Music

The 21 Best Album Re-Issues of 2017

In 2017, the music world saw amazing reissues from all over the genre map, spanning rock titans to indie upstarts and jazz to soul.


15. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (Rhino/Warner Bros.)

If there is to be a pinnacle in the fleeting sunburst that was the Smiths' brief career, The Queen Is Dead is often identified as it. To be sure, the Oscar Wilde-worshipping lyricist/vocalist, Morrissey, and the Keith Richards-worshipping guitarist, Johnny Marr, never came more consistently closer to the lofty ideals set by their idols. Morrissey's merciless wit was balanced with levity and a gentleness of spirit, and Marr's guitar alchemy was enhanced by digital samples and layers of studio overdubs. The energy of punk and the sparkle of glam were tangible, but so were the grace of folk and the limberness of soul. The rhythm section closed the deal on all of it. The Queen of Dead embodied the experience of disaffected youth every bit as much as Never Mind the Bollocks… had a decade before. This new edition only reconfirmed that fact. The included live set, meanwhile, was a timely reminder that on stage the band's raw power was formidable. - John Bergstrom



14. The Replacements - For Sale: Live at Maxwell's 1986 (Rhino/Warner Bros.)

The Mats had a reputation for wild live shows. This 29-cut double CD documents why. The band was at the point where they were leaving the confines of an indie label and a cult following to reach for major label commercial success. In fact this recording was made by the new label on state of the art equipment, presumably for use as a future release. But it never was issued, although the show has been widely bootlegged. The band rocks hard, playing everything from breezy pop like Vanity Fare's "Hitchin' a Ride" and the Beatles' "Nowhere Man" to their own early self-penned punk rock raves such as "Otto" and Taking a Ride" to soon to be classic gems from their forthcoming Tim including "Bastards of Young" and "Kiss Me on the Bus", as if each song was a house on fire. Much of this was due to Bob Stinson's scorching guitar, who was soon to exit the band because of his substance abuse. - Steve Horowitz



13. Judas Priest - Turbo 30 (Remastered 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Sony)

A commercial success upon its 1986, Judas Priest's tenth album Turbo was nevertheless a divisive one among hardcore metal fans who took issue with the band's focus on mainstream-friendly songwriting and production, as well as reliance on the Roland GR-20 guitar synthesizer. More than three decades later Turbo has aged surprisingly well, its exuberant party rock offset by some daring songwriting choices, namely on the two standouts "Turbo Lover" and "Out in the Cold". What makes this reissue particularly strong is the inclusion of a complete live performance from the summer of 1986. Contrary to the sleek, overproduced double live album Priest…Live! released in 1987, this show is raw, energetic, and powerful, a snapshot of the heavy metal legends at their most uncompromising. - Adrien Begrand


12. Nick Lowe - Reissues, 1982-1990 (Yep Roc)

Although he's now enjoying the deservedly acclaimed "60-something crooner" stage of his career, Nick Lowe has always been respected as a power-pop singer/songwriter (not to mention lyrical genius) of the highest order. What better way to prove this than with simultaneous reissues of six of his albums from 1982 to 1990 that have been out of print for years. Not only is this a goldmine for longtime Lowe fans, it's also a terrific introduction for newbies unaware of Lowe's talents as a singer/songwriter. From the McCartney-esque pop/funk of "Let Me Kiss Ya" (from Nick the Knife) to the shimmering soul of "Time Wounds All Heels" (from The Abominable Showman) to the hilarious, confessional twang of "All Men Are Liars" (from Party of One), 80 tracks spread across eight years would be enough artistic high points to define an entire career. Fortunately, he's still at it. - Chris Ingalls



11. Metallica - Master of Puppets (Deluxe Edition) (Blackened Recordings)

Universally regarded as one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time, Metallica's third full-length Master of Puppets has gained such stature among fans that its deification is something the band has had to come to terms with. As frustrating s it may be for any artist to live under the shadow of work they created in their early-20s, the members of Metallica grew up as heavy metal fans themselves, and they knew that an expanded reissue of Puppets would have to be done with great care and attention to detail. And to the band's great credit, no stone was left unturned on this glorious, 15-volume set that examines the band's evolution from 1985 to 1987: riff tapes, rehearsal footage, rough mixes, live recordings, the final performance by the late, great bassist Cliff Burton, audition tapes featuring replacement bassist Jason Newsted, and of course, a beautifully remastered version of the classic album. It is a veritable treasure trove, arguably the finest expanded reissue heavy metal has seen thus far. - Adrien Begrand

Prev Page
Next Page
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Reviews

Country Music's John Anderson Counts the 'Years'

John Anderson, who continues to possess one of country music's all-time great voices, contemplates life, love, mortality, and resilience on Years.

Music

Rory Block's 'Prove It on Me' Pays Tribute to Women's Blues

The songs on Rory Block's Prove It on Me express the strength of female artists despite their circumstances as second class citizens in both the musical world and larger American society.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 3, Echo & the Bunnymen to Lizzy Mercier Descloux

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part three with Echo & the Bunnymen, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere Ubu and more.

Books

Wendy Carlos: Musical Pioneer, Reluctant Icon

Amanda Sewell's vastly informative new biography on musical trailblazer Wendy Carlos is both reverent and honest.

Music

British Folk Duo Orpine Share Blissful New Song "Two Rivers" (premiere)

Orpine's "Two Rivers" is a gently undulating, understated folk song that provides a welcome reminder of the enduring majesty of nature.

Music

Blesson Roy Gets "In Tune With the Moon" (premiere)

Terry Borden was a member of slowcore pioneers Idaho and a member of Pete Yorn's band. Now he readies the debut of Blesson Roy and shares "In Tune With the Moon".

Books

In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.

Music

Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.

Film

Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.

Music

Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.

Music

Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.

Music

'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.

Music

Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.

Music

Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.

Music

Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".

Games

On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.

Music

Alison Chesley Toils in Human and Musical Connectivity on Helen Money's 'Atomic'

Chicago-based cellist, Alison Chesley (a.k.a. Helen Money) creates an utterly riveting listen from beginning to end on Atomic.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.