The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
CD Reviews  |  Classical  |  Live Reviews  |  Music Features

The Big Hurt: Deluxe buyer's guide

The word on seasonal box sets
By DAVID THORPE  |  November 2, 2010


Record labels used to be content to slap a "remastered" sticker and a few B-sides on an album and call it deluxe, but that kind of lackluster package won't fly in 2010. These days, we're getting it all: live tracks, alternate mixes, behind-the-scenes video, more alternate mixes, and a hardbound book of never-before-seen photos. A glance at a calendar of holiday releases reveals previously unheard-of levels of deluxeness escalation — single-disc LPs are being stretched into the kind of hefty box sets that once summarized entire careers. Here are a few of the year's most intense reissues:

KING CRIMSON | IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING: LIMITED EDITION | 5 CDs + 1 DVD: $69.99 | Nowadays, albums are something we buy on iTunes (if at all). If you're going to persuade people to buy physical music products, said products had better be physical. King Crimson get it right: "This extraordinary 12"x12" box set is the ultimate perspective on one of the defining albums of British rock." See that? Dimensions are front and center. This is a square-foot slab of prog, and King Crimson's devotees are definitely down. "As long as catalogue items are put out like this," reads a customer review on Amazon, "the CD will live on for many of us."

The six discs are mostly packed with different mixes: there's a new stereo remaster, the 2004 remaster, two 5.1 surround mixes, and a cleaned-up transfer from the original first-edition vinyl pressing. One might argue that nobody really needs that many slightly different versions of the same album, but let's not forget that King Crimson fans are huge nerds.

PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS | BAND ON THE RUN: DELUXE EDITION | 3 CDs + 1 DVD: $74.99 | Here's a fine example of how to stretch meager bonus material into an impressive disc count. Disc one is the UK version of the album. Disc two is bonus stuff: the single "Helen Wheels," which was already included in the original US issue, plus some in-studio live recordings of album tracks. If you're looking for songs you've never heard, you're stuck with the two B-sides — no outtakes or rarities. The third CD is an audio documentary on the making of the album, and the DVD is mostly the same live sessions from the bonus CD.

You do get a lovely box, though, and a hardbound, 120-page book with plenty of shots of Paul's adorable face.

DAVID BOWIE | STATION TO STATION: DELUXE EDITION | 5 CDs + 1 DVD + 3 LPs: $149.49 | One album, nine discs: this shit is deluxe. Two stereo mixes, a disc of single mixes, four DVD-Audio mixes, a two-disc live show, and then all of it again on vinyl — this beats even King Crimson in the department of redundancy department, especially when you consider that Station to Station is only a six-song album. If you listen to this whole set, you're gonna hear the title track 10 times. TEN fucking TIMES. Isn't this an unrealistic listening burden for even the biggest Bowie fan? There can be no compelling argument made that anyone needs this, but can we even imagine that anyone wants this?

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: The Big Hurt: ICP take on magnets, Codeine Velvet Club | Codeine Velvet Club, The Big Hurt: Dialing up Billboard’s Ringtones Chart, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Music, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Springsteen,  More more >
| More
Add Comment
HTML Prohibited

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
[ 11/06 ]   Cantata Singers  @ Jordan Hall
[ 11/06 ]   "Sheila Hicks: 50 Years"  @ Addison Gallery of American Art
[ 11/06 ]   Trajal Harrell  @ Institute of Contemporary Art
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE BIG HURT: DELUXE BUYER'S GUIDE  |  November 02, 2010
    Record labels used to be content to slap a "remastered" sticker and a few B-sides on an album and call it deluxe, but that kind of lackluster package won't fly in 2010.
    It's been a rough month for our biggest stars: Weezy's in solitary, TI's going back to jail, and now that rascally Biebs has run afoul of the mounties for scrapping with a 12-year-old kid who has since filed a formal complaint.
  •   THE BIG HURT: TRUE OR FALSE?  |  October 19, 2010
    Rather than the usual "News in Brief," maybe I'll make things a little more interesting this week.
  •   THE BIG HURT: BIEBER DOLLS ARE COMING!  |  October 12, 2010
    The week in inessential press releases
  •   THE BIG HURT: ALTERNATIVE ROCK SONGS  |  October 05, 2010
    I got up this morning filled with a furious hatred of alt-rock — I was tossing and turning half the night with Third Eye Blind's "Semicharmed Life" stuck in my head, a torment I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

 See all articles by: DAVID THORPE

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2010 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group