Monday, November 21, 2011

Added to the collection: Rolling Stones and R.E.M.

Went out today with a good friend of mine. We hit a few stores that we like and went browsing through music. Went through a lot of new and used vinyl and CDs. Sometimes you find gold in the used sections, and I've been known to drop a good amount of money on items that people have gotten rid of. Never develop a mindset that just because something is used, it's no longer good or isn't worth your time. It's just not true.

My biggest purchases today, however, were new items. I picked up the two-disc remastered rerelease of The Rolling Stones' "Some Girls" and R.E.M.'s newest best-of collection. I'll be spinning them tonight. If I get some inspiration to do any blogging on those, I'll be sure to let you folks know what I think.

I'm not always the biggest fan of rereleases and retrospective collections. There are always exceptions.

When bonus tracks are made available and the sticker cost is reasonable, rereleases can be quite a good deal for fans. When "Exile on Main St" was rereleased, I thought The Stones did a good job of giving the fans value for their money. This "Some Girls" set was on sale for $25 ... which is more than I paid for "Exile," and doesn't have as many tracks. So my first reaction to the collection is pretty mixed.

"Some Girls" is one of the last classic Stones albums, and tends to get pretty high ratings from fans as one of the last challenging, biting, pithy and outrageous albums they'd do. Mick hadn't yet gone into PR, and Keith was still delightfully brazen and willful (though his addictions at this point were starting to sap his leadership role in the group). So the history and the number of standout tracks work in the rerelease's favor. I'll listen to the bonuses and the remastering on the actual album before I pass a real judgment

In the case of the R.E.M. two-CD set ... well, here's the thing. I like some R.E.M. a lot. I like a few R.E.M. songs a whole lot. And then there's plenty of R.E.M. that I couldn't care less about. When R.E.M. released their last greatest hits set, I thought it was missing too many key tracks. This newest collection offers a fairly comprehensive tracklisting, though I feel it could have included even more material from "Automatic for the People." It also gives their newest (and last) album "Collapse Into Now" more presence than necessary (though I quite liked that album).

I fear that we'll see another R.E.M. collection in a couple years, like "The Essential R.E.M.," that will be even more inclusive and selective. But for now, this "Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage" collection is the best distillation out there of their complete studio works. But if you only like 4 or 5 of this band's songs, you can buy them cheaper elsewhere. I put $15 into this two-disc set, which is definitely reasonable ... especially as you get 40 songs in the set.

What new purchases have you folks made in the last few weeks / months?

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