Deluxe Albums Need To Die

Now that I’m almost in my thirties I’m going to start feeling like I’m too old. One reason I’m going to begin feeling this way is because of the recorded music industry.

Here’s what they’re going to do: they’re going to take music from my youth, re-release it, and hope I’ll buy it again.1 And I might. The problem is that they’ll ruin it by re-releasing that music as a “Deluxe” Edition.

There’s a problem with Deluxe editions. There’s nothing deluxe about them. The common practice is to take an album as it stands on its own, and then add a bunch of extra tracks to it—even on its release date.

Now the “Deluxe” album is way too long. What was an enjoyable 35-40 minute record is now supposed to be some 90 minute masterpiece that is only out-lengthened by a Philip Glass opera.

And it’s about as boring too. All those extra deluxe tracks? Garbage. They’re songs from the recording sessions that weren’t good enough to include the first time around. I trust that judgement.

So instead of a focused artistic effort that’s maybe 10 tracks long, artists who release Deluxe albums treat their fans to the original album and a bunch of throwaways. That’s like going to a restaurant, ordering a great steak dinner, and then being offered a bologna sandwich before you leave.

There may be a rare instance when someone makes a mind-blowing bologna sandwich, but I just ate. The steak dinner was perfect, but all I can taste now is that white-bread, mayonnaise, bologna sandwich. Maybe for lunch tomorrow I’ll have your sandwich.

Remember that we’re living in the age of iTunes. If you like listening to music album-by-album instead of track-by-track, deluxe albums destroy iTunes album ratings. What starts as an album with 10 pretty good tracks usually starts a nosedive into two-star territory for the next few tracks, bringing down the entire album. Add to that how much longer deluxe albums are and you can see how fans become hesitant to hit play on the album.

So, Deluxe albums. I don’t like ’em.

  1. That Saint Etienne album keeps getting rumored to be re-released.