I love me a good box set. Who doesn’t? Value for money is a damn tempting thing. I’ve been big into box sets this year. I’ve bought a few. A 17-CD AC/DC collection. A 14 CD Saxon late-career round up. A 6 album Deicide early days collection and a matching 6 CD Obituary album collection. I tried out a 5 CD King Diamond boxset & 5 CD Suicidal Tnedencies boxset. There was a 4 CD Girlschool boxset. A album CD Holy Terror set. A 3 CD Witchfynde box. A 3 CD Diamond Head box.
Heck, I started off the year with a 6 CD Yngwie Malmsteen boxset which someone sent me as a gift with no explanation or warning or follow-up. If that was you, own up and take your thanks.
I also went on iTunes and made my own imaginary boxset, by buying about 6 Running Wild albums at once, because I was disapointed I couldn’t find a boxset.
This is after a previous few years of getting a Dream Theater set, a Freedeom Call set, a Faith No More set, a ZZ Top set, a Thin Lizzy set, a Van Halen set, an early career Saxon set and a mid career Saxon set, 2 Motorhead sets, a Ratt Set, a Michael Schenker Group set, a Prong set, a Mountain set, a Foghat set and being gifted an Alice In Chains set.
Basically, in the last 5 years, I find Boxsets a very hard thing to skip.
This reminds me of a topic. I was discussing in the comments earlier. Boxset brain. I find that if I get a box set. I never, ever, even after 5 years… feel like I’ve really given a CD from that set enough attention. I feel like the boxset as a whole is one album and sometimes feel compared to listen to the whole set on shuffle. I feel the urge to group the sets together into a giant playlist and play songs from all the sets on shuffle. I sometimes feel like I can’t be considered a real fan because I only got into them through a boxset. (Strange, right?)
I feel like boxsets also come with a lot of pressure. A self-imposed expectation that it must be listened to quickly and all of it must be consumed NOW. I also always try to save one or two albums from it for later, but then fail, and listen to it once or twice, but then still try and save it and then get annoyed by the failure to save it and then the album is spoiled and never fully gotten into.
Its a strange battle. The need to NOT hear it and the need TO DEFINITELY hear it. I find myself needing to listen to the first few albums from the sets so much, that I have to put them on when I’m going to sleep. I’ll fall asleep and not hear it all, but in my mind I’ve put that album on one more time and therefore I’m getting my value for money.
…except I never get my value for money. I always, always have to listen to it more. I’ve never ‘completed’ that album. Not that music is something you can ‘complete.’ I bought all my Pantera albums when I was 12 years old and I’ve still been absolutely pasting them these last few months. I got into Metal through a strange combination of Metallica, Sepultura, Slipknot and Green Day and I’ve been listening to all of them this month all these many years later. So I don’t listen to something as a tickbox exercise. But if its a boxset. There is a tickbox element.
I got a Life Of Agony Boxset I forgot to list. It has 3 studio albums, a B-Sides compilation and a live album from an acoustic show with an electric encore. I have never, ever listened to that live album or B-sides album all the way through. …and that annoys me. I might go and do it now just to prove a point to myself.
There’s another point about boxsets I haven’t brought up. I’ve been talking about boxsets as if all of them are just a bunch of the albums in a cardboard box. Sometimes boxsets are specifically made new things.
I recently wrote about how I was really glad to have found a Megadeth album in Wembley from 1990. It came from a boxset. The boxset was a new product. It was specifically designed. They created a new greatest hits set and peppered a few rareties in. A new (old) live album. A new (old) live DVD. Slayer have released a similar product in the past.
Who wants theses? Why would a fan who liked the band enough to buy a box-set, want to get a greatest hits cd? Why would a newcomer who needs a greatest hits cd want to buy a gigantic boxset and take the risk on a load of rarities and archive live stuff ?
I missed out on this superb Megadeth live album for years because they stuck in on bassically a greatest hits cd filled box instead of on its own. Hell, take the rareties, take the new old live cd and dvd. Put em in a box without the greatest hits, charge the same price. I’ll buy that.
If I’m a fan enough for the box and wanting the rarities and the live stuff and willing to pay that much. I already have their greatest hits. I can make my own greatest hits playlists and burn my own greatest hits cds of my own design.
Greatest Hits sets were excellent in the past before playlsits where you could get all your favourite songs without the filler on one record or tape (We Sold Our Souls To Rock N Roll reviews always mention that!). Greatest Hits sets are excellent cheap starting points for newcomers to take a risk on a new band (I’ve done this dozens of times), or for casual fans who only want what they know anyway and don’t care about deep cuts and completionism (they do exist, as much as I can’t imagine living that way). Why stick them inside an expensive box clearly aimed at big fans though? What new fan would risk that much money on a maybe?
Maybe that’s just a little blind spot of mine. A strange bug bear of mine.
Box sets bring about a lot of strange opinions and habbits in me.
But hey…. ya gotta love em. Right?