Newly released by Sony Music's PopMarket: Cheap Trick, The Complete Epic Albums. Looks like this:
Seems superfluous for a nerd like me on the surface, but here's the rub: the '80s albums in this set are new remasterings by Vic Anesini, the talented engineer responsible for the current versions of the '70s discs, all of which were long ago released separately. Anesini's work on the catalog through All Shook Up has been everything a fan could hope for: it sounds like the original vinyl pressings, only better: clearer and more powerful without having the dynamics thrashed out of it. It's impossible to imagine this vital material sounding any better than it does, and it's also a rare win for the consumer. After all, how often is the cheapest, most readily available version of important music also the best? I'll answer that: far less often than you would think.
I certainly haven't pulled the trigger on this yet, and I'm not likely to anytime soon. Rhea and I are in watch-every-penny mode right now, and I'd honestly feel stupid laying out a Benjamin for something I already half-own: by all accounts, the '70s albums are identical to the versions released between 1998 and 2006. As well they should be in a way, given that they are perfect as-is. But why do I need them again? It's hard to imagine anyone who'd be interested in this set not already owning at least some of them, and here's where the predictable anti-music industry rant comes in: why should I be forced to help Sony unload aging stock in order to buy titles that frankly should have been available separately ages ago? If Anesini's remasterings - which I'm sure sound wonderful and I'd absolutely love to own - of the '80s albums were available individually as mid-lines, I'd already have bit on at least a couple of them. If a lower-cost second box of just the "new" titles were made available for, say, $50, I've no doubt it'd already be winging its way to me. As it stands, I just don't see the value in being forced to re-buy the half of this set that I've long owned and cherished.
You'd hope there'd be a lesson in this for Sony Music: instead of a guaranteed sale of a more reasonably priced/presented product, they have so far gotten not one red cent from me. And if this set isn't aimed at me, sitting here on a Sunday in a Cheap Trick t-shirt and checkerboard Vans sneakers, who on Earth is it possibly aimed at?