Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bonus tracks

Not long ago I discovered that my copy of Traffic's self-titled album had disappeared, so I ordered a replacement from a nearby CD store. Unlike my original, the new copy had three bonus tracks at the end.

I don't get bonus tracks. I just don't. It would be one thing if artists wanted to make a director's cut of sorts -- if they added songs they felt should have made it in, or reverted back to a vision that existed before studio interference, or inserted effects that they couldn't have managed with the technology of the day. Greedo-shoots-first possibilities aside, that could be fun. Slapping a few extra tunes onto an album that was complete unto itself? Meh.

Listening to "Traffic" mostly confirmed my view. The first two extras are mono single mixes of track one, "You Can All Join In," and track five, "Feelin' Alright." The "mono" part aside, they're exactly the same songs. What's the point? The third bonus track, "Withering Tree," comes from a later album, "No Exit." I appreciated this one more because I'd never heard it before and liked it. Still, I haven't decided whether I think it fits well with the other songs, and I don't believe it belongs at the end. I'm not sure if I'd feel that way if I hadn't listened to the album a bazillion thirty-three times, setting in stone the notion that "Means to an End" should go last, but there it is.

On the other hand, at least the concept of a bonus track makes sense for albums originally released in vinyl. I always have to scratch my head when I see new albums with bonus tracks. Why "bonus"? Why aren't they all just ... tracks?

I am the only person I know who ever gets annoyed about this. Can someone explain to me what I'm missing?


Jannie Funster said...

I guess bonus tracks may sell more albums, especially to fanatics who have to have every one of an artist's pressing / recordings?

cinderkeys said...

*nod* ... Makes sense if you have a few songs that never saw release but don't add up to a whole new album. "Withering Tree" already exists on No Exit, though, so Traffic fanatics will already possess it.

Jannie Funster said...

It is funny tho isn't it how we expect to hear certin songs followed others, as we've probably listened to them that way hundreds and hundreds of times on albums. Disconcerting, wot.

Anonymous said...

Given the soulless whoring that the last 15 years have been at the altar of rap and hip-hop, can we expect anything less?

DeppityBob said...

Bonus tracks generally have more cowbell.