David Bowie: Five Years box set
Reviewed by Oct 5th, 2015

This spans the years 1969-1973 and the CD boxed set has little mini-gatefold covers, printed sleeves, and the CDs come in bags. Box itself is sturdy and shiny. 12 CDs. Very shiny, so it gets points for that. There is a vinyl version but it costs $250, so yeah, no fucking way. Not even for Bowie. My largest complaint here is that it stops in 1973 instead of ’74, but otherwise they couldn’t call it “five years,” I suppose. The faux-vinyl gimmick for the CDs is cute but the bags are a pain in the ass and it mostly just reminds me I used to have 90% of this stuff on vinyl and don’t anymore, which is depressing. Records may not be the most practical format, but they are the most visually-appealing, and the #1 thing I hate about buying non-physical digital downloads of anything is a lack of liner notes. That makes me feel ripped off, moreso than the lack of an actual CD on the shelf. That counts as part of the album, in my opinion.
This also comes with a nice little hardcover book with photos and info, which I haven’t read yet but I have flipped through. I recognized several of the photos from the Mick Rock book, but some of them were apparently not released before. Can’t comment on the info in the book except to say that, whatever it says, I probably knew it already.
Without having listened to much yet (I just got it 30 minutes ago), I’ll say that it looks to be just the regular albums and is lacking much of the stuff on the Rykodisc releases (can’t remember offhand what was on the 30th anniversary CD editions that came out in the early/mid ’00s), but some of this stuff is on an additional disc called “Re: call,” but overall, this doesn’t have a great deal of unreleased stuff, it’s mostly just a plain old boxed set with nice packaging and a book. If you’re gonna drop that much money on a Bowie boxed set, I’m going to assume you already have the Rykodisc versions or the 30th anniv. editions anyway, though. I liked that they included ZSTMP, Santa Monica, and Pinups in here, also.
That being said, the 30th anniv editions were a clusterfuck, they wouldn’t play in most computers, they would want to load some stupid website and it took ages. Someone on a forum found that you could avoid this by making a line on the disc with a Sharpie pen, so all my 30th editions had black lines on the CDs, and when I decided to sell some of them, I had to remove them with rubbing alcohol, which was a pain. Don’t buy the 30th anniv. editions if you can help it, copy protection and other stupid problems.
Sound seems to be good though, some of the reviews I’ve read have actually stated it was “TOO clean-sounding.” These seem to be more recent remasters, so different from previous recent releases. Fun fact: I hate most of Bowie’s singing on “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.”

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