CDs that make less 'sense' than the original LPs - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-31-2005, 04:30 PM   #1
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Normal CDs that make less 'sense' than the original LPs

The CD has many advantages to the old vinyl LP. Longer possible running time (80 minutes to 50 minutes), less prone to wear, bigger changes in dynamical range, etc.
But a few days ago I was listening to David Bowie's Low and I think that that album is maybe not as good as it was on vinyl. This has nothing to do with sound quality, etc. I've also never heard it on vinyl either. In fact, last week was the first time I heard that record.
The thing is that Low is a very schizophrenic record. The first half has David Bowie songs (and I'm not that knowledgeable of Bowie to hear if these songs were sonically much different from his previous albums). The second half is largely an instrumental and ambient affair, no wonder when Brian Eno is one of the musicians on the record. So on vinyl you had these two sides that were very different from each other, but where each side itself was sorta sonically homogenous.
So this got me wondering. Are there other albums that sonically or thematically make less sense on CD than they did as 2 (or 4) sides of a record. Here's a small list of what I came up with:

Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home: The first side is Bob going electric with Subterranean Homesick Blues, Maggie's Farm, etc. The second side was again the acoustic Bob with Mr. Tambourine Man, Gates Of Eden, etc.

Bruce Springsteen - Live 1975-'85: Originally issued as a 5 LP set, but in trying to make it fit on 3 CDs it had to cut up the originally flow. The first CD is mostly from 1978 club shows, except for the final 2 tracks which are from 1980 arena shows. Same with the second disc (largely from 1980, except for the final 2 tracks which are from 1984 stadium shows).
I heard that Bob Dylan's Biograph also suffers from this, though the original order on that one was thematically rather than chronologically.

U2 - Rattle And Hum: Yes, I feel those Irish boys also suffer from this format change. The run from All Along The Watchtower to Pride was originally on one side. Now it is just a bunch of live tracks in the middle of the album.

So, what is BandC's thoughts about this? Does anyone have other examples of this behaviour?

C ya!


P.S. For a moment I thought about including Abbey Road on the list (since side 2 was the 'leftover medley'), but in the end I felt that the CD doesn't ruin anything of it.

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Old 10-31-2005, 05:46 PM   #2
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Tattoo You had a rocking side A and a mellow side B.

A bunch of old double albums are single-discers now (e.g., London Calling, Exile On Main Street, Rattle and Hum, Blonde On Blonde), which might make them feel overlong to modern listeners.

Although, on the flipside, a lot of bands have taken to recording longer albums in the CD age (e.g., the Stones from Voodoo Lounge onward, Dire Straits from Brothers In Arms onward, and Pink Floyd's The Division Bell are all about an hour long and some change, whereas before, 40-50 minutes was the standard). It's interesting to wonder what modern albums would have been double albums had they been released twenty years ago (hell, Ryan Adams' recent Cold Roses is a double, but at 76 minutes, could fit on a single disc, though snugly), or if they would have been cut down to a more succinct single album. Voodoo Lounge certainly could have used some cutting (hell, so could've Exile).

I think the two-sided dynamic had an interesting effect on the flow of an album's track listing. Side A of The Joshua Tree, for instance, begins with "Where the Streets Have No Name" and ends with "Running To Stand Still," then the second side begins with "Red Hill Mining Town" and ends with "Mothers of the Disappeared." So you have two minialbums there, with nice beginnings and denouements, each telling its own story, but you also get a bigger picture when you combine the two. There's a reason the double track listing keeps the same openers and closers, I think.

The Dark Side of the Moon was originally split between "The Great Gig In the Sky" and "Money," but the CD edition added a little segue between the last chord of "Great Gig" and the first sound effects of "Money," which gives it a slightly different flow.

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Old 10-31-2005, 05:58 PM   #3
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You know what, CD's are definitely my favourite format.

Vinyl - well I admit I don't have a record player so possibly I'm not best best placed to comment, but they always strike me as rather fiddly, messy and inconvenient. Granted, better sound quality in terms of being more 'organic' or whatever, but to me it's just not worth the hassle.

As for cassette tapes - I grew up in the 80's, so most of my first music purchases were on cassette - shite sound quality, quality decreases over time, etc.

As for MP3's and all that technical shit - I think I'll leave that to the young folk.
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:04 PM   #4
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I was hoping someone would mention 'Low' in this thread. I'm 17 so obviously have quite a lot more CDs than LPs, but as I started getting interested in Vinyl LPs as a music format I ultimately began to prefer them to anything else simply because of the way it splits albums into two, which I always liked...

Wiith albums nowadays, if I buy it on CD rather than LP (new release or oldy) I mentally split it into two anyway and where I know side one would be ending were it an LP, I get this sort of feeling that tells me "Right, that's it...that's the end of side one/part one of the CD" and the album seems to start off again when it gets to what would be side two.

That said, in my opinion CDs make perfect sense to me if I just mentally split it in two. And sometimes it can really show. X&Y, for instance. Even though that's split into FOUR sides on the LPs, it's still easy to split it into two parts, 1 being 'Square One - X&Y' and 2 being 'Speed of Sound - Twisted Logic', they're actually very different pieces on one disc! Sorry, I don't know where I went with that last paragraph...
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:13 PM   #5
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Yeah, I thought it was neat that X&Y did the splitting up for you on the back cover.
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Old 10-31-2005, 09:06 PM   #6
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the idea of sandinista! being 2 cds rather than 6 sides of vinyl bothers me. i can't face that album on cd, which is why i'm glad i own it on vinyl (because i do love it).
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Old 11-01-2005, 12:19 AM   #7
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most of the pink floyd records are better on vinyl, also for the covers,.. see wish you were here, the wall, etc.

wouldn´t know about low.. brilliant album but PConly here, so I never figured how it would be on vinyl..

however I guess this will apply to many, many vinyl albums. Same goes for other bowie records.

the format of the media definitely influences the music.
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Old 11-02-2005, 03:25 AM   #8
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side one- tracks 1-7
side two - tracks 8-11

"Heroes" is also a pretty good one on LP, the whole mood just gets ruined by 'The Secret Life of Arabia'

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