Album Reviews

Yes - Pet Shop Boys

Elysium - Pet Shop Boys

OK, let’s talk about reissues. Every band seems to be doing it these days in what seems to be, on the face of it, a cynical marketing ploy to get fans to buy the same music all over again.

I fall for it every time along with, it seems, many other music fans lured by the promise of “specially remastered” tracks that will make your favourites sound even more fantastic. To be honest I can’t think of a single example of a remastered album that sounded very noticeably different to the original.

The thing that I find more persuasive about reissues is the inclusion of additional “previously unreleased” material, demo tracks and remixes. Fans simply cannot resist a rarity and the urge to make your collection complete is very strong indeed.

It does beg the question, however, as to why artists can’t make such material part of the original releases. I remember Elvis Costello used to include a bonus CD of demos and alternative arrangements that were always interesting.

Whilst such ‘bonus’ material is, as I say, interesting, it is generally nothing more. Is it the kind of stuff that I would play over and over again? Very rarely. More often than not, I listen to the additional CDs once and never again.

So, if I think I’m basically being manipulated into paying again for something that I already have, will I continue to buy reissues. Yes,of course I will!

I might draw the line, however, at buying all of the 11 albums that the Pet Shop Boys are reissuing as part of their ‘Catalogue’ project announced last summer. Yes, that’s right, Pet Shop Boys are reissuing all of their first 11 studio albums over the coming months.

Most bands wait until a major anniversary before reissuing an album, 20 or 30 years after the original release, say. The Pet Shop Boys obviously can’t wait that long for an additional payday so even an album that was produced as recently as 2012 is getting reissued.

Yes (2009) and Elysium (2012) are the latest in the Catalogue series to be reissued. Yes comes with two additional ‘Further Listening’ CDs whilst Elysium has just one.

It was the ‘Further Listening’ CDs that I found most interesting, especially the various mixes of tracks from the original album. There are no less than three different mixes of Leaving, Elysium’s opening track, on the Further Listening CD.

I’m positive that these reissues will have found their way into the Christmas stockings of many Pet Shop Boys fans although I’m not really sure they should have.

That’s the thing though about being a fan. It often defies all logic and unfortunately there are artists and record companies who will exploit that fact with their ceaseless tide of ‘must have’ reissues.