Erasure: ‘From Moscow To Mars’


Erasure: From Moscow To Mars

Erasure commemorates three decades (and counting) of creating music with From Moscow To Mars, an impressive 13-disc anthology. This musical retrospective smartly compiles deep cuts from Vince Clarke and Andy Bell’s 16 studio albums along with the dynamic duo of electro-pop’s 50 singles. This phantasmagoric assemblage is bursting with more than enough treats to keep us occupied as we eagerly await World Be Gone, the new studio album and accompanying tour, currently in various stages of production and planning.

This incredible limited-edition box set of remastered melodic remembrances features all 50 of Erasure’s hits in their original single versions, a smorgasbord of B-sides, new remixes by Vince Clarke, Martyn Ware and Little Boots, as well as previously unreleased tracks, including Andy Bell’s 1985 audition version of “Who Needs Love Like That.” From Moscow To Mars particularly enhances earlier works, especially best known hit “A Little Respect,” as well as the long out-of-print singles B-sides “Paradise” and William Orbit’s remix of “Supernature,” all of which have been crisply remastered instead of getting buried beneath layers of brick walled sound quality.

The anthologized musical compendium also includes two discs of personally curated favorites hand-picked by Vince Clarke and Andy Bell, numerous live tracks, the radio broadcast documentary “A Little Respect: 30 Years of Erasure,” a 48-page hardback book with previously unpublished photos, brand new liner notes and interview with Vince and Andy, set of postcards, a stamp set, space passport, plus two collectible art cards. From Moscow To Mars also exclusively features the DVD debut of Wild! Live, which includes the complete 1989 concert recorded live in London during the duo’s renowned Wild! Tour.

From Moscow To Mars is not only the most comprehensive collection thus far, but also the ultimate time capsule of Erasure’s highly prolific 30-year career.

From Moscow To Mars complete track listing: 

Disc 1: CD – SINGLES (Volume One) 

Who Needs Love Like That / Heavenly Action / Oh L’Amour / Sometimes / It Doesn’t Have To Be / Victim Of Love / The Circus / Ship Of Fools / Chains Of Love / A Little Respect / Stop! / Drama! / You Surround Me / Blue Savannah / Star / Chorus

Disc 2: CD – SINGLES (Volume Two) 

Love To Hate You / Am I Right? / Breathe Of Life / Take A Chance On Me / Always / Run To The Sun / I Love Saturday / Stay With Me / Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer’s Day) / Rock Me Gently / In My Arms / Don’t Say Your Love Is Killing Me / Rain / Freedom / Moon & The Sky / Solsbury Hill / Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me)

Disc 3: CD – SINGLES (Volume Three) 

Breathe / Don’t Say You Love Me / Here I Go Impossible Again / All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love / Boy (Acoustic) / I Could Fall In Love With You / Sunday Girl / Storm In A Teacup / Sucker For Love / When I Start To (Break It All Down) / Be With You / Fill Us With Fire / Gaudete / Make It Wonderful / Elevation / Reason / Sacred


Fill Us With Fire / Save Me Darling / Fly Away / Here I Go Impossible Again / Witch In The Ditch / Miracle / Siren Song / Mad As We Are / Boy (Acoustic) / Joan / I Bet You’re Mad At Me / Golden Heart / A Long Goodbye / What Will I Say When You’re Gone / Brother & Sister / Whole Lotta Love Run Riot


Sono Luminus / Because You’re So Sweet / Love Affair / Home / Alien / Precious / Don’t Dance / How My Eyes Adore You / Boy / Blues Away / Spiralling (Acoustic) / Piano Song / Tenderest Moments (Acoustic) / Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime / Cry So Easy / You’ve Got to Save Me Right Now / Weight Of The World

Disc 6: CD – B-SIDES (Volume One) 

Supernature / The Hardest Part / When I Needed You / She Won’t Be Home / Knocking On Your Door / Don’t Suppose / Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! / Over The Rainbow / Waiting For Sex / Tenderest Moments / March On Down The Line / Dreamlike State / The Soldier’s Return / Heart Of Glass (Live In Oxford) / Let It Flow / Runaround On The Underground / Rapture / Paradise

Disc 7: CD – B-SIDES (Volume Two) 

La La La / Truly, Madly, Deeply / Like Zsa Zsa Zsa Gabor / Sweet Sweet Baby / True Love Wars / Ghost / Hi NRG / The Good The Bad And The Ugly / In The Name Of The Heart / Die 4 Love / Tragic / First Contact / Love Is Colder Than Death / Don’t Say No / In The Hall of The Mountain King / No G.D.M / Take Me On A Highway / Tomorrow’s World

Disc 8: CD – REMIXES (Volume One) 

A Little Respect – Extended Mix / Waiting for The Day – Vince Clarke Remix / Supernature – William Orbit Remix / Blue Savannah – Little Boots Remix / S.O.S – Perimeter Mix / Love To Hate You – Bruce Forest Remix / Snappy (The Spice has Risen Mix) / Ship Of Fools – Gjone & Nicka Stella Polaris Remix / The Circus – The Equalateral Mix / Elevation – Jack Antonoff Remix / Stay With Me – Guitar Mix

Disc 9: CD – REMIXES (Volume Two) 

Stop! – 12″ Remix / I Could Fall In Love With You – Jeremy Wheatley 12″ Mix / Always – Always in Motion / Blue Savannah – Out Of The Blue Remix / Oh L’Amour – Almighty Remix / Chorus – Aggressive Trance Mix / Heavenly Action – Matt Pop’s Planet Cupid Mix / Breath Of Life – Joey Beltram Mix / You Surround Me (Syrinx Mix) / If I Could – Japanese Mix / Rock Me Gently – A Combination of Special Events

Disc 10: CD – LIVE 

Victim Of Love – The Circus Tour 1987 / Knocking On Your Door – The Erasure Show 2005 / A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot – Tomorrow’s World Tour 2011 / Joan – The Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour 1992 / Witch In The Ditch – The Innocents Tour 1988 / I Bet You’re Mad At Me – The Erasure Show 2005 / Home – The Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour 1992 / Spiralling – The Innocents Tour 1988 / Sunday Girl – Light At The End Of The World Tour 2007 / Don’t Say Your Love Is Killing Me – An Evening With Erasure 1997 / Breathe – The Erasure Show 2005 / Sometimes – The Innocents Tour 1988 / Tenderest Moments – The Acoustic Tour 2006 / Ave Maria – The Erasure Show 2005 / The Soldiers Return – The Phantasmagorical Entertainment Tour 1992 / I Could Fall In Love With You – Light At The End Of The World Tour 2007 / A Little Respect – The Innocents 1988

Disc 11: CD – RARITIES 

Who Needs Love Like That (Audition Version) / Blue (Searching) / Piano (Tomorrow’s World Demo) / Waiting For The Day (Demo) / Siempre – (Always – Spanish Version) / 2000 Miles – (Monteverde 7″ Mix) / Chanson (Moon & The Sky French Demo) / Am I Right? (Guitar Demo) / Worlds On Fire (Demo) / Run To The Sun (Demo) / Breath Of Life (Piano Demo) / Alien (Demo) / Whole Lotta Love Run Riot (Demo) / Moon & The Sky – (The Beatmasters Remix) / Untitled (Loveboat Demo) / Amo Odiarti (Love To Hate You – Italian Disco Anthem Mix) / UK Vibe 3 (Tomorrow’s World Demo) / Symphony / Reason (Sirius XM Radio Session)


A Little Respect: 30 Years of Erasure (Radio Documentary)


Piano Song / How Many Times? / You Surround Me / Knocking On Your Door / Brother And Sister / Crown Of Thorns / Star / Chains Of Love / Hideaway / Supernature / Sometimes / The Hardest Part / Oh L’Amour / Drama! / A Little Respect / Spiralling / La Gloria / Ship Of Fools / It Doesn’t Have To Be / Blue Savannah / Who Needs Love Like That / Stop! / Victim Of Love + Backstage Footage

Dead or Alive: ‘Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI’


Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI

Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI is Dead or Alive’s long awaited career-spanning box set. Housed in a colorful LP-sized casebound presentation, Boom Box compiles the band’s complete internationally renowned catalog of albums, all of which have been expanded and/or remastered for the very first time. Already scheduled for release prior to his disconcerting and unforeseen passing, this expansive retrospective was approved and curated by Burns himself, along with longtime band member Steve Coy.

Pete Burns burst onto the music scene during the mid-Eighties like a blazing shooting star with his goth-like drag and growling baritone as frontman of Dead or Alive. The band quickly reached the top of the charts with its irresistible synth-drenched Hi-NRG dance beats and hook-laden hits, most notably the Stock Aitken Waterman productions “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” and “Brand New Lover.” Burns’ eyebrow-raising style, spicy double entendres and pulsating electronica proved to be an alluring combination resulting in unexpected popularity, predominantly in North America and Japan.

Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI contains all of Burns and company’s studio albums and remix compilations, packed with more than 255 tracks spread across 17 audio discs. Highlighting numerous remixes and single edits, the 19-disc collection also includes two DVDs comprised of rare television performances, promotional music videos, plus the DVD debut of the Rip It Up Live in Japan concert. The box set also features previously unreleased tracks including the much sought-after “Something in My House (Naughty XXX Mix),” plus an intimate 4,000-word, career-chronicling essay written by Pete Burns.

Though all too easily overlooked during the holiday shuffle and initially plagued with production errors (all of which have now been corrected), this meticulously designed and extensive collection is alas the perfect celebratory tribute to the brilliantly unconventional Pete Burns. Be sure to grab a copy while you can, as this is all but guaranteed to become a hard to find collector’s item.

 Sophisticated Boom Box MMXVI contains all of the following: 

Sophisticated Boom Boom (2 CDs)

Youthquake (3 CDs)

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know (2 CDs)

Rip It Up (2 CDs)

Nude (including Nude: Remade Remodeled (2 CDs)

Fan the Flame, Part 1 (1 CD)

Nukleopatra (2 CDs)

Fragile (including Unbreakable: The Fragile Remixes (3 CDs)

DVD 1: Promotional Music Videos

DVD 2: Rip It Up Live in Japan concert and various UK TV appearances.



Rob Thomas: ‘The Great Unknown’

Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas: The Great Unknown

After waiting patiently for Rob Thomas to redeem himself following two lackluster efforts in a row (the easily forgettable North with Matchbox Twenty as well as his less than stellar second solo collection Cradlesong), alas he returns with The Great Unknown. Unfortunately, this is not Thomas’ musical apex we’ve been anticipating. Instead, what we get on his third solo outing is further proof the once “Smooth” hit maker seems to be all too comfortable toiling away within the fertile field of mediocrity.

Upon first listen, it’s easy to zone out while becoming bogged down in state-of-the-moment production tricks (once again Matt Serletic mans the board on most of the tracks) and lyrical clichés. Perhaps collaborating with the likes of hits-by-numbers tunesmith Ryan Tedder wasn’t exactly the best of ideas? However, if you’re willing to look past these palpable annoyances and mire through the fluff, there are some brilliant moments to be found. For instance,  on the mellifluous title track, Thomas confesses “People are talking, what you can’t unknow/That what you wanted wasn’t real at all.” This is one of the set’s few occasions that remind us what the Grammy-winning songwriter is capable of when he digs down deep and manages to resist his twitterpated instincts to ride current radio trends.

Other engaging highlights are the upbeat “Heaven Help Me” (“A shot of whiskey and we’re young again”), as well as the lachrymose closer “Pieces,” the latter of which includes the prophetic sentiment “Didn’t I tell you, you were gonna break down/Didn’t I warn you, you better take it easy/Try to find a way out/Better start believing in yourself.” These all-too-brief flashes of ardor justify holding out hope that Thomas may someday deliver a solo effort worthy of his still promising, but unfulfilled potential.

The Great Affairs: ‘Dream in Stereo’


The Great Affairs: Dream in Stereo 

After teasing us with 2013’s 7-track EP, Nashville’s The Great Affairs finally return with their latest full-length set, Dream in Stereo. Denny Smith and company deliver yet another top-shelf collection of kick-ass material which begs to be featured within any play list that includes Kings of Leon, Counting Crows, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and their ilk. Thought provoking lyrics coupled with Smith’s raspy voice invite you inside the album as it often harkens back to the kind of grit and raw emotion of Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story.

Manning the board alongside Grammy-nominated engineer Michael Saint-Leon seems to have been the right decision as TGA sound more confident and proficient than ever on each of the record’s dazzling 13 tracks. Dream in Stereo must not be overlooked by fans of no frills, balls out rock ‘n’ roll, especially since it’s getting harder and harder to find in these seemingly endless days of over produced, soulless, drivel.

Not to be missed highlights (among many) include: “Miss America, “Eyes in Every Room,” and a first-rate cover of Dave Mason and Jim Krueger’s classic “We Just Disagree.”


Ronnie Milsap: ‘The RCA Albums Collection’

Milsap box

Six-time Grammy Award winner Ronnie Milsap is one of country music’s most revered and illustrious recording artists. Selling over 35 million records with a hit-packed discography that includes 40 number one singles, and an ongoing legacy that dates as far back as 1971, Milsap has irrefutably left a perpetual mark that will unlikely be erased anytime soon. Alongside his recent induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Milsap and his long-spanning career is finally procuring the recognition he deserves with the release of the 21-disc box set, The RCA Albums Collection.

This comprehensive box set includes all 21 of Milsap’s RCA studio albums, many of which have been long out of print and are making their debut on disc for the very first time. Each disc is housed within its own sleeve, which faithfully replicates the artwork of the original vinyl LPs. The set also includes a 51-page booklet featuring individual album notes by Milsap himself. The RCA Albums Collection perfectly encapsulates Milsap’s unique ability to seamlessly combine country, R&B, rock, and pop. Every album in this essential collection has been newly remastered, resulting in the ultimate and long overdue listening experience for Milsap aficionados.

The box set includes:

Where My Heart Is – Making its first appearance on CD, Milsap’s top-five 1973 RCA debut album features the hit singles “(All Together Now) Let’s Fall Apart,” “I Hate You” and “That Girl Who Waits on Tables.”

Pure Love – Includes the classic title track (written by the late Eddie Rabbitt) and Milsap’s incomparable version of Kris Kristofferson’s “Please don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends.”

A Legend In My Time – Features “Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry” and the Don Gibson penned “(I’d Be) a Legend in My Time.”

Night Things – Includes the number one hit “Daydreams About Night Things,” live fan favorite “(After Sweet Memories) Play Born to Lose Again,” and a cover of Conway Twitty’s “Linda On My Mind.”

20/20 Vision – Contains number one singles “What Goes On When the Sun Goes Down” and “(I’m A) Stand by My Woman Man.”

Ronnie Milsap Live – Milsap’s first live album from 1976 includes the number one hit single “Let My Love Be Your Pillow,” hidden gem “Busy Makin’ Plans,” an electrifying cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women,” and the shoulda-coulda-woulda been hit “I Can Almost See Houston from Here.”

It Was Almost Like A Song – Milsap’s pop breakthrough album includes the number one crossover smash title track and “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life.”

Only One Love In My Life – Features Milsap classics “Back on My Mind Again,” “Let’s Take the Long Way Around the World,” as well as the number one title track.

Images – Milsap’s genre-defying album from 1979 includes the number one single “Nobody Likes Sad Songs,” the hit “In No Time at All,” and the disco-styled “Get It Up” and “Hi-Heel Sneakers.”

Milsap Magic – Includes the hits “Why Don’t You Spend the Night,”  “My Heart,” and the double-sided singles “Silent Night (After the Fight)” and “Misery Loves Company.”

Out Where the Bright Lights Are Glowing – Milsap’s evocative tribute album to Jim Reeves includes the number one hit “Am I Losing You,” alongside Milsap-styled re-workings of “I’m Beginning to Forget You,” “I’m Gettin’ Better,” and “I Guess I’m Crazy (For Loving You).”

There’s No Getting’ Over Me – This album reached number one on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart in 1981. Features the crossover mega-smash title track and the number one “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World.”

Inside – Features Milsap’s hit cover version of the Burt Bacharach penned “Any Day Now,” alongside the hit title track and “He Got You”.

Keyed Up – Milsap’s fifteenth studio album includes top 5 lead-off single “Stranger in My House”, plus his number one hits “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You” and “Show Her.”

One More Try for Love – Milsap’s pop-infused 1984 album contains the number one single “Still Losing You,” as well as the hits Prisoner of the Highway, and “She Loves My Car.”

Lost In the Fifties Tonight – This number one country album from 1986 contains four number one singles, including the smash title track, “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby,” “In Love,” and “How Do I Turn You On.”

Christmas with Ronnie Milsap – Milsap’s only holiday album features Christmas classics mixed with Milsap-style originals “Only One Night of the Year” and “It’s Just Not Christmas (If I Can’t Spend it with You).”

Heart & Soul – This hit-packed, diverse classic includes Milsap’s hit singles “Snap Your Fingers,” the Kim Carnes penned duet with Kenny Rogers “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine,” “Where Do the Nights Go,” “Old Folks” (with Mike Reid), and “Button Off My Shirt.”

Stranger Things Have Happened – Milsap’s return to traditional country roots includes the hits “Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me),” “A Woman in Love,” “Houston Solution,” as well as the hit title track.

Back to the Grindstone – Milsap’s twentieth studio album contains the hit singles “Are You Lovin’ Me Like I’m Lovin’ You,” “Turn That Radio On,” “All Is Fair in Love and War,” and his hit cover version of “Since I Don’t Have You.”

My Life – Milsap’s twenty-fourth and final RCA album from 2006 features 11 tracks, including the singles “Local Girls” and “You Don’t Know My Love.”

5SOS: ‘5 Seconds of Summer’

5 Seconds of Summer

“Hey, hey simmer down/They say we’re too young to amount to anything else/But look around we work too damn hard for this just to give it up now” declare 5 Seconds of Summer, the latest power pop band to crash onto U.S. airwaves with the breakout hit “She Looks So Perfect.” It may sound a bit daring as a mantra for a new band with members ranging in age from 18-20, but seems aptly worded judging from the young band’s recent accomplishments.

Hailing all the way from Australia, the 4-piece band has been making its presence known in a big way as its self-titled full-length debuted atop the Billboard 200 album chart, after managing to sell over 259k copies upon its first week of release. While proclaiming heavy influences from Blink-182 to Nirvana, 5SOS’ debut album sounds eerily like someone emulsified albums by Green Day, Sum 41, and BBMak in a blender and poured out an irresistibly catchy alt-rock, pop-punk smoothie.

While many may be quick to cast them aside as just another boy band, 5 Seconds of Summer successfully differentiate themselves from the pack by writing their own songs, playing their own instruments, and sharing lead vocal duties. Upon first listen, there’s no denying the band members have obviously paid attention to their musical heroes and learned how to write seductive hooks syncopated with audacious power chords. The bulk of the Aussie band’s debut was produced by writer/producer Steve Robson (known for his work with everyone from Busted to James Blunt) alongside Goldfinger lead singer John Feldman. Ultimately, you won’t find anything here that hasn’t been tried before, but it’s awfully refreshing to hear guitar-driven pop/rock again amongst the heavy beats currently dominating Top 40 radio.

Armed with hit singles “Don’t Stop” and the current “Amnesia,” the boys from down under have been busy pressing the flesh since invading American shores. During their current U.S. press junket, the band mates successfully managed to juggle their duties as opening act for One Direction’s Where We Are World Tour, while simultaneously selling out Los Angeles’ famed arena, The Forum, in just 45 minutes. However, stateside 5ers will have to wait until next summer before 5SOS launches its own Rock out with Your Socks out North American headlining tour, which is set to kick off on July 17, 2015 in Las Vegas.

Dolly Parton: ‘Blue Smoke’

Blue Smoke [+digital booklet]

Dolly Parton: Blue Smoke

With an extensive discography that spans six decades, Dolly Parton at age 68 could have easily rested upon her laurels, but instead she chose to deliver her most beguiling work in years with her 42nd studio album, Blue Smoke. While her skills as a musician and multi-instrumentalist may often get overlooked, Parton’s acumen as a Grammy-winning songwriter is firmly intact and amply displayed throughout Blue Smoke’s 12 exquisite tracks.

On her latest set, Parton not only dares to take on Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands on Me,” making it her own by transforming it into a gospel-tinged anthem, but delivers an infectious version of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice,” and teams up with friends Kenny Rogers (“You Can’t Make Old Friends”) and Willie Nelson (“From Here to the Moon and Back”) with extraordinary results. Parton even manages to successfully pull off the tongue in cheek “Lover du Jour,” which would be utterly laughable performed by anyone else. Also featured is Parton’s heartwarming ditty and latest single “Home” (“Where the warm wind’s blowing and the river’s flowing/Where I can lay down my heavy load and know that I am always welcome”), which is akin to her 1984 hit “Tennessee Homesick Blues,” and easily feels apt cozying up alongside the rest of Parton’s best work.

With its inclusion of all of Parton’s musical trademarks, from the bluegrass timbre of the opening title track to the uplifting closer “Try,” Blue Smoke easily hits its mark of making us look within ourselves while laughing through our tears. Dolly Parton’s timeless voice and prolific contribution to music will continue to speak volumes long after she’s finished sharing her talents.

© 2014 ForASong Media, LLC

David Nail: ‘I’m a Fire’

David Nail: I’m a Fire

After a three year wait since his last full-length effort, David Nail returns to country music exuding confidence and growth as a songwriter and vocalist on his third MCA Nashville release, I’m a Fire.

Armed with the number one lead single “Whatever She’s Got,” the Missouri native and “Let It Rain” singer’s latest project is loaded with knockout tracks including the smoldering “Burnin’ Bed,” the picturesque “When They’re Gone (Lyle County)” with Little Big Town, and the fervent follow-up single “Kiss You Tonight,” co-penned by American Idol rocker David Cook.

I’m a Fire’s only pitfalls are its overly excessive use of female harmony vocals (at times making Nail seem like a featured duet partner on his own album), and the turgid cover of Glen Campbell’s peerless Jimmy Webb classic “Galveston” featuring Lee Ann Womack. With the latter tacked onto the end, it not only diminishes the impact of the set’s title track (which should’ve served as the album’s closer), but ultimately comes off sounding like a superfluous afterthought.

U.S. Albums Box Set Celebrates 50 Years of Beatlemania

Beatles box

The Beatles: The U.S. Albums

Although I wasn’t born when the Beatles first arrived in America, that didn’t stop me from liberating their albums from my eldest sister and memorizing every word, harmony and riff until I could hear them in my sleep, and repeatedly dream of the Capitol Records’ label with its dome logo and colorband ring spinning in my head. However, I’ll shamefacedly admit that during my early adulthood I thought I’d outgrown the mop topped Fab Four and briefly pushed them aside as I sought to forge my own musical identity, but an eager audiophile soon set me back onto the right track. Now, with the release of the Beatles’ 13-disc box set The U.S. Albums, I too finally have the opportunity to turn back time and experience a taste of Beatlemania for myself. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America and first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, this box set includes all of the original artwork from the Capitol Records’ releases, and a 64-page illustrated booklet with an in depth essay written by American television executive and author Bill Flanagan. Warning: this box set is NOT for Beatles purists, but instead intended solely for fans who want to recreate their youthful American listening experience of the Beatles in digital form.

If like me, you lived in the U.S. during your formative years, these are the track sequences and album covers you know (and worship) for better or worse, which differ greatly from the versions first released on CD in 1987, and again with the release of the Beatles’ remastered catalog in 2009. While many can (and undoubtedly will) endlessly argue the U.S. versions’ echt value, the point here isn’t to determine which versions are superior, but instead to transport you back into the youthful euphoria of hearing the Beatles’ albums for the first time in America. Whether revered or despised likely depends upon your own introduction into the Beatles’ musical canon, but these Americanized versions, with their synthesis of Capitol’s stereo and mono versions and George Martin’s remastering, are historic nonetheless. The set includes the best of both worlds; Capitol’s unique variations of several mixes interspersed with the 2009 remastered tracks, ensuring the ultimate retro Beatles experience.

This set also marks the first time many of these albums have been made available in the U.K. (which could mean quite a revelation to young Beatles’ fans across the pond), as well as the first time The Beatles’ Story (available exclusively in this box set), Hey Jude, Yesterday and Today, A Hard Day’s Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), and the U.S. version of Revolver have been available on compact disc. The original artwork of these releases has been painstakingly reproduced, complete with a sticker replica of the alternate Yesterday and Today cover, which was originally issued after the “butcher” cover was recalled in 1966.

The U.S. albums (notorious for their equalized echo chamber sound, or duophonic simulated stereo, and arbitrarily sequenced track lists) reportedly annoyed the band members, which is believed to be the inspiration behind the infamous “Butcher’s Block” cover (featuring the band holding disjointed baby dolls and raw meat while sporting white lab coats) for the U.S. only release Yesterday and Today.

The Capitol/Universal 2014 box set includes:

Meet the Beatles!, The Beatles’ Second Album, A Hard Day’s Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Something New, Beatles ’65, The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Rubber Soul, Yesterday and Today, Revolver, Hey Jude, and The Beatles’ Story.

Lady Gaga: ‘ARTPOP’


After more than a year of wading knee deep in the hoopla of Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP, the most anticipated album of 2013 has finally arrived. With all the speculation and hyperbole swirling around this release, you may be wondering if Gaga’s endgame was worth the wait. The answer to that question may best be answered by the theatrical pop provocateur herself within her own lyrics “Enigma pop star is fun/It’s not a statement as much as just a move of passion” (“Aura”) and “Lay back and feast as this audio guides you through new and exciting positions” (“G.U.Y.”).

Touted by many as the must have album of 2013, ARTPOP is a multi-genre musical spectrum that boldly infuses EDM, R&B, and rock with joy, rage, and vulnerability. Its true brilliance is discovered only when you fully immerse your mind and ears into the sum of all its parts, which when combined together, take you on a conceptualized journey through Lady Gaga’s world of dance, sex, art, pop, and technology.

Inspired to make the kind of record she’d like to listen to with friends, Gaga’s party opus is raging with mad beats, anthemic choruses, and a phantasmagoric album cover. Although it’s doubtful ARTPOP‘s lyrics will stop global warming or result in world peace, they are cunningly veiled to entice you into contemplating their deeper connotations.

Unpredictably, recurrent collaborator RedOne is only credited here on one track, with the bulk of material composed and co-produced with DJ White Shadow, Madeon, and Zedd. Perhaps RedOne’s input could’ve nixed ARTPOP‘s one and only massive hiccup, “Jewels N’ Drugs” (featuring T.I., Too Short, and Twista). Not only does this bland hip-hop attempt sound like an outtake from The Fame, it also abruptly dampens the album’s vibe and disrupts its otherwise flawless sequential flow, especially as it appears immediately after the dance pop genius of “G.U.Y.” and “Sexxx Dreams,” which sound uncannily like the rebellious teenage love children of Prince and Mariah Carey.

Fortunately, things quickly get back on track with the 1-2-3 punch of the manic “MANiCURE,” which details an obsessive love that can only be sated by a night of hot and lusty sex, followed by the R. Kelly duet “Do What U Want” and climaxing with the transcendent dreaminess of the title track, in which Gaga confesses “The melody that you choose can rescue you.”

During the drug and alcohol penance “Dope” (inspired by the cancellation of the final leg of the Born This Way Ball and originally debuted during her iTunes Festival set as “I Wanna Be With You), Gaga delivers her most honest and vulnerable vocal performance to date while belting out the sparse, emotionally raw ballad, which sounds equally impetuous and remorseful.

Gaga recently described ARTPOP as “reverse Warholian” and “music for music junkies,” which sums up the album quite effectively. With its genre-blurred edges and Spaghetti Western intro, it’s a musically chaotic hodgepodge as unique as the artist herself; edgy, inventive, and multifaceted. Although arguably ostentatious and extreme, there’s no denying ARTPOP is a sexy and seductive, yet quirky slice of pop nirvana that only Lady Gaga could serve up.