30
Aug 00

Supremes Taken To Extremes

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Supremes Taken To Extremes: (via scrubbles). More things wrong with this piece than I can really be bothered to list, some specific to his put-downs of the Supremes (which are right – Diana Ross is not the world’s greatest singer – but rest on his explicitly leaving out the contributions of the backing band and songwriters to the music), others more generally thick. Some talk of purity if you like that kind of thing. “Just about anybody on the Motown label was more soulful” – but the whole point of Motown is that it didn’t confine itself to being ‘soulful’. Etc.

The central problem, though, is that this guy is writing as if box sets were meant to be listened to in one sitting. Would I sit through five discs of the Supremes straight off? Christ no. Would I sit through four discs of Joy Division in one go? No also, but it didn’t stop me buying and enjoying Heart And Soul. The point is simply to have those four discs, to have a greater range of material than a best of allows, plus the possibility of mining a few more gems from the sets. That’s why box sets are a ridiculous indulgence, and why people still buy them. I honestly can’t think of a single band who’ve recorded more than three CDs worth (probably two CDs worth, come to think of it) of ten-out-of-ten, essential material, but I can think of plenty where I’d want the option of stretching out boxwise and judging for myself what that material is.

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