Friday, November 28, 2008

Suppose Record Companies Weren't Loathsome

I speculate that a world in which big record companies were not loathsome would be a world in which they do not re-release landmark albums and characterize the re-release as "remastered" or "deluxe" or something else that suggests an improvement over the original. Rolling Stone chooses to play along for some reason, as seen in this review of a re-release of REM's Murmur:

Twenty-five years later, the album that invented "alternative rock" still sounds great: anthemic on a bedroom scale, danceable but not robotic, experimental without being oblique. And Michael Stipe's nasal muezzin-croon pulses with brooding emotion even when the lyrics are unintelligible. The bonus disc captures a 1983 Toronto club gig that strips Murmur's sound bare. It's sloppy but thrilling, with outbursts of Stipe's unhinged vibrato and a perfect cover of "There She Goes Again," by the Velvet Underground — patron saints of a sound that R.E.M. developed into something bigger and longer-lived than anyone would've guessed.
To paraphrase that without the bullshit: for another $22, you get the same songs you already knew plus a live performance that's so compelling that they've been squirreling it away in the archives for a quarter-century instead of selling it. Neat!

I adore Murmur so much that I've paid full retail price for it twice in my life -- once for the cassette tape, and once for the CD. Twice is plenty.

And while I'm on it: I have paid all I am ever going to pay for the Star Wars films, the Lord of the Rings films, and the Godfather films, to list only a few of the big franchise media products. You can take your blu ray and whatever succeeds it and cram it.

1 comment:

larryniven said...

Damn straight! I just can't wait until high-quality, reliable, widely-compatible recording devices become small enough to sneak into shows so I only have to pay for the thing once and don't have to wait for the schmoes in their offices to release it to hear it again. Thank goodness, at least, for digitalization, because now I don't have to re-buy all my VHS tapes when they inevitably fall apart - I'll just download their contents.