Last week, Idolator gave a heads-up on a story concerning the ridiculous amount of times certain back catalogs get reissued. Since we've heard about the artists that have received this treatment over and over again, what about the ones who've never been given their proper due? So, I decided to do a list of albums I'd like to see get the reissue treatment once and for all:
Metallica's material up to the Black Album
Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and . . . And Justice For All are great records, but sound incredibly tame on CD. A commonly used word in describing non-remastered material is "thin." Well, that's very much the case here. Plus, maybe we'll finally hear Jason Newsted's buried basslines on . . . And Justice For All.
Neil Young's 70s solo material
Neil has released so many albums in his lifetime that his work in the 70s gets kinda lost in the shuffle. The deal is, albums like Harvest, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush are sublime. The problem is, sharply adjusting the volume knob between songs to hear their beauty royally sucks. And no, the single-disc Greatest Hits collection from a few years ago is not enough.
Tom Waits' Asylum and Island material
A record like Small Change demands the reissue treatment. So does a record like Rain Dogs. These records sound nothing alike, but both have a whole assortment of colors. Hearing something like "Kentucky Ave." or "I Wish I Was In New Orleans" with their orchestral arrangements in full bloom would rule.
The Replacements' Sire-era material
Aside from Tim and Pleased to Meet Me, the Mats' major label output is more or less mentioned as a footnote in their history. As evidenced by the 1997 compilation All for Nothing/Nothing for All, the Mats deserve the treatment regardless.
U2's material up to Achtung Baby
U2's secret weapon is Adam Clayton's basslines. When he kicks in on "Where the Streets Have No Name," the hair on my neck raises. The same can be said for a number of their tunes. The current CD version of their 80s output lacks the power heard on their Best of 1980-1990 collection.
The Pixies entire catalog
The Pixies catalog was reissued a few years ago, but not remastered for some reason. Sorry, but Joey's guitar, Charles' voice and Kim's bass and voice need a kick up in the regular volume department.
R.E.M.'s '80s material
If anything, we should have a better chance to understand just what the hell Michael Stipe is singing about on Murmur.
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's material before Springsteen went solo
Again, this is a case of tons of colors on records. Born to Run got the deluxe reissue treatment last year. Now, how's about a reissue of stuff like Darkness On the Edge of Town, Nebraska, The River and even Born in the U.S.A.?
Red House Painters' 4AD material
Mark Kozelek and band accidentally pioneered what has been dubbed "slowcore." Wouldn't it be great to feel the distorted guitars when they kick in on "Mistress"?
I don't care how embarrassed Rivers Coumo was about this record when it was initially considered a commercial disappointment, this record deserves a two-disc reissue. The b-sides found on the "El Scorcho" and "The Good Life" singles are worth the reissue treatment alone.
Dischord did a fine job with remastering Jawbox's second album, Novelty. But the album that deserves the remastering treatment is their debut. Sounding like an unmastered rough mix by today's standards, crucial elements of their sound (ie, Kim's bass) are impossible to hear at normal volume.
A number of albums in the SST catalog
This is apparently a dicey issue. SST is still functioning, but there have been many reports of overdue/delayed royalty payments with some of their biggest bands. So, I don't know if this will ever come to fruition. It would rock if I could finally hear Double Nickels on the Dime and Flip Your Wig with a lot more clarity.
The Beatles' entire catalog
The announcement about this happening is rumored to be any day now. The deal is, this is at least seven years late. Compare the remastered cuts on 2000's 1 to versions found on the CDs released in 1987. There's a difference and they deserve this treatment.
So, what's the deal with all this remastering? Well, as someone who listens to recorded music in a variety of ways, the one spot where I really notice the difference is in my car. It's not like I blast my music, but I hope to never listen to my copy of Neil Young's Decade ever again in there. Nothing like turning the volume way up on "Broken Arrow" and then having to turn the volume way down if I want to hear a different CD. It's about having consistent volume. And it's not about ripping fans off.