Monday, March 24, 2014
Elton's "new" old one and The Endless Versions dilemma
Today is the day that all fans of Elton John gets a chance to buy his 1973 classic Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in a brand new 40th Anniversary version.
Hold on! Make that "versions".
These days the deluxe versions of classic or more recent successful albums is a lucrative market and the way the business works means that these days it's not enough with one new re-release. They usually come in two or more versions.
Let's take the Elton John release as a prime example.
One: You can go for the basic remastered CD. What you do get here is a hopefully better sounding album compared to the previous remaster.
Two: The next step up is the 2CD version adding one CD with nine brand new covers by "contemporary artists" like Ed Sheeran and Imelda Marcus plus nine demos and outtakes from the original recording sessions.
Third: The vinyl version. As the original on two LP:s but this time around pressed on 180-gram yellow vinyl.
Fourth: The Supe Deluxe version. The box with the 2CD version mentioned above plus 2CD:s containing a recording of Elton's December 1973 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. There's also a DVD with the 1973 documentary Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye To Norma Jean and Other Things and a 100 page book in the box.
And that's it, right?
The audiophile Elton John fan will want the HD Pure Audio Blu-ray version that includes a high resolution version of the new stereo and a 5.1 surround mix. The latter seems to be the same as the 5.1 mix released on SACD in 2003 and DVD Audio 2004 (remember those formats?)
Let's see. That's five new physical versions. Downloads not counted.
And we could argue that the HD Pure Audio version should've been included in the box to be able to call it Suped Deluxe, but...
But ... if you care to wait a month you can get a sixth alternative; the Japanese SHM-CD pressing. With SHM-CD:s supposedly sounding better than the usual CD:s, but the jury is out on that one.
OK. So this is just one example of the piling up of versions when an album gets re-released. Usually stacked so that you have to buy multiple copies to get all the goodies.
Still, it must work as they become more frequent.
The lesson learned is to check and compare before you buy! And maybe that 30th Anniversary version you bought ten years ago will do...?