In the Valley of the Shadow of Box Sets
Recently, I acquired what, to my ears and eyes, is a very beautiful thing—the Australian Split Enz box set, Enz to Enz. Including remastered versions of all nine studio albums, plus two compilations, The Beginning of the Enz and The Rootin Tootin Luton Tapes, the set is gorgeously packaged and all I could really hope for in the world of Split Enz.
Now, before you stop reading because you could care less about Split Enz, let me say now that the point of this blog is not to celebrate or defend Split Enz. Oh, I would be more than happy to do so, but perhaps in a later posting. What the point of this actually is, is the mysterious fate of box sets.
When I was proudly unveiling the set to the rest of the Into the Music staff, our intrepid owner Greg made the point that box sets are the place where good CDs go to die. OK, I don’t remember his exact words, but the point is the same. This got me to thinking – is he right? Will Enz to Enz become just another pretty trinket on my already overstuffed shelves of pretty trinkets? Something to gather dust and be forgotten, just like my juicer and inspirational meditation guides?
I was determined this would not be the case. Over the course of the weekend after I purchased the set, my boyfriend and I worked our way through most of it. I felt vindicated. I would not fall prey to apathy and be too lazy to open the set when I wanted to hear Mental Notes! The box would not merely become a part of the landscape of our living room, seen but not truly appreciated!
That was about a month ago. This afternoon, I took the set down from the top of the TV stand, wiped the dust from its formerly pristine, shining cover and realized we didn’t make it through the whole set. There are still three discs to listen to, one of which I’ve never even heard before. Having it in my hands made me excited again, this thing of beauty that promises so many musical delights. But then I think about my Velvet Underground set and how I walk by it multiple times every single day, but when was the last time I actually listened to White Light/White Heat? Or even registered the set’s presence in my collection? Or my Cheap Trick set? Will my recently acquired Nick Drake Fruit Tree box suffer the same sad fate?! Will I never listen to Bryter Later again?!
What mysterious alchemic reaction takes place when CDs are bundled together in a lovely package that renders them seemingly invisible? And how can I break the cycle of the box set graveyard?
Posted by Barb Stewart on September 21st 2008 in Music Industry, | Next: For The Love Of God Turn Down The Drums , I’m Thinking Here! | Previous: Welcome to the site