Revolver: Definitely, Maybe remastered? Definitely not
Liam Gallagher has urged fans to boycott the expensive new Oasis remasters. Brian Boyd is in agreement
Maybe definitely not: Oasis in 1994
Two of the most hateful terms in the music industry are the “deluxe edition” of an album and the “re-mastered” version of an album.
The former works like this: release a successful album, then a few months later (ideally around Christmas) stick on an extra song that’s been lying around, throw in a few crappy “live” or “acoustic” versions of the hit, add a few euro to the price and watch it sell mainly to people who already bought the un-deluxe edition of said album the first time around.
The “remastered” album, known less kindly as “the ultimate rip-off”, follows a similar pattern to the deluxe nonsense except you have to wait for either a fifth, 10th or 20th anniversary of the release.
Well, you may want to take your 2014 holidays in May, because this is when the remastered version of Definitely Maybe gets its inevitable 20th anniversary rerelease. My gripe is not with the Oasis album so much as the amount of guff we’re going to get about Britpop and what the genre “signified”. What it really signified was huge lager sales, a blizzard of cheap and nasty cocaine, and a mere handful of good songs from a miserable musical era.
They’re going all in with the remastered Definitely Maybe . You get the standard CD; the digital download; a three-disc “special edition” version with rare recordings and demos; a 12-inch vinyl version; unheard acoustic versions; an early demo that was “recorded in Noel’s hotel room”; and a demo of “an extremely rare song”.
Wait, come back, that’s only the half of it. For €130 you can get the six-CD box set remastered edition. Apart from all the above, this also includes (among other tat) a gatefold LP sleeve with inner bags (inner bags – can’t wait!); a hardback coffee-table book with “exclusive” sleeve notes; a 12 inch by 12 inch print (of what we don’t know); a tote bag; an enamel key ring; and – get this – five postcards. Still, for €130 you’d be wanting some limited edition Oasis bubble bath or a few “exclusive” Oasis beer mats at the very least.
Liam Gallagher eloquently expressed his opinion of this tsunami of bonus/special exclusive idiocy by advising fans to stay clear of the reissues, saying this week: “How can you remaster something that’s already being mastered? Don’t buy into it.” And remember, this isn’t a Pet Sounds or a What’s Going On or an Astral Weeks we’re talking about.
Following this overload, later this we can look forward to the same “remastered” rereleases of Oasis’ second and third albums, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory and Be Here Now. So get on to the credit union now.
Funnily enough, on Definitely Maybe ’s release in 1994 Noel Gallagher said “In 20 years’ time people will buy Definitely Maybe and listen to it for what it was. That’s what is important”. Presumably he didn’t see the tote bag, the enamel key ring or the postcards coming. It’s Liam who’s right this time. Flagging up a piece of music as being “remastered” in order to shift a few expensive units to gullible fans is a grubby affair.
As for all the Exclusive! and Never Before Released! bonus tracks on the May release, the boring truth is that if these songs were any good in the first place they would have been put on the original album and not left lying on the recording studio floor.