The fact that this reissue is specifically being released to mark the quarter-century since the original release of Lifes Rich Pageant means that the whole thing comes imbued with a level of nostalgia. This package takes that into account wholly, re-printing the original packaging almost unaltered, except to include the tracklist for the bonus disc andsome new words added by music journalist Parke Puterbaugh – the artwork from 1986 is still intact on the front and back and in the booklet. Added to this package are four postcard-style black and white head shots of the members of R.E.M. from the time of recording, and a large poster of the group. Not to demean R.E.M.’s modern looks or music, but having a poster of 80s R.E.M. on your wall is much cooler than one of current-day R.E.M.. Each disc comes in its own sleeve, with new art created for the second disc of demos that fits the style of the original artwork.
All of these things are housed within a slip-box that is clearly well made, even comparable to the types of boxes that jewellery might be presented in, and for some, this whole package may be just as valuable.
VERDICT: The only people who may not be interested in buying this package are those who already own Lifes Rich Pageant and are not madly in love with it. For those who already own it, but recognise it for the quality it beholds, this is a must buy; by now your old copy of this album is probably worn out, so why not buy it in this deluxe new package? Newcomers to R.E.M. would be advised to buy this too, for not only is the main album worth hearing, but the second disc will give you insight into the band’s progression. More about that can be read in our full album review.