.
  11. Jul 15, 2011
    90
    Life's Rich Pageant serves as both a guidepost for how R.E.M. moved in an arena-sized direction and as another extraordinary album in the band's uninterrupted run of true greatness that spanned between Murmur and Automatic for the People.
  12. 90
    Even without the bonus disc full of rare goodies, this remastered version of Lifes Rich Pageant is required listening.
  13. Jul 15, 2011
    90
    Released in the summer of 1986, the grammatically challenged Lifes Rich Pageant was their fourth long-player and, with hindsight, a watershed album residing on the cusp between the group's initial chiming-but-oblique garage-rock signature and the stadium-tailored sound of the albums with which they would seduce the world later in the decade.
  14. Jul 21, 2011
    84
    The whole package is a head-snapping reminder that when R.E.M. was on fire, you couldn't put them out with all the water in the world.
  15. Jul 22, 2011
    90
    It's still considered the band's last album as an underground presence, so it holds importance as something monumental in the band's development. As an album, Lifes Rich Pageant is enjoyable and clean.
  16. Jul 28, 2011
    89
    A 25th anniversary minibox stuffs poster and postcards in with a mother lode second disc of 19 "Athens Demos," from punky ("Bad Day") to finished ("All the Right Friends").
  17. Aug 3, 2011
    90
    Taken as a whole, the two-CD incarnation of Life's Rich Pageant makes a case for the album taking its rightful place alongside such obvious classics as Murmur and Out of Time.
  18. Time has only been kind to Life's Rich Pageant, and, hopefully, not much more time will be required to it to take its place in the rock and roll canon as the practically perfect album that it is.
  19. 100
    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.
  20. Aug 2, 2011
    80
    Life's Rich Pageant rather sweetly gathers the emotions and carries them back to the time.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Jul 15, 2011
    10
    I assume this is showing up under "Current Music Releases" for some kind of re-release. It doesn't matter to me, I always thought this was a great band finding its accessibility stride. From Begin the Begin through Swan Swan H and culminating in Superman there isn't a single misstep. Simply a classic. Full Review »
  2. Oct 18, 2012
    9
    That's music! And R.E.M. have done also much better during their career. It's the best of the I.R.S. years, after Murmur. There are many wonderful songs, and Cuyahoga and Fall On Me are especially great. After Life's Rich Pageant teir sound begins to change album after album, so I think it's the one of the last with R.E.M.'s original sound. Don't miss it! Full Review »
  3. Apr 6, 2012
    8
    Vintage early R.E.M and this has some of their best work (The wonderful Fall On Me and Cuyahoga are on it). They went on to produce much better records than this but this is probably their first really great album. It's the sound of a young and exciting band and I think this was the record where they seemed to discover their unmistakable style here, that match of quality tunes and great lyrics. Full Review »