As a music fan, I have noticed something with a lot of my favorite artists: they seem to be releasing more versions of songs that I already own. What I mean by this is: another greatest hits collection, or another live album. How about some new stuff?
I am a creative person, I get it. It is not always easy to be creative and come up with new material. Maybe, you have writer’s block and don’t feel you can come up with something as good as you did in your heyday. But as someone who likes to have complete collections for an artist, it can be frustrating to keep up with these re-issues and re-packagings and such.
Another factor is the fact that artists make their money from live performances these days and not their records. So a new collection can serve as a reminder of an artist’s legacy as well as be an overview for those new to their career.
Another factor for me is having music on a bunch of different formats still and in different locations in my house. I have vinyl albums, 45s, cassettes, CDs, and then MP3s too. I converted a bunch of my vinyl albums and cassettes to MP3, but then my record player stopped working. And the speakers for the stereo gave out also. And then I don’t have enough space on my computer to store all the MP3s now. I will need a few back-up drives just to store everything.
So where do you draw the line? Do you buy the “new” release or just stick with what you already have? For me, I am looking at the situation a few different ways. For example, I will look at the outputs of the B-52’s, Pat Benatar, Blondie, and Olivia Newton-John — artists I have loved since the late 70’s, early 80’s.
I just got the B-52’s anthology “Nude on the Moon: The B-52’s Anthology.” It is their most comprehensive collection. I have all of their studio albums, and a previous greatest hits set too. But it is nice to have all the songs together in one collection. It has a few extras: alternate takes or live versions of some songs. Now I see they have 3 live albums, do they need 3? I am probably going to buy one since I am going to their show in September. I’ll pass on the other 2.
Pat Benatar has a new collection called “35th Anniversary Tour (Live)”. Now she includes her husband and guitarist Neil Giraldo in all the credits. I have 3 live albums from her already. Not sure I need this one too. Still love her.
Blondie celebrated 40 years last year with the release of “Blondie 4(0)Ever/Ghosts of Download.” One album was a CD of remixed and re-recorded greatest hits along with one disc of new material. I already have 4 previous collections from them, and if I had my way I would pass on the “new” greatest hits collection. But it is bundled with the new album, so I have to get both! Oh well!
Olivia Newton-John had a great run in the 70’s and 80’s. Now she still records but most of it is sort of mellow and boring to me. So I have passed on some of her recent studio albums. But now I see she has a 2-CD collection from her Las Vegas show. Yeah, yet another live album. But I am considering getting it, as it looks to be a good souvenir of a veteran artist.
Another thing I have noticed is the ability to release one-off songs at will — with songs being put on ITunes when they are released. They may be soundtrack songs, songs where the artist is featured on another person’s song, or just random songs that don’t fit on an album. An artist doesn’t have to put out a full album anymore… just release songs when they are finished. Do you get all of these songs too? You probably didn’t know they existed in most cases! I love Wynonna Judd, she has about 5 of these songs… Lady Antebellum: 5; Kelly Clarkson: 2; Rihanna: 8… and so on.
So now you can see what I am talking about. And don’t forget when an artist dies, or when they change labels either. The record company will release new collections whenever they want to. I realize I can’t keep up with everything, and I am not going to try. And then don’t forget Christmas albums or cover albums either, all artists seem to do those too sometime in their careers.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and more.