David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (40th Anniversary Edition)

David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, 40th AnniversaryDavid Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (40th Anniversary Edition)
In 2002, EMI/Virgin released David Bowie‘s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (30th Anniversary Edition), a glorious two CD set that included a newly remastered album and a second disc of previously released bonus tracks from the 1990–92 reissues. Ten years later, EMI/Virgin release The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (40th Anniversary Edition), a one CD set that includes a newly remastered album…and that’s it.
Let me start by saying that start to finish, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is one of the greatest albums of all time. That was true when it was released in 1972 and that is still true in 2012. It is a celebration of high concept art, glam rock, and vague story lines. But that should not stop the educated listener from wondering “why the hell do we need ANOTHER re-issue of Bowie’s classic album?”
EMI spins the re-issue by saying this edition has been remastered by the engineer from the original Trident Studios (where the album was recorded in 1971.) The thought is that Trident Studios’ engineer will have a better ear for remastering than Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios who remastered the album in 1999 or Dr. Toby Mountain at Northeastern Digital Recording who remastered the album in 1990. I understand that recording and mastering techniques change quite a bit over ten years but to re-release an album four times feels like beating a dead horse.
If you are going to beat a dead horse at least give collectors something to grasp at like an unreleased demo, or an unreleased live cut, or an unreleased anything. Instead what we get with the 40th anniversary edition is the original album and that’s it, the original 11 songs in order followed by nothing. To me, this seems insulting.
To call this a cash grab by EMI would seem accurate, a sad attempt to bleed the Bowie faithful that will pony up the cash for any new nuggets from the now seemingly-defunct icon. But to you Bowie fans I say: “save your money. Wait for the 50th anniversary edition when hopefully EMI will get it right.”
Rating: 5.9/10
MP3: David Bowie “Suffragette City”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl