The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for July 23rd, 2010

Back Tracks: Burton and Elfman

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It turns out the reissue of Batman wasn’t the only Danny Elfman-related catalogue news at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con: Elfman shared at a panel discussion that Warner Bros. is planning a box set devoted to the composer’s longtime collaboration with director Tim Burton.

It’s not much of a surprise that such a set would happen. Burton and Elfman’s collaboration is one of the strongest director-composer bonds in Hollywood. And while neither men are collaborating with the kind of urgently great results they had in their early years, it’s a strong bond that deserves some attention from the catalogue world.

Not much is known about the set, tentatively titled The 25th Anniversary Music Box, other than that it will include 14 CDs, a DVD and a book featuring interviews with the director and composer. (Fans can learn more by signing up for the newsletter at the official site for the box.) In the meantime, though, a look back at the duo’s collaborations would be in order, in the classic Back Tracks style. Get ready for a weird, wild trip through film score history, after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 23, 2010 at 15:38

Release Round Up: McCartney and Michael Dates Plus More Squeeze Reissues?

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  • It looks like we finally can expect Paul McCartney’s Concord catalogue program to start up on September 28. Amazon has a pre-order link up for the promised reissue of Band on the Run for that date.
  • That same date also sees a new title from Legacy: a CD/DVD edition of George Michael’s excellent solo debut Faith (1987). You can pre-order it as well, though there’s no word on bonus content yet (or if it will be included as a Legacy Edition title). (Thanks to Pause & Play for both dates!)
  • Finally, Squeeze’s Chris Difford has mused on next year’s 30th anniversary of East Side Story, which might be commemorated with a tour of sorts. Let’s hope this means an East Side Story reissue of some sort, ending what Glenn Tilbrook calls Universal’s “not want(ing) to play ball with us” over reissues.

Written by Mike Duquette

July 23, 2010 at 11:11

EXCLUSIVE: Inside Hip-O Select’s Vault

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Here’s a fantastic justification for the lack of posting today: The Second Disc has recently been preparing some interviews with some interesting characters within the reissue world.

One of the interviews was conducted today with none other than Harry Weinger, vice-president of A&R for Universal Music Enterprises and gatekeeper of the catalogues for great soul labels and artists from Motown to James Brown.

The full interview will be yours to read on Monday, but for now The Second Disc provides a few important morsels from the conversation – notably, some of the titles Hip-o Select is working on in the coming year.

Read on after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 23, 2010 at 09:45

Friday Feature: “Reality Bites”

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There are plenty of moviegoers in any given week who look at the films playing at their local theatre, shake their head and conclude that Hollywood is no longer making movies for “them.” One only wonders how the winter of 1994 was for that crowd when Reality Bites was released.

One of the most explicitly Generation X movies ever created, Reality Bites follows the trials and tribulations of a group of twentysomethings in 1990s Houston. There’s Leilaina (Wynona Ryder), a college valedictorian with dreams of being a documentarian and a strong aversion to working for “the man.” Troy (Ethan Hawke) is a slacker musician even more opposed to being disenfranchised by the work force. The movie largely revolves around a love triangle between those two and Michael (Ben Stiller), an executive for an MTV-esque channel who treats Leilaina as nice as Troy treats her ridiculous.

The idiosyncrasies of the movie were crucial in both the visualization of ’90s youth in mainstream culture and the successful career of Ben Stiller (who also directed). As someone who is the same age as the characters on screen, it’s striking how, more than 15 years and some economic downturn, my friends and I almost all act the same way (minus the sexual dysfunction and ability to live away from home). What’s kind of crazy and improbable about the movie, though, is the soundtrack. It’s a seminal selection of music, to be sure, and it made at least one star in the process.

But there’s no way that the Reality Bites soundtrack accurately conveys the audio sentiment of its time period. (This is where Singles, a similar if slightly less accurate Gen-X movie from 1992, excels; it features music and appearances from influential ’90s rockers like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.) Most casual music enthusiasts know the Reality Bites soundtrack as the album that broke Lisa Loeb into the mainstream. Her sweet, acoustic ballad “Stay (I Missed You)” was a No. 1 hit, even more impressive when one considers she was a musician friend of Ethan Hawke’s and not a professionally-signed artist, making her the first and only artist to top the charts without a recording deal.

Outside of that, though? The album deals heavily in weird bursts of nostalgia. The Knack’s “My Sharona” was remixed to sound like it was recorded in 1994, not 1979. Squeeze remixed and mostly re-recorded “Tempted” for the record. U2 and Crowded House – bands that were still relevant if not as hot in the 1990s – had two of their recent singles (“All I Want is You” and “Locked Out”) given prime placement on the album. Even Big Mountain, one of the many ’90s alternative acts on the compilation (alongside Juliana Hatfield, The Posies and Me Phi Me) struck Top 10 gold with a cover of Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way,” a song nearly two decades old at the time.

It’s perhaps more irony than even Gen-Xers can handle: a defining ’90s movie punctuated by music that its core audience would consider dated even then. Still, it’s a heck of a listening experience – and one that was reissued a decade later to further compound the nostalgia trip.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 23, 2010 at 08:35