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

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