Wednesday, January 28, 2004

John, I'm Only Gouging

What the hell is up with David Bowie?

I'll admit, I like me some Bowie. I'd be wiling to excuse a lot from an artist of his caliber - much like Iggy Pop or Lou Reed, I can forgive a lot of crap based on their storied histories. But it seems that in the past year or so the David Bowie Corporation (whatever are they calling it?) has just taken a turn toward the surreal in terms of the amount of material they're releasing.

First, you had the 30th Anniversary Edition of Ziggy Stardust. Fine, I bought it, I loved it. It sounded great and there was some cool bonus material and a really nice package. If ever there was album that actually deserved commemoration, it was this.

Then he released a new Best-Of. OK, I can see that, it had been a while since he had had a definitive Best-Of on the market. For the two-disc set, the first disc was basically the previous '1969-1974' and '1974-1979' collections reduced onto one disc, with the later two decades stuck onto the second disc. The single disc version does a servicable job of covering his entire 35+ year career on one piece of plastic. Seems like a good deal for those who just want the hits. There was also, inevitably, a DVD.

Here's where it gets silly.

There's the double CD remastered reissue of the D. A. Pennebaker concert 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars'. OK, I bought this and this rokked. I have not yet bought the DVD reissue, however.

There's the 30th Anniversary Edition of Alladin Sane. Is he gonna do this for every album he ever released? Sure, it looks good, but at this point you might be wondering if its ever going to stop.

Hey, I've got a great idea. Lets release another greatest hits collection, virtually identical to the last one released not a year ago only this time its got a disc of superfluous remixes. And, trust me - I like remixes, and these are for the most part horrible (with the notable exception of David Guetta's hard house tweak of 'Heroes'). The Club Bolly remix of Let's Dance is perhaps one of the worst remixes I have ever heard in my life of a great song.

Of course, if you only want the remixes you can buy those on a seperate import-only disc as well.

Let's rerelease a boxed-set from the early 90's that all your fans already have, only lets make it 3/4 identical to the original box and put a fourth disc with a couple rarities on it.

Let's rerelease a mostly-forgetten early 90's album on three discs. Oh, one of the discs is a DVD, too.

There was apperantly a DVD release of the Glass Spider tour as well.

Oh, yeah, forgot all the albums of all new material he's been vomting, er, releasing the last two years. There was 2002's Heathen, also available in a deluxe limited edition with a bonus CD, as well as a recently released SACD version. Then hot on the heels of that album he released Reality, again in both regular and decaf versions (no SACD yet).

Are we there yet? Oh, well, one more - this February sees the release of a special edition deluxe double DVD reissue of Labyrinth.

So, man, this is just rough. I can see a lot of Bowie completists easily going insane trying to swing all this - wither that or going without food or shelter. This just goes to show you: selling the future profits from your catalog on the stock market is a bad idea.

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