Flowers In The Dirt [3 CD/DVD][Deluxe Edition] Box set
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One of the most critically acclaimed albums of the eighties, nominated for both BRIT and Grammy Awards, Flowers In The Dirt saw Paul McCartney team up with Elvis Costello to cowrite a third of the album ('My Brave Face', 'You Want Her Too', Don't Be Careless Love' and That Day is Done) as well as boasting production credits from producers such as Mitchell Froom, Trevor Horn, David Foster, Steve Lipson, Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney
himself. Pink Floyd guitar legend David Gilmour makes an appearance on 'We Got Married' and George Martin s string arrangement on Put It There is amongst the many album highlights. 18 bonus audio tracks across 2 discs, featuring previously unreleased demos with Elvis Costello. Original B-sides, remixes and single edits, plus 3 previously unreleased tracks from a cassette demo (download only). Remastered at Abbey Road Studios. DVD featuring all of the music videos from the album, the 'Put It There'documentary and 3 new edits of unseen archive material. Also includes a 112 page essay book, 32 page notebook of Paul s handwritten lyrics and notes, 64 page photobook featuring the music videos for 'This One', 32 page Linda McCartney exhibition catalogue. Plus downloadable high-resolution audio (Disc 1, 2, and 3).
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Top Customer Reviews
The accompanying books are nicely done, an enjoyable read as the main book goes and including the welcome nod to several Club Sandwich articles from the time period - but as always, a lot of white space, leaving one to wonder if they were interested in cost savings, if they mightn't have re-formatted it a little. I love the album cover artwork, but could have easily done without an entire book of plates of variations on the same theme.
I'm knocking this two stars because of the decision to make the b-sides to the singles and various unreleased tracks available only as a download. The excuse given by the producers of the set is that people want music digitally now, and that Paul is all about keeping current. This, as excuses go, is idiotic. This set is not going to be purchased by an overwhelming number of millennials addicted to music downloads, it is an "archive" collection of an album honestly only the faithful fanbase really ever took to in the first place. I also dispute the odd notion that the millennial generation never buy CDs anymore. If so, why not have all the discs be digital downloads?
Worse yet, the downloading mechanism has meant I've spent two hours downloading these tracks, and not in any convenient manner, either. If I'm spending over $100 on a release, I shouldn't be buying frustration along with it.
The instructions for downloading:
"Directions for digital download:
A) Please enter the unique code on your card in the 'enter code here' box and click 'Submit'
B) Please select the download button icon next to each item. Hi-Res download from Deluxe Edition: Due to the size of the music files all tracks should be downloaded individually. Attempting to download more than one file at a time could cause your download to fail
C) Once downloaded, save your files to the location on your computer where you keep your music and enjoy!
PLEASE NOTE: Music download will only work on a desktop / laptop computer."
What this has meant in practice is I'm faced with clicking each link for each track to download, and have had to sit here manually downloading each one in turn. This isn't just a two-hour download, it's a two-hour process of me being forced to sit here downloading link, by link, by link.
This is ridiculous. In addition, the webpage for the download keeps blanking out the download list, so I have to reload and re-enter the download code after every couple of downloads. So, one star lost for the download-only option for the b-sides, and one-star for wasting my time and giving an insulting excuse as the reason for me to have to go through this. The b-sides to the singles were the extended part of the original release. They belong in an "Archive Edition" of the album. The demos are welcome, but aren't integral to the release, so if anything was going to be a digital download - it should have been the demos.
I cannot overstate how offensive the offered excuse was, either - marketing doublespeak with no logical relation to reality. It reminds me of the brouhaha over the "McCartney Years" promo video set; When people complained about the cropping of the videos cutting out performance aspects, the response was that it wasn't an archive and needed to be "future-proofed" because people only want widescreen video even if they're losing image in the process, ignoring the stated desires of their paying customers in deference to the hypothetical wishes of a customer base they were never going to have.
So, enjoy the music, enjoy the books, and hunt down the b-sides since many are gems that are stronger than many of the album tracks ("The Loveliest Thing", and the one song that would have made a great single, "Back On My Feet"... insane to have left it off, both the original album and physically in this set.)
However, what makes this set a five-star for me is the bonus audio included in the deluxe set. The '87 and '88 demos cut by McCartney and Costello are revelatory! This is the first purchase of a deluxe McCartney reissue where I'm spending far more time immersing myself in the bonus audio than the main album. Highlights include (but are not limited to) the beautiful two-part harmonies of "Tommy's Coming Home," and Paul's lead vocals on two songs previously recorded by Elvis ("So Like Candy," "Playboy To A Man"). In several cases, the demos are superior to the versions that ended up officially released. THIS set is a window into a classic album that could have been. Oh well, better late than never!
The packaging is nicely designed, on a scale with the reissues of Ram and Wings Over America. The bonus DVD is especially notable for previously unseen home movie footage of Paul and Elvis in the studio. The complaint by others about the "download only" tracks is a tempest in a teapot. The tracks (mostly B-sides and alternate mixes) are delivered in 16-Bit WAV (CD quality) format. It only took me five minutes to burn them to a CD and put them in the box. No crisis.
If you can afford it, a great addition to the Archive Collection!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
They say because people download but want to sell us a physical copy .Read more
Download the B-sides? They have the nerve to give us 2 sets of the same Elvis Costello demos...Read more