The Clash, Sound System / Hits Back / 5 Studio Album Box Set (Columbia/Sony Music/Legacy)
Coming from the U.K., a new double-disc Clash compilation, a simple box of the band's classic albums in new mini-LP packaging (The Clash (U.K.), Give 'Em Enough Rope, London Calling, Sandinista! and Combat Rock) and a deluxe swag-filled set featuring those five albums, three discs of non-LP tracks and unreleased rarities and a DVD full of more rare treats.
Hits Back (2CD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Hits Back (3LP): Amazon U.K.
5 Studio Album Box Set (CD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
5 Studio Album Box Set (LP): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Sound System: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Daryl Hall & John Oates, No Goodbyes (Wounded Bird)
When the famed soul-pop duo split from Atlantic for RCA, this compilation (featuring tracks from their three LPs for the label plus three unreleased recordings) was released to capitalize on their newfound fame. This reissue is actually its first time on CD. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
The Boomtown Rats, Back to Boomtown: Classic Rats Hits (Universal U.K.)
Bob Geldof's reunited Irish punk band, set to tour this winter, returns with a new 16-track compilation with two brand-new tunes. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
blue blue neon glow says
Its interesting how the prices have moved in the UK since I posted on the Clash set last month. On Amazon UK the full Clash box is now £93.99 for 11 CDs and a DVD, but the 5 album set is £30.99 for 8 CDs. If you add the singles from the 2CD 'Hits Back' at £9.99 you would seem to get all but 2 CDs of the remasters and a DVD worth for around £52 less. That and a lot of packaging?
Chief Brody says
I faced the same dilemma here in the U.S. I could've gotten "Hits Back" and the studio albums CD box for a shade over $50 shipped, while the cheapest I could find "Sound System" for was $150 and change shipped! I went back and forth on that one for a while, believe you me! This weekend I finally caved and ordered the big box--mostly because of those three discs of B-sides and rarities it offers--but I still have a healthy twinge of buyer's remorse. We'll see how I feel when it gets here, but that extra C-note for the SS box definitely made me gulp.
Yesterday I used a Best Buy gift card to pick up "Hits Back" just for the hell of it. The digipack packaging leaves a lot to be desired, and the story of the track selection is, uh, "novel," but I really like the sound quality. I'm not sure I'm hearing revelatory differences like Mick Jones claims in interviews he can hear, but it sounds clean, clear, and especially dynamic to these ears. Overall I was pretty impressed by that aspect of it. I'll compare a few of the individual albums when I get the big box.
Chief Brody says
Just received the box set this morning and got done listening to the debut. I haven't even begun digging through the extras; this thing is an absolute treasure trove. Very neatly arranged internally too.
As for sound quality, I compared the new remaster to the Bill Price jobbie from '99, I think. I always liked the previous gen master, and it still sounds pretty good to me, but what Mick Jones and his crew have achieved (at least with the debut) is a very nice step sonically, IMO. This new remaster makes the previous version sound kinda veiled and thick by comparison. On "Janie Jones," for example, it was immediately obvious to these ears that Joe's voice was MUCH more present and immediate--but without sounding overly loud, forced, compressed, or in your face. The whole album, in fact, just sounds a lot livelier and more powerful, but without being fatiguing in the least. The bass is also tighter and more potent. By the end of "Garageland," I was positively sweating--but in the best possible way!
I, like many others, was skeptical about what these "latest and greatest" remasters would sound like, but I'm pleased to report that, so far at least, the results are highly encouraging. Does the debut sound like a whole new album, blah, blah, blah, like all those idiotic audiophile cliches go? No, not at all. It just sounds better--in some ways, quite a bit better. That's good enough for me.
I would think the packaging and presentation would make you feel like it was a whole new album, too. They really nailed it on making it the most appealing boxset ever. Just check out their cool Unboxing video. http://smarturl.it/theClashUnboxing
Chief Brody says
The packaging is really cool. My main gripe is that, in shipping, the CD cases themselves can slide back and forth and knock against the little carboard box containing the dog tags and pins, and ding the box--which happened in my case. Not a big deal, considering what COULD have happened in transit, but still annoying. All in all, though, this thing is quite the conversation piece and pretty well done!