Friday, November 12, 2004

Now the boys and girls are not alone/ Now the hitsville's hit U.K.

I get suckered every damn time a reissue comes out. Sometimes I even buy the reissue when I have the album, which for the most part is absolutely pointless. Like the Slanted and Enchanted reissue; I was a huge Pavement fan in high school and I think I got most of the stuff on there in one form or another. But I still got it.

So I got suckered into buying the London Calling reissue, an album I have, and love. A friend said it wasn't worth it. I cried, "But it's the Holy Grail of all Clash demos. It's the Vanilla Tapes"&mdashI had never heard of these mythic Vanilla Tapes before, but it sounded good—"It's the definitive version of London Calling!" It's not worth it, saideth my friend.

It's really not worth it, I'm hear to say. Most of the tracks are just early, badly recorded versions of what ended up on the album. The best part is, some of them have different titles. Great.

Maybe I'm not as much of a Clash fan as I thought. I'd probably pay good money for an R.E.M. album like this. Or maybe it's just not that great. I have a Springsteen bootleg called The War of the Roses, and it's one of the greatest things I've heard. Only a few extra songs, but the best stuff is the alternative versions of the songs from Born to Run. There's a version of "Backstreets" with strings and Bruce absolutely going crazy on the vocals that should stop you in your tracks. Absolutely amazing. And seeing into the thinking of the artist, of seeing someone tinker with their music and trying to get it right, see what direction it could have gone. But the Vanilla Tapes just feel like a rough draft instead of an experimentation. And that's the damn shame of it all.


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