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Completely botched overpriced reissue of classic album
on August 18, 2003
First off, let me make something clear: The original Night & Day album is a classic, worthy of 5 stars on its own. The review here--more to the point the 2 star rating--is for this particular "deluxe" reissue.
For the "deluxe" series of reissues, started by Universal a few years ago, a formerly single CD album is expanded to two CDs, with the second CD typically filled out some combination of outtakes, b-sides, live tracks or other material that was recorded in the same time-frame as the album. So far, so good. Some of these deluxe reissues has been great, some less so.
This one falls distinctly into the latter catagory. Why? The second CD of bonus material is simply a mugging. The contents of the second CD are as follows: 1) The vocal tracks from the Joe Jackson soundtrack to Mike's Murder; 2) The second side of the 2 LP (2CD) Live 1980/86 set; and 3) demo versions of six of the songs from the album. The Mike's Murder tracks are OK, and it's nice that they are finally available somewhere on CD, but they really don't belong here...they belong on a reissue of the Mike's Murder soundtrack. The second side of 1980/86 is just a waste of time. These tracks were easily available on CD for many years as part of 1980/86. Any serious fan--and anyone buying this expensive set is presumably a serious fan--already has this material.
OK, that brings us to what, for many people, is the real hook: The six demo tracks. I wish I could say that they're great, or that they at least shed some light on the finished album, or that they really bare repeated listening in any way. But they don't. They are too close to the final album versions to be particularly interesting, and all are inferior to the completed album versions. Listen once, then file away.
So in the end, the second CD consists of inessential froth, material available elsewhere, and material that should have been made available elsewhere. It's sucker bait for the hardcore fan. Many of whom will probably bite, but few of whom will be happy they did.
Unless you're a completist, save your money and buy the single CD version instead.