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Bonus Tracks

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Initial post: 8 Apr 2009 14:44:15 BDT
Martin says:
It seems we can't have a reissue these days without the inevitable plethora of bonus tracks stuck on the end of the album, whether they be outtakes from the studio sessions that never made it in the first place because they weren't good enough, demos, live versions or other 'curios'.

Apart from an obvious marketing ploy to get you to buy the whole album all over again when you've already got it (often in several different formats), what purpose do these serve?

Are they really of value, or do they actually spoil the original concept of the album and cause an imbalance in the overall quality?

If they are ever to see the light of day, should they instead be served up on a rarities compilation as used to be the case in the days before CD?

Posted on 8 Apr 2009 15:10:19 BDT
TheFoe says:
Two examples I can think of are, Nirvana's Nevermind album and 2 many dj's "As heard on radio soulwax pt 2", where in this instance the bonus track is at the start of the album! Basically you press play and then rewind for 4mins to get a mixed up Kylie track, if you want.

Posted on 8 Apr 2009 15:27:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Apr 2009 15:28:22 BDT
MC Zaptone says:
Nice one Martin but i'm stumped for a definitive answer.
Obviously if you are a completist it's a financial nightmare, and i'm sure its mostly cynical 'fleshing out' by record companies. However, I bought 'Blue Again' a live album by Mick Fleetwood's Blues Band and it came with a bonus cd of four studio tracks (extremely well mastered in Nashville I might add) two numbers by Rick Vito plus Albatross and The Supernatural both by Pete Green. Now while I bought the album primarily for the live workout it's a real 'bonus' to have these tracks that I don't own in cd form and a real reminder of the genius of Pete Green.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2009 15:34:33 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Apr 2009 15:37:56 BDT
Wow!! Great topic!

I'm personally unsure with this one, but be under no illusion, bonus tracks and reissues are nothing but a cash-grab marketing ploy.

I've bought plenty of albums again purely to hear these 'bonus' tracks, and more often than not they are a waste of time. I'm into rock/punk/metal, and so I'm often duped into purchasing reissues from my favourite bands courtesy of serial offender Roadrunner records. They're terrible for it. Take Cradle of Filth's 'Thornography' - released in october 2006, we then get a 2 disc reissue in February 2008. A whole disc of bonus tracks is tempting, sure, but that's not what was in the package. The second disc features a handfull of bonus tracks added to the end of the album, and the disc itself is one of those "I can only play on DVD players" jobs. The first disc is merely the original album unaltered. It's an utter piss take. You can only hear the bonus tracks via your computer or DVD player, not your rather expensive sound system!!! Another Roadrunner example is the the 'Deluxe' edition of Machine Head's incredible 'The Blackening'. It comes with a bonus disc of what is, by and large, utter dross. A few of tracks aside, it's comprised of either demos that are so incomplete and of such poor sound quality that they are unlistenable or tracks from the bad old days when the band almost imploded under the strain of nu-metal mediocrity. To add insult to injury it doesn't even include the stunning cover of Metallica's 'Battery' that was included as a bonus track on the 'limited edition' of the album's original release!!!! Don't even get me started on what Roadrunner do with Type O Negative's catalogue....

Looking through my collection, there are actually very few 'special editions' that were worth the cash. Manic Street Preachers 10th anniversary edition of 'The Holy Bible' is a quality release that's well worth investing in, as are the reissues of Emperor's back catalogue. I've got a special edition of Iron Butterfly's 'In-a-gadda-da-vidda' that's worthwhile too (through how many versions of one song do I really need!?).

Bonus track rip-offs are certainly justification for illegal downloading though. I'm staunchly against it myself but you can certainly see why people would turn to it to hear these 'bonus' tracks rather than fork out more money, especially considering the inconsistent quality of such tracks. If there was a justifiable reason for a re-release then I'd feel much more include to make that second purchase, such as a remix/remaster of a worthy album that ended up compromised (adding the bassline to and remixing Metallica's 'And Justice For All' would be a great example). I think my advice would be to keep the cash and get the regular version (and keep it), unless the 'special edition' is only marginally more expensive.

Posted on 8 Apr 2009 20:23:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Apr 2009 20:24:57 BDT
BOF © says:
My simple answer to this is yes & no take the superb re release of Pacific Ocean Blue by Dennis Wilson The package is great and for the price of a normal cd you get a seperate cd of his unreleased unfinished second album, however they then add some extra tracks to the original album spoiling the mood. To my mind if they had placed all the unreleased stuff on the second cd that would have been a complete bonus and left the original release unspoiled.
Now another was Argus by Wishbone Ash the first cd copy I bought had 'No easy road' as a bonus cut it's sh*t, the next remastered version dropped 'No easy road' and added Jail Bait, The Pilgrim and Phoenix still spoiling the original album but at least better cuts. So I think my vote would be, extra cd with bonus material yes, extra cuts at the end of an album no.
best bonus.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2009 20:59:37 BDT
Mark Kibble says:
I've got 'Power of the picts' by Writing on the wall, the original vinyl release is on disc one, the second disc has a mixture of demo's, live cuts and other recordings that they couldn't release due to a contractual dispute with their ex manager, it works quite well.

I don't mind bonus tracks, but would prefer to hear numbers that didn't make the final tracklist, single releases or the odd track from other albums as a promotional exercise rather than different mixes of the same song.

Posted on 8 Apr 2009 21:40:54 BDT
Toffeeman says:
I guess that when a re-release fits in with the "the vinyl's worn out" moment then it's fine that the new CD contains extra tracks, but I would prefer it that the extras are put on a separate CD, to preserve the "integrity" of the original releases.

Posted on 8 Apr 2009 21:41:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Apr 2009 21:42:38 BDT
spiderboris says:
Coming back to the sidestep of 'hidden tracks' surely they were the most flipping irritating and useless idea in the history of recorded memory. Nevermind is one, another example I can think of is Deftones's Around The Fur, an amazing album spoiled by HALF A BLEEDING HOUR of silence between the last track MX and the hidden song Damone. WHY? WHY? WHY? etc.

Indeed the bonus disc of demos basically means 'not-much-of-a-bonus disc of not-very-good-at-all-and-inferior versions of the tracks that are a hell of a lot better on the album, as it was originally released when people bought it the first time around'

Thankfully the advent of downloading seems have signalled an end to both of these pointless fleecing tactics. Although I have found myself looking at online download track lengths of albums I already own on CD from years back that did have hidden tracks. Yes, kids, iTunes is still selling you 25 minutes of silence on at least a few albums I glanced at... must find more worthwhile things to do with time...

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 14:03:48 BDT
rondetto says:
I totally agree with the dislike of bonus tracks from posters above. It may not be much of an issue with more modern material,but much of the stuffl I am looking to get dates from the age of vinyl when albums were an entity even when not a concept. You cannot get the original albums by many groups without a lot of rubbish tacked on. Look at Free,Traffic,The Band.The Who,The Byrds to mention some obvious ones. It may be significant that REAL icons like The Beatles,Dylan,Cohen,Joni Mitchell,Neil Young and one or two others rarely if ever seem to have their work similarly messed up.

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 14:18:27 BDT
Wharf Rat says:
To me its a blatent marketing ploy to squeese us poor punters.....but
its not all bad,some issues are worth buying,and others are not,its up
to the punter if these 'bonus' tracks appeal...but can be a collectors

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 14:48:50 BDT
The original album should be releaded on one CD with no bonus tracks...if it warrants bonus tracks, these should be included as a second (bonus) CD seperately , at no additional cost..

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 16:20:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jul 2012 16:24:13 BDT
Brass Neck says:
Ulp, er .... I'm with Kevin on this (have this framed Kev, it won't happen again, I promise!). In summary - orignal album on one disc, bonuses on another EXCEPT where it's an expanded live album in which case put the new tracks into the original gig order and don't repeat any.

Take the recent Queen remasters available in bog standard album form or 'deluxe' with a bonus cd of dubious and paltry live/demo tracks which I bought (very cheap though) and which I shall never play again. The Floyd Experience issues were exemplary in having the bonus material, often excellent live stuff on an extra cd.

Some live deluxes take the welcome opportunity to expand beyond the 80 minute confines of the original double vinyl but this can ber a mixed blessing - One More From The Road - Deluxe Edition by Lynyrd Skynyrd adds several tracks omitted from the original release which is great but with 55 minutes of the second cd to fill up they then tack on a load of alternative versions which kills the mood a little after Free Bird has climaxed the first time.

Little Feat's dekuxe Waiting For Columbus is utterly superb both in sound quality and the extra tracks of which none are repeated.

The Who's Live At Leeds (Deluxe Edition) adds loads of tracks left of the single LP (what were they thinking of?) and the whole of Tommy which is great but ..... in the original gig Tommy wasn't played as a second half so why is stuck on it's own on the second cd? I'd have rather had the whole shebang in the correct order from the gig and split Tommy as necessary.

There's also the question of the newcomer to old stuff. I just acquired (very cheaply) all 6 of the Doors 40th anniversary remixed/remastered albums having only ever owned a best of before - I'm stunned by the quality of the sound and most of the bonuses appear to fit well, the only gripe being where tracks are repeated in alternative form.

I'm listening to Teenage Depression by Eddie & The Hotrods which is a blast from my past and which now has their live ep and more added and because it's all of a piece and the live tracks have more balls it's all good.

Agree with the lists of those artists who don't allow their art to be amended, and AC/DC should be included in that pantheon, of course that just means they get to round their alternates, outtakes and a few live bits into a separate initially expensive product - Backtracks - as well as getting the fans to buy all the remasters.

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 16:37:15 BDT
Post Soviet says:
Up to me all bonuses might be blown to the moon. They should should never be added to the original material, but released as separate CD. Those Live albums Brass is talking is different matter, songs were left at the time because of technical reasons, they were not outtakes in the first place (Allmans, Little Feat, Who...).

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 16:50:50 BDT
nephran says:
The bonus track on the uk release of Mariah Carey's Music Box was the best track on the album...

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 16:55:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jul 2012 16:56:11 BDT
Brass Neck says:
The most annoying repackaged stuff must be UFO's The Chrysalis Years (1973-1979) where the bonus material is stuck directly after the album it was contemporaneous with despit the fact that often it's just a radio/single edit of a track from the same album. No great crime there you might think but it then means that most of the subsequent albums are split with side 1 on one cd and side 2 on the next which is bloody irritating to say the least. All the bonuses could have been shoved on the last disc and then 2 full albums would have fitted on each disc.

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 17:42:20 BDT
Agree entirely with the sentiment in paragraph 2 of Martin's OP. I am all for reissuing albums that have been out of circulation, in order to give younger fans a chance to discover them and allow us oldies to replace worn out copies from the original pressing (in my case, often on vinyl or cassette format). However, as regards these so called anniversary reissues: Don't get me f***ing started! The whole concept is cynical, exploitative and, in many cases, just downright rapacious. I mean Paul Simon's Graceland 25th anniversary edition, released this year. The album originally came out in 1986! Do the maths. The idea of cashing in last year clearly didn't occur to him and he couldn't wait until 2016 for the 30 year special! Crass!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 17:46:06 BDT
2old4925 says:

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 17:46:29 BDT
nephran says:
Have you been on holiday The Liq?

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 17:47:06 BDT
nephran says:
Not you as well 2old....LOL!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 17:50:56 BDT
2old4925 says:
Great word Neph - sums things up without labouring the point!

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 23:37:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Jul 2012 12:24:00 BDT
rondetto says:
An interesting discussion obviously ended by two people selfishly indulging in banter they could conduct by e-mail. Should be removed.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 00:02:26 BDT
Hugh J'Arse says:
All I can say is mate is "WELL SAID" most of the bonus material is stuff not good enough or completed for a proper release.....and even if a true fan-I find it is ALWAYS the proper release I go back to !!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 01:33:15 BDT
nephran says:
Thread police...UTTER NUMPTY!!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 04:12:27 BDT
2old4925 says:

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 09:22:36 BDT
Brass Neck says:
Stop sighing....... SIGH!!
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Discussion in:  music discussion forum
Participants:  21
Total posts:  54
Initial post:  8 Apr 2009
Latest post:  18 Jul 2012

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