Complete Box set, Original recording remastered
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Limited eight CD box set containing digitally remastered editions of all eight Smiths albums. This box includes all four of the band's studio albums: The Smiths (1984), Meat Is Murder, The Queen Is Dead (1986), and Strangeways, Here We Come (1987) plus their sole live album Rank (1988) as well as the compilations Hatful Of Hollow (1984), The World Won't Listen (1987) and Louder Than Bombs (1987). Rhino. 2011.
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Top Customer Reviews
If the truth be told, there isn't too much discernible difference between these remasters and the CD re-issues of the 1990s that I own. But it is an improvement, particularly on their eponymous debut, and there is generally (but not always) more space and definition between the instruments. Overall the frequency range is higher but sound quality is in no way compromised to favour a loud mix as can sometimes be the case with remasters.
All eight CD covers are exact mini replicas of the original vinyl releases, right down to the stickers and the inlay sleeves. Four of them have gatefold sleeves just like the originals and even the artwork on the CDs themselves is identical to that found on the original vinyl LPs. Housed in a sturdy cardboard case and accompanied by a booklet (albeit very brief for a career encompassing collection), the attention to detail is exceptional. In total there are 111 tracks with a playing time of 6 hours & 35 minutes, although there is some repetition given the inclusion of the three compilation albums.
It's not quite the complete Smiths - there are a couple of single only tracks missing and I'll wager that a similar box set featuring remastered CD mini replicas of all of their UK singles will hit the racks at some stage. In summary, this is a worthwhile purchase for fans and newcomers alike and reconfirms that The Smiths were indeed the best, most consistent and prolific band of their generation. It also represents excellent value too.
Also, fyi, Amazon.co.uk sells this for 30.47 pounds. The VAT tax (approximately 17%) will be deducted for shipments to North America. So final cost is approximately $41 plus shipping. I always scope amazon.co.uk before purchasing as prices are frequently much cheaper, even having to pay for shipping
For about $5 per disc, this is a bargain
Rhino has been doing a pretty good job of these remaster projects. They are definitely paying attention to what they are doing. These are quite good, however not in the league of what Rhino did with the first four Pretenders albums. Those where such an obvious improvement, I doubt that there will be any controversy at all about those - plus all the bonus material, also with nice sound quality. Those sound excellent.
Remasters are a very interesting topic these days. After ten years of over driven, compressed reissues, the industry is finally coming back around to its senses (hopefully). The 2009 Beatles remasters set an example. The 2002 Stones hybrid SACDs, long OOP, are worth seeking out, though every Stones reissue since is inferior to the 2002 DSD redbook CDs or the 1994 Virgins (what's going on with the Stones catalogue anyway?). The gold standard is the Genesis 1970-1975 remixed & remastered box with SACDs and 5.1 DVDs of each of the first 5 albums + bonus disks that was only released in Europe. Kudos to Peter Gabriel and Rhino for that box. If only all reissues were like that.
Sometimes I wonder whether it's worth buying an upgrade to music I already have. I figure I'm not alone. The Smiths Complete box is probably worth it if you can find it at a good price. If you don't own all the albums already, more incentive. Great band, great music, and the sound is generally a significant upgrade here.