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SDEtv: George Michael / Listen Without Prejudice unboxing video

Video unboxing of all three physical formats

Out last Friday (and apparently heading for number one in the UK album charts!) is the reissue of George Michael‘s 1990 album, Listen Without Prejudice. It’s available as a 3CD+DVD box set, two-CD edition and 180g vinyl LP. SDE has taken a look at all formats and you can watch the unboxing video below…

The Listen Without Prejudice reissue is out now on Sony/Epic.

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George Michael

Listen Without Prejudice: 3CD+DVD super deluxe

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George Michael

Listen Without Prejudice: 2CD edition

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George Michael

Listen Without Prejudice: remastered vinyl

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track_listing

Listen Without Prejudice, Vol 1 – 3CD+DVD super deluxe

CD 1 Listen Without Prejudice remastered
1. Praying for Time
2. Freedom! ’90
3. They Won’t Go When I Go
4. Something to Save
5. Cowboys and Angels
6. Waiting for That Day – George Michael / The Rolling Stones
7. Mothers Pride
8. Heal the Pain
9. Soul Free
10. Waiting (Reprise)

CD 2 – MTV Unplugged
1. Freedom! ’90
2. Fastlove – George Michael / Patrice Rushen
3. I Can’t Make You Love Me
4. Father Figure
5. You Have Been Loved
6. Everything She Wants
7. The Strangest Thing
8. Older
9. Star People
10. Praying for Time
11. Fantasy featuring Nile Rodgers*

*download-only on the box set edition

CD3: B-Sides And Mixes
1. Soul Free (Special Radio Edit)
2. Freedom! ’90 (Back To Reality Mix)
3. Freedom! ’90 (Back To Reality Mix Edit)
4. Fantasy ’90
5. Freedom! ’90 (Edit)
6. Cowboys and Angels (Edit)
7. If You Were My Woman
8. Too Funky (Edit)
9. Crazyman Dance
10. Do You Really Want to Know
11. Happy
12. Too Funky (Extended)
13. Too Jazzy (Happy Mix)
14. Fantasy ’98
15. Heal the Pain – George Michael with Paul McCartney
16. Desafinado – George Michael with Astrud Gilberto

Disc: 4 – DVD
1. The South Bank Show 1990
2. Freedom! ’90
3. Praying for Time
4. Freedom! ’90 (MTV 10th anniversary)

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[…] page, informing fans that there is going to be ‘exciting news coming’. The reissue of Listen Without Prejudice in 2017 has to date been the only George Michael product to be released since his death on […]

[…] Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 will be released next month. When the 1990 album was reissued in October last year, it was available as a four-disc super deluxe, a two-CD deluxe (with MTV Unplugged) and on vinyl […]

GAULT

I bought the 3 CD +DVD.I am very disappointed of the bonus disc, nearly all titles are coming from vinyl, the sound is not good at all.
The CD1 has been remastered but the quality is not good either, you can hear for instance for the title SOUL FREE cracking sounds in both CD (remastered and not remastered).
Not serious to propose such a bad quality in 2018 !!!

Casperius

Not sure if anyone addressed this before (if so, i’m sorry ). I still didn’t get a chanse to listen to this reissue from a physical mediaformat yet. But I listened to it from streamingservices, like Tidal HiFi and Spotify. I noticed to my surprise that the volume is notably low, just like the original CD version. Mostly, one of the benefits of remastering is that the volume will be more powerful and crispy, besides all the other improvements. Did anyone else notice this? Is it the same if listening to the CD reissue? Or did the streamingservices accidentally link this reissue to the old albums sourcefiles…? The bonus discs have much better improvements i think.

Kauwgompie

I read some comments above of people saying the songs on the Unplugged disc are shorter than the original Unplugged version. That is true. I have the actual Unplugged CD release (it was quite rare, got it from a sales bin somewhere!), I don’t think it is an official release but it looks and sounds 100% genuine. The difference is mostly because some chatter has been cut off or some applause has been added on the back end.

Griffin

Hi Paul, thank you for the unboxing video (comparisons)! Why other would think it’s comparing the audio contents/quality is beyond me? I only got the SDE so I didn’t know about the 2 CD version & vinyl record but I could see them in your video. I opened my box to have a quick peek when I got it. After I’ve watched your video I also think the new cover is darker (not so clear) comparing to the original.

elliott buckingham

glad this eventually got the autorip which includes the awful remix of fantasy

Alex

Paul, a masterful job with the site and all your hard work for the physical music format and SDE’s.
I can confirm that the vinyl and the deluxe box set downloads are in WAV 24 BIT format :) lovely.

Isauro

Paul, I could not be thankful enough for your work to this site…You’ve been pivotal to my personal music collection. I really appreciate what you do and the quality involved in it.

I agree with your comments here. However I think it’s one of the best reissues so far: Quality of the box set itself, music included (I always wanted the MTV Unplugged in CD and some jewels in the form of B-sides and mixes), sound quality (I like what I hear) and hi-res download included (44.1/24bit)…This should be the way!!

I have the japanese version (now sold out) and the differences are:
1. CDs in Blu-spec CD 2. I’m not a believer of this japanese formats but I like the crystal clear sound.
2. All discs are within the classical plastic CD japanese sleeve to protect each one. I like this extra protection as the CD’s are in perfect condition for but they really look awful as the place in which they are inserted is exactly the same as the european version. They don’t fit so well.
3. The back cover (part of the horizontal OBI) is slightly different. Obviously everything is in japanese and includes extracts of the japanese essays included only in this version.
4. One bonus track in the MTV Unplugged disc: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (Live with Elton John). Great to have this song in CD in my collection!
5. An extra separated booklet (same size of the attached booklet) with the essays mentioned before, that also includes the lyrics for discs 2 and 3 in japanese and english.
6. A redeem card that allows you to download exclusively the Fantasy 2017 with Nile Rodgers in WAV format. Yes, only that track. I sent an inquiry to HMV and they confirmed me that according to the information released by the record maker, that was the only track available for Japan (with the help of a translator app, the OBI states so). Before I got any answer from them, I also contacted Push Entertainment asking for the complete download and luckily they sent me a new code. (The card included in the box states that the whole set is included in digital form… don’t know why not available in Japan).
7. It doubles the price of the european version =( I don’t really think it’s worth it. It’s a sold out limited edition, that’s the only additional value IMO.

After all, I’m a really really happy fan! =D

colin

I notice Amazon have now included a FULL (tracks from the 3 audio CD’s) free MP3 rip when you buy the 3cd 1 dvd Super Deluxe Version. The mp3 rip with the vinyl is just the original 10 tracks and the 2 cd rip is just that too – the first 2 cd’s! Someone commented about not getting the MP3 rip with the deluxe version but i can’t find it. Possibly I saw that comment on another thread about the LWP Vol. 1 re-release?

Robert

Thanks for this unboxing video, Paul. Have you had the chance to listen to this newly remastered version ? I would like to know if the soundquality is good.

It’s a pitty that they didn’t include a 5.1 version of this album in this SDE.

Christophe

I want a “Fantasy 2017” CD-single :'(

Shaky Fan

Is it worth sending the deluxe set back to Amazon for a replacement or would I just get an identical one back?

DJRMewzique

Ok, I adore GM…and because of that, I am absurdly disappointed that the expensive 4-disc box set gets screwed out of the new remix of “Fantasy!” So stupid that Sony pressed the 2CD version with it, but the box set just gets a download?!?!?

Sony should be fixing this by sending every single person who bought the box set a replacement disk. Now I still have to buy the 2-disc version just to get that song.

Ken Gillespie

Admirers of the actual unplugged performance of ‘I Can’t Make you Love Me’ will be disappointed (to say the least)..

I had read some ascertions that the vocal was different, but ignored them – why would it be? After listening, it is clear the backing track is that from the unplugged performance, albeit slowed down slightly, with an entirely new vocal.

It is reminiscent of the vocal George recorded much later for the ‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ compilation from 1999 and clearly his preferred version.

George taking the liberty to swap out a vocal is perfectly in line with his perfectionist approach to releases, clearly he wanted to present this as the ultimate version, but the unplugged version it is not.

Both are gorgeous, how can this song with that voice not be? However, I adore the actual unplugged performance and believe it to be one of the finest I have ever heard him give. I guess I’ll just have to keep listening to inferior YouTube versions of it..

Auntie Sabrina

The album is No 1 with combined sales of 56,000, over 30,000 more than Pink’s Beautiful Trauma.

mike

Is the text print mentioned a fault or not then as opinion seems to differ?

AModSquad

Can an audio expert please chime in and confirm the “remaster.” My regular human ears cant really hear a difference. I can usually tell a remaster apart from an original very quickly (ie: Prince – purple rain).
Im listening to the spotify versions and for me the “25” LWP tracks sounds clearer but maybe im just crazy.

DjPaulT

Bought the 3 CD/DVD Super Deluxe Edition and was a bit disappointed with the presentation as well. Don’t really care for the dull album cover and the light writing on white paper. Woul have also liked to see George himself talk about each track. They clearly did not think the presentation through. I have only listened to the remastered album and MTV Unplugged so far. I thought the remastered album sounded a bit flat with not much bass my original CD from 1990 sounds much better in my opinion. MTV Unplugged sounded pretty good full and with bass. Happy to have the remixes and bonus material wish they would have included MTV Unplugged on the DVD as well. As Paul mentioned in the video it is a step up from the “Faith” Deluxe Edition.

Jay

I haven’t had a chance to listen to them to compare but the timings would indicate that they are. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is certainly different from the original broadcast.

Jay

Just to add re the MTV Unplugged disc…

Two songs from the MTV Unplugged show appeared on the CD single for Star People ’97 – Everything She Wants (4:37) and Star People (6:01). The two tracks on the MTV disc have timings of 5:13 and 6:15 respectively,

baward

I might buy the 2 CD edition and make my own ‘beach’ photo with the correct framing and paste it over the ‘sunglasses’ shot.

MARK COCKRAM

Hi All,
I rarely post but thought i would weigh in. The MTV concert is not even direct from the soundboard as can be evidenced from Star People still having the vocal fade for the F word.

The other thing to remember is that this concert was recorded by MTV and was likely recorderd in NTSC format. When it was originally broadcast then in the UK it would have suffered from PAL speed up as that is what happens in the process.

I agree some of the tracks sound a little different, having recently watched a copy of the concert, this could be because there were a number of concerts recorded at the same time, not least the Radio 1 special that was virtually identical, but in my opinion sounded better.

One oddity is that Fantasy is listed on disc 2 on the SDE(the MTV disc) so have sony reprinted the outer cover and not bothered replacing the disc…. this seems odd to say the least. It is almost like the recording was meant to be there but wasnt competed when the set was originally made?? Maybe paul can ask?

Just my .02

Off to listen to the main disc now.

Mark

CJ

Reports say the SDE was already printed and warehoused prior to George’s death, and the new version of Fantasy had not been completed at that point. The 2-Disc set had not been manufactured yet, so they were able to include the disc with the track in that set, but relied on the download for the SDE. The frustrating part for those of us who would have liked to have had everything in one place is that Sony apparently saw fit to repackage the SDE’s to include the new tracklisting, but couldn’t have printed a bunch of extra copies of the disc and just inserted that instead. Manufacturing of discs is apparently inexpensive enough that major replacement campaigns when there are gross mistakes like Dead or Alive are completely feasible, so you would think Sony could have just taken care of the replacement in the process of repacking the already manufactured SDEs. The discs don’t even look different from one set to the next, so it wouldn’t have even resulted in an “oddball” disc.

But I can’t complain too much about it. My local FYE was carrying the 2-disc for $9.99US, and my membership card brought that down another dollar. So, yes, I paid nine bucks for one track, but that’s not all that far off from what we used to pay for CD singles in those wonder years, long ago, when such things were still being made.

mike

Wonder if the take of ‘i can’t make you love me’ is an alternate as someone said earlier there were several takes I believe from the show.

Ruedi (Switzerland)

This is one of my favourite albums ever, a timeless classic. I was 16 when it was released and to this day, these songs mean a lot to me. I do hope it goes to number 1 in the UK again. Very sad George Michael is unable to experience this moment.

Phillip Fogel

Had to laugh at your 50 comment as I just turned 50 today. Sad that the box set was not available at my local record shops online it is. LWP is my second favorite album of all time followed by Main. Course by the. BeeGees.

Eric

I was surprised that the download was for the whole set, and not just the Fantasy 2017 track.

I was surprised that the downloads were in WAV format. Better sound, and I’m personally glad, but huge files for something you have to download in full!

It’s interesting that the download site describes the set as “MTV Unplugged Box” and has no mention of Listen Without Prejudice (except as the name of the files for CD1). That suggests where SONY are probably coming from with all the repositioning of the set with new sleeves, Nile Rodgers remixes, a 2CD edition, etc. This isn’t meant as a pure LWP reissue anymore.

The text in the book is a poor design concept (feint silver on gloss white), but not as far as my own failing eyesight can tell, an actual fault.

Given what some boxsets are costing these days, 3 audio CDs, 1 DVD and everything in WAV format for free, plus a nice-looking hardback book, seems an absolute steal for £30.

Now, let’s just hope there are no nasty surprises in the audio quality!

Jay

Great review/unboxing vid. Agree with most of what you said – can’t read the text clearly, terrible decision to crop the image etc.

My main gripe is with the MTV disc. As some have said, it’s not all from the original show. “I Can’t Make You Love Me?” is definitely not the same – it has a completely different vocal ending which is probably the most obvious bit. And this, for me, raises questions about what else has been changed, left out, tweaked etc. As i can’t read the notes they may well say that the MTV audio has been tampered with, but i’ll never know!

Plus, would have been good to get the MTV DVD too….but then i guess if they changed the audio that was never goung to happen.

Randy Metro

Most of the “unboxing” videos I’ve seen here and on YouTube have been about the presentation aspect. If anyone wants sound quality comparisons, go to the Steve Hoffman forum. If you have the time to go thru 50 or 100 pages of posts comparing one version of an album to another to another and to another, go to Hoffman’s site. And I am only thinking of the multiple releases of T.Rex (Reprise, Cube, Disky, A&M, Universal, Edsel, Demon, Spirit, Marc On Wax – to name a few of the labels) & Bowie: Are the RCA’s better or worse than the EMI’s better or worse than the Parlophones or better or worse than a particular Deluxe version, etc., etc., etc.

Comparing sound quality is usually subjective unless you encounter a big screw up like Bowie’s Heroes.

Dan

Regarding the CD’s including MP3 download codes, Apple decided to take away the disc drive from MacBooks so I haven’t been able to rip a CD since 2014.

Alan

Any more comments on I Can’t Make You Love Me? Some reports/ Amazon reviews claim it isn’t the MTV unplugged version at all but the studio-recorded version. It certainly sounds more like the latter than the former.

The 2-CD version is a bit odd. Emphasis seems to be more in the MTV Unplugged disc than Listen Without Prejudice, and of course the new artwork doesn’t help. The live disc should have been a separate release really, and the third disc should have been the second, but guessing that wouldn’t have been commercial enough.

CJ

I’m very happy to have the set, though that won’t stop me from complaining about it a bit. I am glad to see it not fall victim to the loudness wars, but this seems to almost go in the other direction. Comparing the sound to other contemporary reissues that haven’t been brickwalled but have been “boosted,” this sounds excessively quite. I had to crank the volume knob when I was listening to it.

And, of course, I’d always love to have more than what we get, but I am typically happy with what we’re given.

Tracy

Great video Paul.
I have the deluxe but am thinking now about getting the 2CD and the vinyl. You cannot have too much George Michael.

Paul English

Nice set. I am happy enough. The grey text is hard to read but the sound quality is decent.

I’d have preferred if the vinyl was in this set like Faith – for a start, we’d get a 12 x 12 size box which would be uniform with Faith. I’d gladly pay an extra £20 for it.

Linus Storey

Strange decision just to discuss and compare the artwork and presentation with the original 1990 release and ignore the fundamental issue of sound quality comparison ,the cynic would suggest P.Sinclair has a vested commercial interest and is therefore not an impartial honest broker and the absence of a description of the sound mix suggests this release leaves alot to be desired
Personally i am very disappointed in the presentation of this release which has failed to remain faithful to the original and supplanted different era photos and recordings which i feel creates a product which can no longer be classified as a ‘reissue’ but merely a badly conceived ill prepared cash in of a shoddy cheap diluted disrespectful product
Yet again,another missed opportunity for a quality retrospective of this seminal record particulary in light of Georges passing

Daran

Stupid comment when Paul is clearly critical of the presentation of a product he worked on! Dishonesty would be to not criticise (bite) the hand that feeds one for fear of the consequences…..

bob

Re discussing the packaging, the clue is in the title of this website.
I don’t understand what you mean by saying this is another missed opportunity for a quality retrospective of this album, this is the first and only retrospective of this album.

cmi

Are you sure that these 2 tracks were performed live during the set, not soundtrack/rehearsal? Don’t you know the exact track list of the whole event. As I know several tracks were performed twice…

lee bowler

I think they changed the cover of the double CD to maybe entice a new audience as well as the fans from way back – not sure why they couldn’t use an image from that era though. I remember in 1990 hating the cover of LWP and his decision not to appear in videos etc – he basically went from an iconic persona to nothing, all in the space of a year or so is pretty dramatic. We all understand the reasoning now but back then it made zero sense to me.

Overall, i’m really happy with the re-issue/remaster – the album way back was all about the music and so it is again. Can’t help but feel it’s all tinged with sadness though. Regarding the Older album, I hope that gets the deluxe treatment too – it has remixes galore (Plus five live, Papa/Killer, As and Outside from a couple of years before and after 1996) which is why I think they put MTV unplugged on LWP

Michael Ettengruber

The The has changed the Cover Artwork for the Remasters too…

Peter Muscutt

I thought it was a fairly nice touch all the tracks were available as downloads and not just the Nile Rodgers rework of ‘Fantasy’. Feels a quality item with the slide-out book and the CD wallets. OK, there’s some nitpicking on the image/why MTV unplugged was included, but hey, at least we’ve got the MTV tracks earlier than waiting for Older to be re-issued! Was MTV Unplugged ever released on DVD, anyone?

Richard

Great review, Paul. I was also perplexed by the download option – especially as it was listed as MP3 on the packaging and was actually 24-bit WAV file. Fine if you have unlimited broadband, but those zip file sizes. ouch!

Great package, only marred by presentation – the sleeve, the misspelling of “available” on the card, the inclusion of Fantasy at the end of disc 2 on the card as well.

I don’t think, musically, there’s anything else you could ask for from the era (apart from a recording from the era-specific Cover to Cover tour – instead of the unplugged).

Again, great review of a great album.

Patrick Gleeson

That’s a big deal having 24 Bit downloads included, underlining the good value this set is. My broadband is slow enough to feel the pain of waiting for this content to load :-) Disappointed by the cover, but not a deal breaker.

Scott G

Purchased the 24bit download from Qobuz. Sounds excellent especially the live set. I was never that mad on Wham but his solo recordings were always very well produced with fantastic bass and clean clear instrumentation. A very very sad loss to the music world.

Paul Murphy

A rather poignant piece by Richard Madeley on TV-AM this morning regarding viewing George’s decline. Most sobering. Only a short bit – 30 seconds or so – but worth searching out.

elliott buckingham

the remaster in my opinion sounds very clean no hint of compression it sounds like a bit of the echo from the praying for time has been removed which is a win win

MüllerMüller

There is a Japan bonus track…….

Anthony Grice

Not true I’m afraid. That was an error. Just checked the track listing on cdjapan and it’s identical to the UK. version

Marc Hocker

Tis true I’m afraid. The Japan 2 CD has 12 tracks on the 2nd CD, the UK 11 tracks. The bonus track is Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
(With Elton John/Live at Wembley Arena 1991) 

See image of back cover:

https://m.ebay.com/itm/2017-JAPAN-BLU-SPEC-CD-GEORGE-MICHAEL-Listen-Without-Prejudice-MTV-Unplugged-/272885787718?nav=SEARCH

Warren Mason

Curious about the sound quality on this release from those who have listened. Is it remastered and so is the sound an improvement or is there a dynamic range compression issue?

Michel Banen

After I received the Japanese blu-spec2 CD of Dead or Alive – Youthquacke I was stunned by the soundquality so I decided to cancel my German order of the George Michael box and ordered the Japan box as that will have the audio CD’s in blu-spec2 !

David

Sadly MTV unplugged is not complete. Hand To Mouth and One More Try are missing which is a shame because it’s such a good show. Gladly we get Older for the first time.

cmi

Are you sure that these 2 tracks were performed live during the set, not soundtrack/rehearsal? Don’t you know the exact track list of the whole event. As I know several tracks were performed twice…

Christian

Paul – Your question about why they include a download code for all the tracks is easy to answer and fairly logical. The labels probably do this so that people can put these files on their iPod or whatever portable music listening device they have – thus saving them the time of ripping a CD (or if they don’t know how to). Also, many cars nowadays come with a USB port so that you can put in a USB stick and listening to music from that (which I do). It’s all about ease.

Danny

I also like getting the download codes for the same reason as you (particularly if it’s vinyl – really irritates me when vinyl editions come without a download code), but I do remember reading an article about download options and all the respondents (who were from a variety of record labels of varying sizes) mentioned the low take up of downloads – it seemed to hover around 15% of the codes available, and given the costs involved (server space, download bandwidth, etc) many were seriously considering dropping download options completely.

Fady

Nice review Paul and I completely agree with you re: some of the creative decisions made. As far as the content is concerned I think George and Sony have more or less nailed it. Like you I simply don’t understand why you would crop the original artwork and change it from sepia to greyscale. I also think the idea of changing the cover on the double-CD version doesn’t make sense. Surely they could have used the original for the front and back and used the images of George on the inside front and back cover. It sounds like I’m nit-picking but they’ve had ages to get this reissue right and I don’t think they’ve done the release justice by modifying such an iconic album cover.

By the way, I’m mightily impressed by the quality of your original album. It looks like you just bought it from the local record store yesterday!

Michael Leon

Am looking forward to receiving my copy today. I find it strange too that the Older-era MTV Unplugged performance is included. Nice to have it all the same. I would LOVE there to be a Cover to Cover Tour live album and DVD release one day. There must be quality recordings of both, seeing as a few of the tracks did get released e.g ‘Killer /Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ , ‘Calling You’ and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me’. Also, the Rock In Rio footage was broadcast in some countries on both radio and TV.

paul jones

I thought the text in the book was a bit tooooo grey……why not just do it black on white, bit annoying