Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Thriller’

Or, “On How I Never Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Commerce”

Friends, did you know that we are living in exciting times?  Why, just this very year, 2010, we’ll be celebrating the 11th anniversary of the release of Dødheimsgard’s 666 International!  Not only that, but we’ll also be rejoicing in the 4th anno since the birthing of Meshuggah’s 2006 re-recorded version of their 2002 album Nothing.

Hell, 2002-2006-2010 means Meshuggah can throw themselves a DOUBLE 4TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY, that rarest of heavy metal occasions.  Truly, these are charmed days.

Okay, so I’m obviously being kind of a dick here.  But here’s why: I’m having just a little bit of difficulty with the whole trend of “let’s celebrate undeniably good or influential heavy metal records at particular milestone years after their release with a whole fuck-ton of tawdry press coverage and nostalgic whinging.”

Cases in point:

2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Judas Priest’s British Steel:

Breaking any laws, or just in bad taste?

Now, I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t celebrate this.  Judas Priest are obviously a massively influential heavy metal band, and for all intents and purposes, this record was their break-through (at least on this side of the Atlantic), with both “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” being friggin’ enormous hits.  And although Nostradamus probably has more detractors than balls-out supporters, clearly the fact that this band is still kicking, and kicking fair amounts of ass, is well worth fêting.

I just, ugh, this kind of thing gets me all in a State.  I mean, for rabid fans of the band, this kind of thing is always cool, even if it just adds some live tracks, or an alternate take of a couple songs, of a hastily edited video of Rob Halford circa 1980 eating a slice of pizza.  Whatever, I understand that collector mentality.

Still, even though this is being pitched now because of a milestone anniversary, it’s still all so ridiculously arbitrary.  Why not do a deluxe reissue upon the album’s 20th anniversary?  Or wait another ten for its 40th?  Columbia may have well and truly blown its load back in 2001 with the whole reissue series of all the Priest albums from Sin After Sin through Painkiller, so I can’t help but see some of this as just a ploy to repackage widely-available material in the guise of new content.  And that, frankly, gets my ire up just a wee bit.

2010 also marks the 40th (!!) anniversary of Black Sabbath’s first two records, Black Sabbath and Paranoid (which, by my reckoning, also means that this humble year here also marks the 40th anniversary of Heavy Metal itself, but whatevs…):

Evil Mona Lisa

So, what does Universal, or Sanctuary, or whomever, do?  Well, they put out ‘deluxe editions’ of these albums last year.  Meaning 2009.  Meaning on the 39th anniversary, I guess.

Y'know, for longer than I'd care to admit, I thought this cover image was like some fucking bizarre mushroom

So clearly, at this point, I’m just being a complete jackass to just about each and every individual in the record industry.  How rude of me.  Still, even though the Black Sabbath reissues don’t actually coincide with some massive fucking 40th anniversary celebration (although Paranoid was out in September of 1970, so there’s still time), I think my point stands.

Maybe it’s just the case that both the legacy and the musical output of both of these bands have already been fucked around with by as many different parties as possible, with random reissues, remasters, seemingly innumerable versions of Paranoid, and God knows what other sundry shenanigans.  Under those circumstances, it’s fairly understandable that a record label (especially in this current climate of hemorrhaging profits from every orifice imaginable) would try to cast about for any potentially meaningful anniversary or event around which to hang a revenue-collecting opportunity.

And maybe I’m being far too jaded here.  There’s always the argument that these sorts of reissue campaigns are a positive development because they can expose a new generation of heavy metal fans to the foundational DNA of the genre(s) we love so dearly.  Problem is, I don’t put much stock in those arguments in cases (like these) where the music in question was absolutely never in short supply.

I mean, honestly, you could probably punch any random rock radio DJ across this vast bizarre country of ours in the sternum, and out they’d cough at least three copies each (on multiple formats) of “Breaking the Law” and “Iron Man.”

You could try to drive a bulldozer through the wall of your local used record shop or public library, only you wouldn’t be able to, because the combined force of several decades’ worth of accumulated broken dreams and several dozen used-sticker-gel-congealed copies of British Steel, Black Sabbath, and Thriller (because let’s not think the world of pop music is immune to such market-saturating hijinks) would be rubber, and your bulldozer glue, and anyway, you get the picture.

So, tell me.  Where do you draw the line between appreciating reissues/deluxe packages, and violently retching at the mere mention of them?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »