Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Gone, gone, gone: 12 albums that deserve milestone reissues this year

Illustration for article titled Gone, gone, gone: 12 albums that deserve milestone reissues this year

1. The Everly Brothers, Gone Gone Gone (1964)
The music industry is crazy for anniversaries. It’s only spring, and already 2014 has seen everything from the 40th-anniversary edition of Rush’s Rush to the 25th-anniversary edition of Bob Mould’s Workbook to the 20th-anniversary edition of Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven. Those are all landmark albums—but when far less notable bands like, say, 65daysofstatic are about to get a 10th-anniversary reissue, it’s enough to make any music fan wonder what the criteria are for such an honor. Okay, so there aren’t any criteria, at least not other than what the market will supposedly bear. Still, it’s strange that so many worthy albums that will hit big anniversaries—specifically their 10th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 40th, or 50th—in 2014 aren’t getting deluxe reissues, with all the bonus tracks, repackaging, liner notes, remastering, and reassessment that comes with them. Case in point: The Everly Brothers’ 1964 album Gone Gone Gone, which came out the same year The Beatles hit America. The Everlys—co-led by the late Phil Everly—were cited as an influence by The Fab Four, but the 50th anniversary of one of the duo’s greatest albums has yet to show up, in spite of renewed exposure to its title track thanks to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ cover. But the original stands on its own as one of the best showcases of the Brothers’ innovative way with harmony, songcraft, and sweet, sweet twang.

2. The Impressions, Keep On Pushing (1964)
Keep On Pushing is the third album by the Curtis Mayfield-led soul group The Impressions, but it might as well have been the group’s debut. Its success helped embolden Mayfield to stretch his songwriting even deeper into the realms of both personal expression and Civil Rights issues—and much of that had to do with the gloriously inspirational title track, a plea for positivism and determination that Barack Obama used as the theme song for his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It’s also one of the albums sitting behind Bob Dylan on the cover photo of his 1965 masterpiece Bringing It All Back Home. Famous fans aside, Keep On Pushing is an album that’s more than earned a lavish, 50th-anniversary reissue.


3. Dolly Parton, Jolene (1974)
Although it’s been reissued numerous times over the years, Dolly Parton’s Jolene—which celebrates its 40th birthday this year—has never gotten the full, deluxe treatment it warrants. Not only is its haunting, lovelorn title track a song that never seems to die (not that anyone should want it to), the album also features the original version of the ultimate breakup anthem, “I Will Always Love You,” years before Whitney Houston made it a worldwide smash. And if those compiling a deluxe reissue are short a bonus track, they can always include the amazingly eerie slowed-down version.

4. Judas Priest, Rocka Rolla (1974)
Judas Priest is one of the most vital and influential bands in the history of metal, and its debut album, Rocka Rolla, turns 40 this year. The resistance to a reissue of Rocka Rolla, however, is understandable. It’s far from Priest’s best work, and some of Rob Halford’s performances on it are undercooked at best. But there’s something bracing about the group’s first, formative blush of greatness, when it still harbored some hippie leanings amid the heavy, stomping riffage and mythically soaring vocals. In any case, it’s a record of historical importance that fully justifies a fresh look (and package).

5. Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade (1984)
The reason behind the lack of proper archival handling of Hüsker Dü’s SST Records output is simple: The label’s owner, Greg Ginn, is far too busy turning his own band, Black Flag, into a nostalgia-circuit circus. When it comes to Hüsker Dü’s magnum opus, Zen Arcade, nostalgia isn’t needed; the double-album stands as a timeless, harrowingly emotional burst of post-punk sharpness, hardcore rage, and classic songwriting. Due to SST’s mismanagement of its catalog, not to mention discord among frontman Bob Mould and his former bandmates, Zen Arcade is just one of many of the label’s legendary albums that have never been suitably remastered or reissued. That Mould’s solo work, as good as it is, is getting deluxe anniversary editions before Zen Arcade sees a respectable 30th birthday party is almost criminal.

6. “Weird Al” Yankovic, “Weird Al” Yankovic In 3-D (1984)
Between the soundtrack to This Is Spinal Tap and “Weird Al” Yankovic’s In 3-D, 1984 was a good year for rock parodies. But it’s Yankovic’s album that remains underserved by the music industry, in spite of the fact that it introduced him to millions via “Eat It,” the Michael Jackson send-up to end all Michael Jackson send-ups. In 3-D has plenty on the menu besides that whopper of a hit, though. (“The Rye Or The Kaiser,” anyone?) It even spotlights Yankovic’s polka roots—and maps the way forward for an artist who was once dismissed as a novelty act. That is, before his career outlived the average lifespan of the bands he’s lampooned. In 3-D At 30, your time has come.

7. Neneh Cherry, Raw Like Sushi (1989)
Neneh Cherry’s latest album, Blank Project, just came out, and it’s good. It’s also her first solo album in 18 years. Cherry’s slow rate of production is excusable, because really, who’s going to complain about having to reach back and replay the album that made her famous, 1989’s Raw Like Sushi? A quarter-century later, it still packs a wallop—a full-force whirlwind of densely layered samples, whiplash rapping, pop hooks, and cocky attitude. And it all comes together in the album’s biggest hit, “Buffalo Stance,” which sounds as fresh and forceful today as it did the day it was made. It also is in desperate need of a deluxe anniversary reissue—so much so that there’s a Facebook page (admittedly, a lapsed one) calling for a worldwide campaign to enact just such a tribute.

8. Kate Bush, The Sensual World (1989)
Kate Bush’s The Sensual World is an underrated album in her oeuvre, an opinion also held by the artist herself. The enigmatic singer-songwriter actually went so far as to rework and rerecord four songs from the album on her 2011 release Director’s Cut. The original version of those tracks, as well as the rest of The Sensual World, will reach 25 this year, with no deluxe reissue in sight. The album is one of Bush’s most understated and subtle, yet it was nominated for a Grammy and boasts a couple of her most recognizable songs: “This Woman’s Work” and the lush, poetic title track.


9. Machine Head, Burn My Eyes (1994)
The 20th-anniversary reissue of Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven is just one of many celebrations of groundbreaking metal that will be coming out this year. Sadly, it’s a safe bet that Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes won’t be among them. Released the same year as Far Beyond Driven, Machine Head’s debut album combined many of the same elements—only it did so with a hungrier, angrier plan of attack from a youthful band with everything to prove. Machine Head has gone on to be one of the most reliable metal bands of the past 20 years, but the eternally delayed plans for a deluxe edition have been downplayed by the band itself, which has publicly stated that it would rather not see such a reissue happen due to a lack of worthwhile bonus material. Such integrity should be applauded, seeing as how that’s never stopped any other band.

10. Hole, Live Through This (1994)
This April marks the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death—and the 20th anniversary of Hole’s breakthrough album, Live Through This. This overlap of circumstance has shadowed Live Through This ever since, even as Courtney Love’s public antics over the years (including her recent Malaysia Airlines flight 370 silliness) haven’t done anything to mend the rift between her and the public. What often gets lost in the shuffle is exactly how incredible Live Through This is. Morphing from a corrosive noise-rock band into one of the most powerful bands of the ’90s, Hole hit its peak with the album, which remains a scathing yet tuneful rush of catharsis on par with anything Love’s peers produced. It may not be quite as strong as Nirvana’s In Utero, which rightfully received an avalanche of anniversary-reissue attention last year. But Live Through This, regardless of the hate Love now draws, deserves the same elevation.

11. Van Hunt, Van Hunt (2004)
“Dust,” the lead single from R&B singer-songwriter Van Hunt’s self-titled debut, was nominated for a Grammy. But the entire album should have been so widely recognized. Released 10 years ago, Van Hunt was ahead of its time—and also far behind it, thanks to a retro-soul sound that paid tribute to Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield while rooting itself solidly in the 21st century. The acclaim the album did receive didn’t help it sell more copies, and Hunt has been increasingly mistreated by the music industry, to the point where venerable label Blue Note shelved his 2008 album Popular. He rebounded in 2011 with the stellar What Were You Hoping For?, but with so much neo-soul going around today, a 10th-anniversary edition of Van Hunt is just the thing to remind the world of Hunt’s funky, catchy brilliance.

12. Le Tigre, This Island (2004)
Opinion was split on This Island, Le Tigre’s third album, when it came out in 2004. Some hailed it as a welcome step toward widespread, dancefloor-aimed accessibility; others derided it for being a slick sellout, one that betrayed the indie principles of frontwoman Kathleen Hanna, previously of the riot grrrl standard-bearer Bikini Kill. Time has been kinder to This Island; its slippery rhythms and scratchy guitars sound better than ever, and a decade of influence on other acts has shown that the album’s audacious ambition was well placed. Le Tigre is no more, and Hanna has resumed her prior project The Julie Ruin. Since This Island is such a remix-friendly album, it seems a no-brainer for an expanded, 10th-anniversary reissue. Of course, there’s still a chance that This Island—or, perish the thought, all of the albums above—will get such reissues sometime before the end of the year. But we’re not holding our breath.