Saturday Deluxe / 27 Feb 2016


To Crowded House I offer love

Hooray! It looks like we’ll definitely be getting Crowded House reissues if the reports are to be believed.

There’s plenty of material that could be included in deluxe editions –  from 12-inch extended mixes of early hits like Don’t Dream It’s Over and World Where You Live to non-album tracks like Zen Roxy or I Am In Love from the Together Alone era – although it’s true that the band (and record label)  loved using live tracks as bonus material on CD singles and 12-inch records. I’m not normally a lover of live bonus tracks, but Crowded House live material is often very rewarding.

For me, Woodface and Together Alone are their best albums; the Rubber Soul and Revolver of the Crowded House canon. I suppose it says something about Neil Finn’s songwriting when you are relegating 1988’s Temple of Low Men down the rankings given that it contains CH classics like Into Temptation, Sister Madly, When You Come and Better Be Home soon. That album would be a career highlight for most bands.

Together Alone stands apart though. It’s one of the best albums of the 1990s and is probably in my top ten of all time. The quality of the writing is just outstanding. You’d have to have a heart of steel not be to moved by the line in Distance Sun where Neil sings “I don’t pretend to know what you want, But I offer love” and the ache of Fingers of Love is palpable. I feel very lucky to have seen the band live in London in 1993 when they were promoting this album.

It would have been sensational without it, but Youth’s organic, elemental production takes Together Alone to another level, although interestingly Neil Finn has at times distanced himself from it, wondering if the songs are served better without it. I disagree with this and for comparison you should listen to the album version of Private Universe and compare it to with the (odds and sods compilation) Afterglow version.

I can’t wait for these reissues and whether they disappoint or exceed expectations I know I’m going to enjoy falling in love with Crowded House all over again.



After her Brits success, Adele‘s 25 unsurprisingly remains at no. 1, although Best of Bowie is number two and David Bowie‘s Blackstar is still in the top ten (#9) of the UK physical album chart.

It was announced this week that the If I Can Dream compilation which fuses Elvis Presley vocals to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has sold a million copies in the UK. In anyone’s book that’s impressive, although also a bit depressing. I’m sure some of the very good Legacy Editions of actual albums (like Elvis at Stax, or Elvis: Prince From Another Planet) sold only a tiny fraction of this amount, but this very artificial Frankenstein’s monster of a compilation which also features Michael-bloody-Bublé is a major success. Gawd help us!

No too much going on this week. Lots of Bowie still in the physical chart along with the usual suspects who seem to have taken up permanent residency, like Whitney Houston, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Very Best of ELO, Ultimate Paul Simon etc. Phil Collins‘ new reissues are out this week and Warners will be hoping they have more staying power than the first two (Face Value and Both Sides) which stayed in the top 100 physical albums for just one week back in early February. This seems rather unlikely, given that Hello, I Must Be Going isn’t as good as Face Value and Dance Into The Light isn’t as good as Both Sides. 

Personally, I think it’s crazy that they put these deluxe reissues on streaming services like Spotify. Reissues are a different beast to new releases and there should be a window where the physical product is the ‘exclusive’ carrier for all the rare material. Three or six months later you can roll it out if you wish, but surely with everything available online for free from day one it’s no surprise that some of these releases drop like a stone in the charts because anyone outside the hardcore fans has no incentive to buy the physical set.

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