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March 02, 1995 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4 The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, March 2, 1995

Soundgarden: Black hol

By Ted Watts _
Daily Weekend Editor
Look at the singles racks in a large
enough music store and you will see a
large amount of imported singles.
Hailing from Germany, England,
Australia and other nations, these discs
often contain new songs not other-
wise available domestically. This is
good. These singles also often cost as
much as an entire domestic album.
This is bad.
Most people who are big enough
fans of a given band will buy a single
that has a unique song on it. But the
price tag, which often reads up to $14,
can cause serious consternation for
the serious fan. What's more, there
are sometimes multiple foreign issu-
ances for a given single. There is only
one song that each of these herds of
singles is focused on, but the periph-
eral and often unique songs can differ
widely.
Take, for example, the recent
Soundgarden single "Fell On Black
Days." There were recently four issu-
ances of this single in Europe. The
first two are German and designed to
ultimately reside in the same double
package, although they are sold sepa-
rately. The first of these is the LP
version of "Fell On Black Days" as
well as a demo version of the song, a
track called "Motorcycle Loop" and a
cover of the Devo song "Girl U Want."
The demo is an extremely different
version of "Fell On Black Days" that is
essentially unrecognizable as aprecur-
sor to the final version. "Motorcycle
Loop" is basically the sound of a mo-
torcycle speeding up and being mixed

around with a word or two thrown into
the background, nearly inaudibly. "Girl
U Want" has already been released on
several otherSoundgarden singles. This
should be a good thing for
Soundgardeners. But then there are the
other singles.
The second German single also
leads off with the LP version of "Fell
On Black Days." It also has a song
called "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard"
which hasn't been seen before, the
song "Birth Ritual" found domesti-
cally on the "Singles" soundtrack and
a live version of "Fell On Black Days."
At this point, the collector must be
wondering why "Kyle Petty, Son of
Richard" wasn't just tacked onto the
end of the first single. Another thought
that might occur to this collector might
be "Why do both CDs in this two-CD
set start with the same version of the
same song?" It would make sense to
start the CD with the live version of
"Fell On Black Days" and include
another non-album track. But maybe
there wasn't another track laying
around.
The first English single shatters
that notion, though. In addition to
(you guessed it) the LP version of
"Fell On Black Days," the CD has
"Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" and the
video version of "Fell On Black
Days." Despite being a horribly flat
and discordant mutilation of the song,
the video version would have made
the second German single a much
more attractive bit of plastic as it
would have nearly justified the exist-
ence of two discs for the single. But
instead, a unique (if unattractive soni-
cally) track was put on this third disc.
The fourth disc, thankfully, contains
nothing not found on the two German
versions (but not containing every-
thing otherwise unique on the Ger-
man singles). It does, of course, con-
tain the LP version of "Fell On Black
Days."
There are also some art differences
in the singles. The basic image on all

I

e money pit.
the discs is of a wall of trees with a
cloud hovering over them, the moon
glowing through the cloud. The differ-
ences on the individual versions con-
sist of color variations on the image
and different placement of the text.
One version adds the words "Contains
exclusive bonus tracks" to
"Soundgarden" and "Fell On Black
Days." Ironically, this is the second *
English version, the one whose pur-
chase is completely unnecessary be-
cause everything on it is on the Ger-
man singles. When put side by side,
the color variations are rather strik-
ing, but really add nothing to the
music.
The point of illustrating all this is
that it is essentially useless to the
consumer to have all these versions
exist. The four non-live songs found
only on the "Fell On Black Days"
singles could easily fit on one single
release along with the LP version of
the song, and the different cover ver-
sions are useless in terms"of the mu-
sic. Even with a policy of only four
songs on a single there is no need for
more than two versions.
There would seem, then, to be a
policy of label greed at work. Despite
the differences in the international fac-
ets of A&M, it would seem clear that
there are a dfew too many versions tof
this single out there. And unlike the
release of many versions of
Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun"
single, the versions of "Fell On Black
Days" have songs a collector would
need to acquire. There is certainly
more money to be made on this ven-
ture.
Finally, an observation. An im-
ported bootleg costs from $25-$30 and
can have from 15 to 25 tracks. The cost
of buying the three singles with unique
tracks new would cost at least $36.
Bootleggers with an ability to move
quickly should note this for future ref-
erence.
I wonder: Will there be a domestic
release, too?

Soundgarden is a fine unit, but they sure do Issue a whole bunch of singles.

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