Lengthy absence acknowledged – sorry peoples, normal service to be resumed as soon as possible and I’m still itching to talk about a few things I’ve been up to on the Nirvana front. Soon…Soon…
Over here, is it me or has the reissue/retrospective/boxed set/deluxe edition industry kicked into overdrive recently? I’m currently whipping through the three CD edition of Oasis Definitely Maybe which reminds me precisely why I enjoyed these guys at age fifteen – singing out loud while working the day job has it’s appeal plus they had b-sides most bands would kill for.
Similarly, if the nation of Ireland had done nothing else other than come up with the Therapy? Troublegum album then i’d still count their entire history a success. As it is, they didn’t just come up with Troublegum, they did pretty well with Infernal Love too so I can only recommend that if you have a little spare cash both reissues are well-worthy (three CD Troublegum being the best, two CD Infernal Love still top notch.) A complete reminder of why these albums tore my head off all those years ago – Troublegum is musical perfection.
Thing is…I’m also looking at the three CD Young Marble Giants package on my shelf alongside then the four disc Heartbreakers LAMF Definitive Edition next to the Heartbreakers Down to Kill rarities collection; on the shelf above is the complete Beatles in Stereo next to Iggy and the Stooges three CD/1 DVD Raw Power deluxe edition and the Stooges Complete Funhouse Sessions eight CD box and the Dinosaur Jr Visitors 7″ vinyl Record Store Day boxset; in the middle just above me is the Nevermind Super-Deluxe plus the Singles box plus With the Lights Out bookended by the glorious Joy Division Heart and Soul boxset and the Sex Pistols four disc from 2001 or so; and I know over my shoulder if I spin this chair around I’ll see the two Unwound vinyl boxsets Kid is Gone and Rat Conspiracy nestled next to my Pennyroyal Tea Record Store Day 7″; to the left of me you can find the two Throbbing Gristle live boxs, plus the Rage Against the Machine Super Deluxe, plus the Arab Strap box, plus the Nirvana In Utero super-deluxe and the Bleach deluxe…Elsewhere there’s Weezer Pinkerton deluxe, Sonic Youth Goo/Dirty/Daydream Nation deluxe, the Throbbing Gristle album reissues, the Jimi Hendrix album reissues, Superfuzz Bigmuff deluxe, the Crass reissues, more Stooges, Azura Plane, the Slits, a Bob Marley retrospective, the Deathprod boxset… Get the picture?
Essentially, I think it does say many things about me (not wishing to turn this into a personal reminiscences blog but what the heck…) that I’m totally the target audience for these kinds of releases – musically omnivorous, prone to obsessiveness, collecting bug on overdrive, not much money but even less sense…I’m a dream consumer for the music industry. There’s a certain internal revulsion too – do I really need…? No of course I don’t, there’s no belonging I possess that, in an existential sense I really ‘need’, it’s all about want and wish – which somehow feels so unnecessary but ultimately harmless, pleasurable, no worse than someone else’s desire for art, clothes, property – any physical display. But the actions of others doesn’t rob me of that nagging discomfort with myself nor of a right to feel disconcerted by my consumption of music.
There’s nothing sinister about the re-heating of old releases – it’s entirely overt behaviour by record companies, entirely welcomed by fans (if done well), definitely interesting for the musically inquisitive. Likewise, though books like Retromania make good points about the crowding of the culture industry with repetition and repeat, ultimately it was a foreseeable consequence of the accumulation of physical recording media – there was going to come an age where the glut of material available meant new releases from new bands were just a tiny pimplehead on a Jabba the Hutt style long and thick body. It has a positive too, the willingness to discover the past, to acknowledge past creation, past moments of inspiration – it doesn’t have to fall into maudlin nostalgic comfort though some would argue that’s all any of it consists of.
Anyways, though it’s nice to play it safe and re-purchase old favourites for those slightly battered, shambolic, tinny or hiss-consumed shades of the main release, though it’s fun to be reminded precisely how stunning certain albums were and always will be (usually more to those who experienced them first time around but often to those who never had that chance)…There’s still plenty going on out there, plenty to be explored so I don’t think it’s the death knell just yet. But I still need a break which is no bad thing.