It's no secret the music business has been floundering recently, but you wouldn't be able to tell if you looked at my credit card statement. The latest gambit is reissuing baby-boomer favorites in pricey (sometimes EXTREMELY pricey) box sets. Unfortunately for my bank balance, I've fallen prey to a few of these efforts... but what can I say? They really are pretty cool.
NEVERMIND by Nirvana: Celebrating the 20th anniversary of this amazing release, a couple of different packages have been released. The expensive ($149-ish) version features the remastered original album + B-sides, two CDs of demos and studio sessions (most previously unreleased), and a CD and DVD of a previously unreleased concert at the Paramount theater in Seattle. The CDs come packaged in a 12" record sized box with a glossy book of photos and record company ephemera. I'm still wading through the unreleased material, but the demos are very interesting and very listenable. And I'm always sucker for live material. There is also a 2CD version of $20 that has the remastered original plus a "best of" selection of tracks from the big set. And there's a blu-ray of the Paramount concert coming soon. I've seen some complaints about the remastered album's sound, but to these ruined old ears, it all sounds pretty good to me.
ACHTUNG BABY by U2: Loved this CD when it first came out, and now there's so much more! For a mere $125 you too can own the "Super Deluxe 10 disc (six CDs + four DVDs) edition including the original Achtung Baby album, the follow-up album, Zooropa, b-sides and re-workings of previously unheard material recorded during the Achtung Baby sessions. Four DVDs including "From The Sky Down", Zoo TV, all the videos from Achtung Baby plus bonus material. Hardback book and 16 art prints." But the U2 boys don't stop there -- for a mere $450 (!) you get all that plus vinyl sides, Bono's sunglasses (!) and a metallic puzzle box. It's all a little extreme (a little?) but these ARE discretionary purchases...
I see from Amazon that Elvis Costello is releasing a limited edition version of his Singing Songbook concerts from L.A. earlier this year, to be followed next year by less expensive editions for the average listener. The concert I saw was amazing, so this is good news, but $258?! Really? Oh, wait, there's an autograph? SOLD. (Sucker!!!)