The Weekly Music Thread asks, “What’s in the box!?”

Let’s discuss any and all music here. You’ve got a new artist who’s rocking your boat that you want to talk about? Post a video! Found out about that unearthed Coltrane album that has the jazz freak in you losing your mind? Lay it out for us! Do you have a theory about what your favorite band might do for their next album? Let’s hear it! Anything and everything music-related goes here.

This week’s discussion prompt: Box Sets. Are there any that you consider to be essential? Are there any that you’ve found to be a waste of money? Are the rarities worth the price of admission?

The first box set I ever bought was Peel Slowly & See, which contains the first four Velvet Underground albums, most of VU and a bunch of previously unreleased tracks. Got it from Columbia House, too! At that point I’d only heard The Best of the Velvet Underground: Words and Music of Lou Reed (also purchased via Columbia House a couple years prior) and liked what I’d heard so far, but like most “best of” compilations it didn’t paint a complete picture of the band at all. I listened to the entire five disc set over a single weekend and it was a transformative experience – hearing the noisier White Light era tracks (only the title track was included on that best of compilation) and the other songs in the order they were recorded was revelatory, and at last I truly understood why the band was so revered. The box set also has the “closet mix” of the self-titled third album, which I still prefer to the much more widely heard Val Valentin mix, and it was also the first time the studio version of “Sweet Jane” appeared with the restored “wine and roses” bridge, which as soon as I heard it made me wonder what in the hell they were thinking cutting that from the original album release.

Another essential box set that I’m less likely to brag about these days is Phil Spector: Back to Mono. If one is able to separate the art from the artist (well, producer) and can reconcile owning and listening to music associated with a convicted murderer, the songs contained within are nothing short of spectacular. I would never think of parting with it (though it no longer occupies a prominent space on my living room wall either).

And even if you have never owned a box set, or don’t even own a physical media, feel free to join in with any and all topics related to music. So have fun, and rock out with yr guac out!