Each month we handpick a collection of reissues, limited editions or just straight classic long-players that deserve a place in any record collection; this time it’s Split Enz’ rainbow palette of pop goodness True Colours, a remastered double-LP classic from the man who changed blues forever – Jimi Hendrix – and more!
Blue, Green, Orange, Or Yellow Vinyl
Over four albums, Split Enz had begun flirting with chart success as their tunes became increasingly less artsy and more poppy. That change can be partially attributed to the arrival of band founder Tim Finn’s younger brother Neil, replacing Phil Judd in 1977 and bringing uncanny pop nous to the already potent songwriting mixture.
Come time for their fifth album, it was Neil’s song I Got You, released the same day as the long-player in January 1980, that dropped a pop explosion that sounds as fresh today as when it first endeared itself to a nation of Countdown viewers.
But it was just one of 11 tracks to feature on the landmark album, with not a duff one amongst the array of often more reflective tracks.
Opener Shark Attack plumbs the energy and attitude of storming earlier single, I See Red, while upping that pop ante once again. I Got You follows, while things remain upbeat with the catchy-as, question mark-free Neil banger What’s the Matter with You. Double Happy offers a boppy instrumental reprieve before things become deeper with the Tim Finn double I Wouldn’t Dream of It and I Hope I Never. S
ide two ups the “up” again by kicking off with the wild Nobody Takes Me Seriously before more pop brilliance in the form of the Neil-penned Missing Person. Another Tim soon-to-be-classic follows in Poor Boy, before all the longing of How Can I Resist Her (also sans question mark) finishes up the vocal contributions before keyboardist Eddie Rayner gets to shine on closer The Choral Sea. Speaking of Rayner, he both remixed and remastered all 11 tracks that feature on this 40th anniversary spectacular. No matter which of the four colours you grab, it remains a true pop milestone.
TOP TRACK: I Got You
FAST FACT: The four different re-release covers echo the first four original releases. Eventually, ten variations were available commercially, while a super-rare black and white promo-only one is every Enz collector’s dream.
2 x 180gm Vinyl Reissue
When it comes to guitar virtuosos, Jimi Hendrix is arguably the greatest of all time. His career may have burned brightly yet briefly due to his accidental death in 1970, but the wealth of incredible tracks that he left behind is astonishing. Drop your stylus anywhere on any of the four sides of this set, and you’ll win.
Just the three singles that preceded the first album – Hey Joe, Purple Haze, and The Wind Cries Mary – all reveal a sound that pays tribute to rock and blues that came before him, while changing things up influentially like few after him. 20 tracks have been digitally remastered for this release, including smashes like Foxy Lady and the Dylan reinterpretation All Along the Watchtower and concludes with the incendiary performance of The Star-Spangled Banner live at Woodstock.
TOP TRACK: The Wind Cries Mary
FAST FACT: American-born Hendrix took a circuitous route to fame in his native country, moving to England in 1966 and having three top ten hits there before finally breaking through at the US Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
Perhaps it takes three albums for the sexual repression bottled from years travelling between pop-up preaching tents with your Pentecostal minister father for the dam to burst. Whatever it was, Caleb Followill’s rasping, pleading, almost broken declaration that “your sex is on fire” seared across 2008’s airwaves, and fans immediately understood the shivering desire.
Kings of Leon followed Sex on Fire with triple-Grammy-winning second single Use Somebody (the singles hit #1 and #3 in 2008’s Hottest 100, respectively), but the legacy of this LP – and its fiddly official styling, >ONLY_ BY_THE_NIGHT> – was sealed by the energy in-between those two hits: the bittersweet saunter of Manhattan, the sprawling glam of 17, the romantic throb of I Want You, and the adrenaline-thump of Be Somebody.
TOP TRACK: I Want You
FAST FACT: While initially joking that Sex on Fire was about STDs, Caleb Followill told Triple J in 2008 that the song was originally titled Set Us on Fire, but a sound mixer at the studio at which they recorded the track heard the phrase incorrectly, and the new chorus lyrics stuck.
What’s Going On signified a seismic shift for Gaye on both a personal and artistic level. Embattled with drug addiction, failing relationships, and money issues, Gaye was lampooned by Motown founder Berry Gordy when he presented the title track for appraisal. Undeterred, Gaye, who also produced the album, completed the remaining tracks in ten days, determined to assert creative control over his career.
The result was a socially conscious, cohesive concept album from the perspective of a veteran returning from the Vietnam War. Layered with doo-wop harmonies and smooth jazz tones, What’s Going On is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums committed to wax. This pressing is presented in its original gatefold format.
TOP TRACK: Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
FAST FACT: The saxophone riff at the beginning of What’s Going On, played by Eli Fontaine, was an accident. He was running through some experimentation and wasn’t aware he was playing on an actual take.