Logically, I should probably own a few anthologies – I’m the kind of person who would. But, despite having listened to New Order‘s Retro a few times, I remain decidedly underwhelmed by the concept. So this year’s influx of anthologies in our line of music comes as something of a shock to the system, and it’s worth taking a moment to consider what’s actually in them.
Marc Almond – Trials of Eyeliner – The Anthology 1979-2016
Marc Almond announced his first, and it finally enters the shops on 4th November. Here are some quick statistics:
- Number of discs: 10
- Number of tracks: 189
- Retail price: £120
Discs 1-4 are History, a collection of Marc’s favourite album tracks over his impressively long career.
Then Discs 5-7 are Singles, a complete collection of the Soft Cell, Marc and the Mambas, solo, and collaborative hits.
Discs 8-10 are Gems, a set of fanclub releases, collaborations, tracks from soundtracks, demos, and previously unreleased recordings.
You also get a 64-page hardcover book full of photos and images from Marc Almond‘s personal collection.
More details here.
The verdict, for me: you probably need to be a bigger fan than I am.
Erasure – From Moscow to Mars – An Erasure Anthology
Erasure are currently still busy celebrating their thirtieth birthday with some lovely vinyl editions, and also this, released on 21st October:
- Number of discs: 13
- Number of tracks: 200
- Retail price: £80
Discs 1-3 are Erasure – The Singles, another collection of all the Erasure singles. Since we only got Total Pop! in 2009 and another collection just last year, this seems a bit unnecessary.
Discs 4-5 are Erasure by Vince Clarke and Andy Bell, with one disc compiled by each. There are some interesting inclusions, and it would definitely be worth hearing, but probably not one that even the most devoted fan would pick up too often.
Discs 6-7 are Erasure – The B-Sides, an incomplete selection of Erasure‘s b-sides. There are a lot of gems on here actually, and it’s good to see so many of them in the same place at once. Probably worth a listen.
Discs 8-9 are just called Remixes, and are yet another selection of new and old Erasure remixes. There are some interesting looking new ones, such as Little Boots taking on Blue Savannah, but I think you would need to be a completist for this.
Disc 10 has been done before as well – Erasure – Live! is another edited selection of live highlights throughout the years.
Disc 11 is Rarities, some of which haven’t actually been released before, so might be worth the odd listen now and then.
Disc 12 is a nice inclusion, an audio documentary called A Little Respect – 30 Years of Erasure, presented by Mark Goodier from off of the olden days, and with contributions from various contemporaries.
Finally Disc 13 is a DVD release of The Wild! Tour, previously only released on VHS, so probably a nice addition for completists.
Pre-orders also get six unreleased bonus downloads, although it’s difficult to believe there’s anything to write home about among them.
More details here.
The verdict: despite the bargain price, I can’t see a strong reason to buy this one except for the b-sides collection. Hopefully that will come out separately one day.
The Human League – A Very British Synthesizer Group 1977-2016
The smallest of all the anthologies, and probably the one with the oddest artwork (see link below). Released on 18th November, the vital statistics look like this:
- Number of discs: 4
- Number of tracks: 92
- Retail price: £80
There are just four discs on this one, although you do get a 58-page book too. Discs 1 and 2 are the complete collected singles from 1978 to the present, collected for the first time without any omissions.
The rest of the tracks are really just bonus material on a glorified best of. Disc 3 contains early versions of a lot of tracks, although many of them aren’t singles, so this is probably one for fans only.
Disc 4 is a DVD, containing every single one of their promotional videos and a collection of their BBC appearances.
There’s also a triple LP and double CD version containing just the singles, and they’re also touring the whole thing this Autumn.
More details here and here.
The verdict: very tempting, if the price decides to drop to something much more reasonable.
The best of the rest
Also coming out this Autumn are:
Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI, an enormous 19-disc box set from Dead or Alive, including all the albums as two or three-disc sets, some of which have never actually been released in the UK before, as well as some DVDs and impressive packaging, all for just £118. Definitely one for bigger fans than me, but worth investigating if you’re into that kind of thing.
The Early Years 1965-1972, an astonishing 27-disc set from Pink Floyd, collecting albums, singles, unreleased tracks, singles, videos, and memorabilia from their early years, costing several months’ salary but possibly worth it if you’re an über-fan. More details here.
Depeche Mode take advantage of one of their many years off with a complete collection of videos, Video Singles Collection. This is a three-disc set containing the videos from 1981-2013, including a whole load of material that has never been released on DVD before, plus commentaries. Details here.