Say what you will about Friday the 13th. Call it exploitative, sexist trash. Decry it for being amateurish with shoddy acting and lousy writing, direction and cinematography. Dismiss it as a lame Halloween knock-off, an unoriginal rip-off of a superior film with nothing but a mean streak and some fairly impressive special effects going for it. Say pretty much anything negative you want about it, it’s probably true.
But don’t knock the score.
Super Deluxe editions just seem to be getting bigger and bigger, and as the well begins to run dry on the “classic” albums of yesteryear that have yet to get a big-name re-release, labels are beginning to approve lesser-known, but equally deserving, re-issues of albums in their vaults.
Take for instance two recent deluxe editions to hit store shelves: a six-disc box set of the Smashing Pumpkins’ much-maligned but critically-lauded 1998 album Adore, and a special CD/Blu-ray re-release of XTC’s 1979 album Drums And Wires, an unjustly forgotten classic of British new wave.
Both are actually the latest releases in a pair of re-issue campaigns for both bands’ back catalogs, and while both should be lauded for their near-obsessive level inclusion of countless bonus cuts and additional tracks, both also make tragic mistakes that make recommending them a dodgy proposition, especially in the case of Adore.
But lets start by looking at the XTC release, as it’s so massive in scope that I almost wanted to make a pie chart or bar graph to help document everything included on it.
A few years ago I read an issue of Spin that had a retrospective on grunge rock. Part of that retrospective was dedicated to “scrunge” or “fake grunge” that blew up in popularity immediately following the mainstream embrace of Nirvana and Pearl Jam in 1991. Most scrunge acts were reviled by critics, but many of them went on to become phenomenally huge, albeit for a very brief period of time.
Looking back, the era of scrunge was incredibly short-lived. I would say it started not soon after grunge itself, probably in 1992 with STP’s debut album, peaked in popularity just two years later in 1994 with Bush’s Sixteen Stone, and then vanished without a trace by 1997, being replaced by post-grunge and fellow flash-the-pan genres nu-metal and rap-rock.
So five years in total, and while that’s not much, as someone who was a teenager at the time, I really can’t overstate just how big this kind of music was. Soul Asylum, Candlebox, The Toadies and their ilk, they may have been shooting stars, but sure shined bright while they were here. So in that regard, I’m disappointed to see just how much they’ve been forgotten in the years since.
At the same time, I’ve been wondering if my somewhat positive views of these bands is nothing more than the rose-colored tinge of teenage nostalgia. Because, while these bands played a crucial role in my development as a music-obsessed geek, to be honest I’ve rarely re-visited most of them in the years since their prime. So maybe their continued snubbery in the annals of rock history is justified? Continue reading