U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years 1962-1965 is an aesthetically ambitious new box set that reissues the Beach Boys’ first singles as 16 CD replicas of the original 45s. It collects both the mono and stereo versions of most of the songs, along with a handful of previously unreleased mixes and outtakes and one live track (“409”, from 1965). The box set is a beautiful thing, no doubt—the discs come in cardboard sleeves with original artwork and are accompanied by a hardcover book of great photos, all housed in a “surfboard-inspired” carton with wood veneer inlay—but it is, admittedly, a fetish object for the collector. (It’s worth noting that all of the music spread out over these 16 discs could, in fact, fit onto two discs—but then, the music is not the sole reason for one to own this set.) So it’s a fetish object, yes, but one that has a lot to say about just how innovative the band was prepared to be as it came out of the gate protected in its surf and hot-rod metaphors. [$132.98]
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