Happy birthday, Record Store Day!
The global celebration of the humble record shop kicked off ten years ago, at a point when vinyl sales were languishing and many predicted the format’s demise.
The subsequent vinyl resurgence owes no small debt to Record Store Day, an annual attempt to get shoppers to part with their hard-earned on some limited edition items.
As the event has grown, though, Record Store Day has gained criticism for losing sight of its core aims.
Looking over the release list for this year’s event, a number of projects sprang out as being, well, a little un-necessary.
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Aqua – ‘Aquarium’
The Danish bubblegum-pop group absolutely owned 1997 with their mega-hit ‘Barbie Girl’, and subsequent debut album ‘Aquarium’. Twenty years later, their music still carries potential sentimental value, a nice flashback maybe. Yet the virgin pressing of ‘Aquarium’ for this year’s record store day raises the question: should everything really should be released on vinyl? Even if it is light blue, we’re tempted to say no...
Neil Young – ‘Decade’
For generations, ‘Decade’ was their Neil Young entrance point – a handy primer that leaped from Buffalo Springfield to the end of his golden 70s run. It’s been re-pressed and re-packaged countless times, a steady warhorse that just keeps on giving. It’s a fantastic collection, but this could drop at any time - Record Store Day should really be for something a little more special.
Those Prince releases.
Clash loves Prince. Absolutely. Without question. But the inclusion of no less than seven Prince releases in this year’s list feels a little… well, exploitative. Let’s not forget that the star himself had so truculent a relationship with major labels that he took to writing ‘SLAVE’ on his face and turned his name into a quiggle. So do we really need a half-dozen re-pressings of famous cuts? A cynic could argue this has more to do with underlining the commercial power of his legacy, rather than excavating those famed vaults.
Little Mix - 'Glory Days'
The fourth Little Mix album has only been out for a few months, and the lead single ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ is still in high rotation, but the pop outfit have decided to leap on board the vinyl resurgence. Though Little Mix’s contribution to Record Store Day is a special neon-pink pressing of the album, a change of colour fails to make the release feel more relevant or exciting. You do get an exclusive poster, though, so there’s always that.
Pretty much everything Peter Hook is releasing this year.
Good year for Peter Hook fans... pic.twitter.com/h98zGWo0bO— Alcopop! Records (@ilovealcopop) March 21, 2017
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And just to prove we're not that cynical... we'll be posting an alternative list of five gems from this year's list later.