I know, I know – “no one pays for music! Not anymore…” – but for those of you who have (or even had) a CD collection I’ve got a question for you. It’s right there actually (already). In the title of this post. And the reason I ask is because…I was doing some CD-tidying the other day and I thumbed over my copy of Faith No More’s Album of the Year (always thought that was a great title). It had been a while – so I took it out for a spin (in the car). But I wasn’t so much interested in the album as the bonus disc. You see the version I have, from back at the time of the album’s release, 1997, comes with a six-track selection of remixes.
I was a Faith No More fan when I bought Album of the Year – I had everything they’d released up to the point of that, their last album. I’d been following them for the decade leading up to Album of the Year even. But it was the bonus-disc that won me over – at first – with Album of the Year because the album was released when I was working in a music store, a night-time/weekend gig I had as a uni student. And you couldn’t really play the new Faith No More album in store. But you could play the bonus disc since it featured a range of dance remixes. And this was at a time when dance/trance/acid-jazz/drum’n’bass was big. It was everywhere. It was sneaking into the mainstream too. There wasn’t a dubstep at this point. Some marketing geek hadn’t even – quite – come up with the “chill-out” genre at this stage. But the chilled out remix was a way in…
The opening track on the Album of the Year bonus disc, the Bigfoot and Wildboy remix of Last Cup Of Sorrow was, for me, as good as anything on the original album (and I liked Album of the Year, still do). But this track was something of a revelation – it wasn’t Faith No More. But it was. You could imagine the band being on board with it – and if they weren’t, well it still sounded amazing.
I remember distinctly that the Bigfoot/Wildboy remix sounded so good that we sold several copies of the album based on that remix; a track that – arguably – had very little to do with the spirit of the album, in terms of the artist’s muse/intentions.
So I gave the bonus disc a whirl round the track for the first time in years and – as you can see from the link above – went to YouTube to see if someone had been kind enough to load up that Bigfoot and Wildboy remix of Last Cup Of Sorrow. And they had!
Not every track succeeds but another wee gem was the Automatic 5 Dub of Ashes To Ashes – also, as you’ll note, kindly available on the YouTube.
I’m not talking here about reissues. I’m not talking about double-discs or 2-for-1 at a “nice price”, I’m talking about the add-on that wasn’t just an after-market con-job to get a mass audience buying an album three months after it had been released the first time – to justify the extra ad-spend. Three extra tracks, one a “remix”, the other two so obviously not good enough to be on the original album in the first place.
No I’m talking about the incredible bonus-disc – the one where you have your mind blown on a whole separate occasion. Away from – but tangentially linked to – the main album.
I was a late-bloomer with CDs – there was an early (and somewhat lingering) fascination with and commitment to buying cassette tapes. So when I got on board with buying CDs, finally, the 1990s were happening. Even if they weren’t, in the parlance of the time, all that happening.
One of the first CDs in my collection was Pure Cult. A great greatest hits compilation, one of the best by anyone ever – I’m convinced of this still. But what made my version of Pure Cult so great was the 9-track Live at the Marquee album that accompanied the greatest hits. A brilliant bonus disc.
Same deal, many years later, with The Best of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. I bought my copy of that – still have it too; it’s a car-favourite, because of the bonus disc. Another nine-track live album tags along for the ride: Live at the Royal Albert Hall. I have found myself listening to this more often than the Best Of album.
In a pattern of great compilations being tagged with even-better bonus discs I only bought The Cure’s Greatest Hits (I had all of the material on the disc anyway) because of the bonus-disc version, the hits performed acoustically. Many of them suit this treatment, and as a sampler-selection it plays better than the original hits disc.
Richard Thompson’s Dream Attic, an album I’d just caught up with after checking it out, in-flight, on a trip to Aussie. I bought Dream Attic after hearing it on the plane and being wowed by one of Thompson’s best sets in years. The iTunes purchase was a bit hefty but I did score a full acoustic version of the album. A nice bonus when you’re paying more money than you wanted to I guess. A clever justification at any rate. That’s the most recent bonus-disc I can think of – from my collection. (Even though, technically, it was a set of bonus files).
The memories of other bonus discs all came flooding back as soon as I pressed play and heard that Bigfoot and Wildboy remix of Faith No More. Let’s listen once again to it – click here – magic.
So, what CDs did you buy because of the bonus disc? Were you pushed to spend some of your hard-earned cash on a greatest hits album you didn’t want because it had a live or acoustic or dance-remix set tacked on the end that you did want? Or did you find, quite by accident and after purchase, that a favourite new album had a great-value bonus disc along for the ride?
What is your all time favourite bonus disc? What’s the best one you own? And is it still a reason to buy an album?