Guilty Pleasure-Zilla!

By shane

Okay, so I've gotta fess up. This is turning into a pretty awesome month for music releases. I mean, not only has this week seen the new Modest Mouse, Low, & LCD Soundsystem in stores, but also the domestic release of the brilliant I'm From Barcelona.

But that's not what's made ME happy this week, no siree.

It's the REISSUES that are making me smile. Click on "READ MORE" for the whole skinny.

First off, this week has given us two more titles in the Depeche Mode reissue project. I'm absolutely amazed by the whole thing, honestly. See, Depeche Mode are one of those bands that got me where I am today. Were it not for my early exposure to Depeche and New Order and The Cure and REM, I could be a Good Charlotte fan for all I know. There's a twinge of guilt when I listen to some Depeche, because at its essence, it really IS pop music written for wee alterna-girls. But in 1986, Depeche Mode was the essence of cool, and hell, I'll admit it, I love 'em to this day -- fragile Dave, tender Martin, and useless Fletch. Some of their older stuff sounds pretty cheezy today, but in its time, Depeche Mode were ground-breaking.

The one thing, though, that's always bugged me about Depeche Mode is their business side. They might be the heroes of synthpop, but they also know how to turn a buck or two. It seems like every time the band goes dormant for a year or two, that's when Mute will figure out a way to reissue, repackage, or remix part of the band's back catalogue for a little extra pocket change.

So when news came out that Depeche Mode planned to give their entire back catalog the remastering treatment, I rolled my eyes. Greeeeat, more money I have to spend on useless stuff. Boy, was I wrong.

Rather than do a quick or shoddy repackage job, the Depeche reissues really ARE worth their money. Not only do you get the fancy packaging, but you get all the records in 5.1 surround sound -- and it's one of the better 5.1 remastering jobs I've heard in some time. Beyond THAT, each disc comes with a DVD documentary PACKED with exclusive interviews with all band members past and present -- not to mention pretty much EVERYONE involved in the long and sordid tale of Depeche. I couldn't believe that these documentaries pushed an hour in length. I REALLY couldn't believe that it's a bunch of CAPTIVATING hours. Absolutely great stuff, and totally reaffirms my faith in the band.

But Depeche Mode aren't the ONLY band remastering their catalog this week. Total guilty pleasure time, but I don't care. This week sees remastered versions of the entire Bananarama catalog, and I'm buying 'em all. Each disc comes with some exclusive remixes and b-sides, plus every song has been cleaned up and remastered for the weird Bananarama audiophile fanbase (which is pretty much, umm, me.)

Next remaster series worth checking out? How about GENESIS, who are putting out all the early Phil Collins albums into one CD/DVD box set in a few weeks. It's got a hefty price tag on it (somewhere around $250 I think), but it's absolutely loaded with extras, including some live sets that havent seen the light of day for 20+ years.

Yes, I realize that Phil Collins might very be the cheeziest performers out there today, but back in the 70's and into the early 80's, he was one of the most prolific songwriters around, and I for one am willing to drop the cash for crystalline 5.1 mixes of the early Phil records.

Enough guilty pleasures. Pretend that I end with some esoteric statement about some esoteric band in order to redeem my coolness factor, 'kay?