You know, I like bonus content on deluxe editions when it’s significant – unreleased songs and/or concerts – and with last year’s deluxe edition of Elvis Costello’s debut album, My Aim Is True, we got both, which made it impossible to do without the excellent Rhino deluxe edition which also had a disc full of non-album material. I thought that was a one-off. I didn’t expect to see another following six months later.
Why am I not feeling even a tinge of excitement for this? A full disc dedicated to a live show – I love that shit. I usually eat that up. But here . . . I don’t know. I am decidedly “eh” about it, perhaps because I simply don’t find myself scrolling to the MAIT live disc very often. The price doesn’t help either. Had this been priced like the Rhino 2-CD deluxes, which were basically “two for one,” I might have jumped. But My Aim Is True was the full “Deluxe Edition” price and, frankly, the package wasn’t all that special. The book wasn’t anything new or revealing. What were we paying so much extra for? I know how much CDs cost to produce. That live disc didn’t cost double the amount to make.
Maybe I’m a bit burned out on Costello, I don’t know. The constant reissuing is getting a little old. This makes 4 versions available since 1993’s first Ryko expanded issue – three of which are all from the past 6 years! I know, I know, I don’t have to buy anything and everything that’s put out for sale. But as a fan, I want this stuff. Had I just gotten into him now, the latest ones would be the ones I would buy – I’d much rather have live stuff than demos, frankly. But the bigger problem is simply market burnout – having that name out there, again and again, with the same titles attached to it, it starts to look like desparation and greed to outsiders who happen to notice. I fear Elvis is hitting that terrible spot in his career where he’s treading water and there just happens to be a quick way to keep things going with these reissues. I know there have been multiple times when he’s been accused of treading water and managed to come back with some fantastic music, but there’s just something kind of extra unappetizing going on here.