Nowadays, if you are curious about a band (or in some cases, not die-hard enough to want their entire discography) and are looking for an introductory or a best-of compilation to wraps your ears around, something or the other will always piss you off. The recording industry in their insatiable greed indulge in marketing gimmickery and cheap ploys to boost sales in any way possible and it is annoying to say the least.
For starters, there will always be at least one "live" version of a song instead of the studio version. A few years ago, these live tracks would have been a bonus track. But nowadays, (the evil) they don't even bother with the original version. I personally don't get why anybody would want the live version of anything (leaving aside the fact that I'm talking about a compilation album) unless it is highly modified and excellently produced or if the buyer attended the concert himself. Otherwise, it's just a waste of time.
Recent examples of the "live" syndrome include the Bryan Adams anthology, the Jane's Addiction greatest hits CD and so on.
Next up, the dreaded "demo" version. Who the fsck except the most rabidly devoted fan cares for these things? Yes, everybody would much rather have the first take rather than the final one, right? Retards.
A not-so-recent example of the "demo" disease would be Kiss' 2001 Box Set with a demo-and-live-peppered tracklist which is about as alluring as a rash of pimples.
Lastly, the "b-sides" / "special bonus" tracks... These are in a realm of their own as they are usually tracks that were chosen to be unacceptable for the original albums, but, have suddenly been deemed to be representative of the band's best work. Give-us-a-break-ffs.
Bootlegged compilations floating around the Internet are looking a lot more attractive than the official ones...
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