Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Listen to: Life's Rich Pageant

This past weekend I was reading Blogdorf Goodman, and Annie had asked readers to provide whatever cool facts they knew about Ohio. Mostly everything I know about Ohio is lame (Kent State—who wants to mention that?), or trivial (what band is from where), or sort of personal (an old professor of mine teaches at Ohio State, the minister who married me and my husband lives in Cleveland), so of course I wasted no time typing all my pointless facts into the comments block. Sometimes I just can’t be quiet.

But one of the things I remembered was that I liked R.E.M’s song Cuyahoga, so titled after the Cuyahoga River in Ohio (Cuyahoga is also the largest county in Ohio). This song is off Life’s Rich Pageant, my favorite R.E.M. album, one that they never surpassed, in my humble opinion. (Humble and uneasy. I live about 60 miles away from R.E.M.’s birthplace, Athens, Georgia…the fans here are rabid!) Once I’d thought of it, I couldn’t get it out of my head, so when I came to work on Monday morning, I signed into Napster intending to listen to the whole album. Except Napster didn’t have the whole album. They offer every other R.E.M. album, but for some reason, they only have four tracks from Life’s Rich Pageant. *Sigh*

I still wanted to hear it, so this morning I went into the guest bedroom and pulled my one remaining box of cassette tapes with which I cannot bear to part out from under the bed. It was easy to find because it’s not in its original case, nor does it have the paper label with the lyrics and all that stuff. But it is the tape I bought in (oh lord) 1986, just prior to my senior year of high school. The last time I listened to it was probably college, so I had no idea if it would even play. I know it lived in various places inside my car back in the day, and I’m pretty sure I spilled Diet Dr. Pepper on it at some point. But when I slid it into the cassette player in the car, it played just fine, and WOW. I had forgotten what an awesome album it is. On the radio here, they play a lot of R.E.M., but they tend to play the same songs over and over again (seriously, if I hear “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” one more time, I can’t be held responsible for what might happen), so it’s easy to forget how great they really are. If you like this kind of music, I suggest you find a copy of this and listen to it again, if you haven’t in a while. Just not on Napster. Ppffftt.

*graphic from Amazon.com