Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Just Say Sire (Or Say It But Also Quibble With the Track Listing)

Sire Records has announced the release this fall of a 3 CD/1 DVD box set to commemorate its 40th anniversary (and, presumably, make some money). The set, "Just Say Sire: The Sire Records Story" will be available Sept. 13, at least in North America. An interesting set... Sire co-founder Seymour Stein Stein co-produced it, which means I get to hold him partly responsible for anything I don't like about it (Hey, it's sometimes fun to quibble with box sets like this, much like it's fun to quibble with lists of the "best" whatever).

Stein has an interesting interview at RollingStone.com reflecting on Sire's history. He says there were "two superstars" in the Smiths, Johnny Marr, as well as Morrissey. Even in defending Johnny Marr's right to have his share of the credit and glory, he can't help but start to fawn a bit over Morrissey. Stein adds, "I did think Morrissey's lyrics were just amazing, great poetry. They're timeless. I said to him, 'You know, you could have made it at any time in the past or in the future -- that's how strong your lyrics are. If you had been around at the beginning of the nineteenth century, you would have been a star, but your name would have been Lord Byron.'" (I wonder what Morrissey's response was).

Asked what acts could have been bigger if they had "played the game better," Stein names the Replacements. But he said maybe "by playing the game, as you put it, they would have lost that edge they had." He notes that "you're talking about artists here" and makes similar non-judgmental "they could have been bigger but..." statements about k.d. lang and Chrissie Hynde. With Ministry, however, he names them and leaves it at "they were difficult, very, very difficult."

As for the Sire box set... it actually does look pretty cool. Sire has had a lot of amazing bands on its roster through the years, so they have plenty of material to choose from, i.e. no excuses for including lousy songs here! Loyalty is for the weak! Of course it's impossible to come up with a set that will please everyone. Still... I'd like to know whether there's some sort of weird rights issue to blame for The Ocean Blue only appearing on the DVD and not the CD. Also... D:Ream? I haven't seen the video; I hope it's good enough to justify being included. I don't think much of the song, no offense to D:Ream f:ans.

Erasure gets a song and a video, as do Echo & the Bunnymen, Talking Heads, and Madonna. The Smiths, one song and no video. Sure, Morrissey gets a song too, but that doesn't count! No video from Moz either. Also, it's hard to believe that everyone over the age of 3 doesn't already own at least, oh, 15 compilations with "Tainted Love" on it, but I think Sire may have been legally required to include it. So I'll give them a pass on that one. (I think almost every compilation is required to include "Tainted Love" actually).

I would have liked to see (well, hear):

- Belly's "Feed the Tree" on the CD (it's on the DVD, which is something anyway)
- Some more remixes/different versions of some of the songs people are most likely to already have.
- More videos. Hey, there's room for more than 20 videos on a DVD, and they promote their artists and songs...
- Some extras on the DVD. Maybe there will be some but none have been announced. I'm a bit surprised there isn't any concert footage or some sort of interview not available elsewhere...

Okay, that's a lot of griping about what does look like a great box set... here's the track listing, and a taste of what I like (and a bit of what I don't) from it:

Track Listing from Billboard.com but I've mucked with it and tried to fix a few typos that jumped out at me...

Just Say Sire Track Listing

Disc One:

Madonna - Everybody
English Beat - Mirror in the Bathroom
Tin - Kiss Me (I thought there was another "Tin" but I'm not "fixing" this because maybe this is a Yazoo/Yaz thing and I just don't know about it...)
Erasure - Oh L'Amour
Soft Cell - Tainted Love
Yaz - Situation (Remix)
mp3:Depeche Mode - People Are People (from Some Great Reward, People Are People, etc.)
mp3:Blancmange - Living on the Ceiling (on the import albums Best of Blancmange and Second Helpings: The Best of Blancmange, etc.)
Jonathan Richman - That Summer Feeling
the Bluebells - Young at Heart
mp3:Madness - One Step Beyond (on One Step Beyond, Ultimate Collection, etc. Love this...)
Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love (Available as a free download at Amazon here)
Ofra Haza - Im Nin'alu
Kid Creole & the Coconuts - Endicott
Brian Wilson - Love and Mercy
Everything But The Girl - Each and Every One
Little Jimmy Scott - All the Way
Seal - Crazy
the Cult - Fire Woman
k.d. lang - Constant Craving

Disc Two:

mp3:The Undertones - Teenage Kicks(from The Undertones, the Very Best of The Undertones, etc. John Peel's favourite song)
the Smiths - This Charming Man
Modern English - I Melt With You
Telex - Moskow Diskow
the Saints - (I'm) Stranded
mp3:Plastic Bertrand - Ça Plane Pour Moi (from Just Say Yesterday: Volume VI, the import King of the Divan: Best of Plastic Bertrand, etc.)
the Rezillos - Top of the Pops
B-Movie - Nowhere Girl
Morcheeba - Part of the Process
Primal Scream - Come Together (7" Version)
Bomb The Bass - Beat Dis
the Cure - The Love Cats
mp3:Echo & the Bunneymen - The Killing Moon (from Ocean Rain, the Crystal Days: 1979-1999 box set, etc.)
the Normal - Warm Leatherette
Morrissey - Everyday Is Like Sunday (posted this just the other day)
the Assembly - Never Never
Aztec Camera - Oblivious
The Mighty Lemon Drops - Inside Out
mp3:My Bloody Valentine - Soon (from Loveless, a brilliant album)
Ride - Leave Them All Behind

Disc Three:

the Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
the Replacements - Alex Chilton
Paley Brothers and Ramones - Come on Let's Go
Radio Birdman - Aloha Steve & Danno / Theme From Hawaii Five-O
Dinosaur Jr. - The Wagon
Dead Boys - Sonic Reducer
mp3:Laid Back - White Horse [out of print but you can find used copies as a single -- Sunshine Reggae/White Horse or the remix White Horse 89: We Need More Money (subtitle may or may not have been made up by me) and on the album Keep Smiling. The song is not actually about horses. (don't feel like following links? That's cool. Actually, the Laid Back link refers to "White Horse" as "an anti-drugs song" but specifically, it appears to be about heroin]
Richard Hell and the Voidoids - Blank Generation
mp3:Deborah Harry - I Want That Man (from Def, Dumb & Blonde, The Complete Picture: The Very Best of Deborah Harry and Blondie, etc. Amazon abbreviates it to "The Complete Picture: Very Best of Blondie" and sometimes just calls her Debbie - sometimes lists both Debbie and Deborah. Then again, she didn't use one name consistently either, so...)
mp3:Tommy Page - I'll Be Your Everything (I guess this is the cheese in the sandwich within Deborah Harry/Wilco bread, but... how weird. I don't like it, but I'm posting it so you can hear how these songs will sound together on the Sire CD and decide for yourself if they belong together)
Wilco - Summer Teeth
Paul Westerberg - World Class Fad
the Pretenders - Back on the Chain Gang
Uncle Tupelo - Give Back the Key to My Heart
Flamin' Groovies - Shake Some Action
Throwing Muses - Counting Backwards
Book Of Love - Boy
mp3:Lou Reed - Romeo Had Juliette (from New York, The Wild Side: Best of Lou Reed, etc.)
Ice-T - O.G. Original Gangster
Ministry - Jesus Built My Hotrod
Talking Heads - Burning Down the House


M - Pop Muzik
the Ramones - Rock 'n' Roll High School
the Cure - Let's Go to Bed
Erasure - A Little Respect
the Pretenders - Brass in Pocket
Echo & the Bunnymen - The Cutter
the Replacements - Bastards of Young
the Cult - She Sells Sanctuary
Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime
Madonna - Like a Prayer
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence
Belly - Feed the Tree
mp3:The Ocean Blue - Drifting, Falling (from The Ocean Blue)
Martini Ranch - Reach
the Farm - Groovy Train
D:Ream - Things Can Only Get Better
Pet Shop Boys - New York City Boy
Spacehog - In the Meantime
Barenaked Ladies - One Week
Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy


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