The Top 20 Vinyl Reissues of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 28, 2017 05:14pm | Post a Comment

Top 20 Vinyl Reissues of 2017

A bumper crock of quality vinyl reissues rocked our world this past year. A steady stream of (sort of) new and improved LPs from heavy hitters kept our turntables spinning, as did a nice selection of cleaned up soon-to-be-classic releases from some of our recent favorites. The top sellers at our stores in 2017 were an intriguing mix of eternally cool masterpieces, revered releases by the dearly departed, and long out-of-print rarities available for the first time on vinyl. Read on for the good, the bad (in a cool way), and the super ultra expanded editions that made a splash at Amoeba over the past twelve months.

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

20. Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes [180-gram White Vinyl]

Back in September 2014, Radiohead's Thom Yorke released his second solo album as a bit torrent bundle. The record was summarily downloaded several hundred thousand times and is now on its third vinyl pressing. The album is a sonic manifestation of what trying a new avenue would sound like. Yorke sounds very playful in this ambient glitch atmosphere he has created. It is in that spirit of playfulness where the record shines. There is little expectation having been almost 10 years since his last solo outing and therefore there is no grave preciousness attached. Refreshing and flighty, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is a piece from Thom Yorke that questions ownership. His or otherwise. 

George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice

19. George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice

Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was George Michael's second solo album and featured one of his biggest hits, "Freedom 90." It was remastered and reissued in three formats this year, but the LP was tops for us. The vinyl features the original album, while the 2CD and limited edition 3CD + DVD box sets also include his 1996 MTV Unplugged performance.

Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (half speed remaster)

18. Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) [Half Speed Remaster]

Inspired by a Chinese revolutionary opera, the production on Eno's sophomore LP was guided by Oblique Strategies, a series of notecards created by Eno and Peter Schmidt to facilitate the creative process. While the album's sound is considered more upbeat than much of Eno's early discography, the lyrical themes are dark, delving into material such as plane crashes, Maoist politics, and insane asylums. This is the first of several half speed Eno remasters to appear on our list. These LPs were cut at 45rpm for a higher frequency response and maximum sound quality.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

17. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

Fever to Tell, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 2003 debut studio album, was newly remastered and reissued on 180-gram vinyl. Containing their huge song "Maps," this version also includes 5 newspaper lyric posters with exclusive photos.

Brian Eno - Before And After Science (half speed remaster)

16. Brian Eno - Before And After Science [Half Speed Remaster]

After this 1977 LP, Eno began moving more and more towards the ambient sound that would characterize most of his late '70s output. Over a hundred tracks were written for the album; only ten made it onto the final cut. The album's cast of all-star collaborators includes members of Roxy Music, Free, Fairport Convention, Can, Hawkwind, and Cluster.

David Bowie - Young Americans

15. David Bowie - Young Americans

Parlophone's Bowie reissue campaign started in February 2017 with six albums being released on remastered 180-gram vinyl and CD. Several of these reissues appear on this list, the first of which is Bowie's 1975 album,Young Americans. He was moving from glam to R&B influences and recorded Young Americans with a little help from Luther Vandross and Sly & the Family Stone drummer Andy Newmark. Like the other studio LPs in this campaign, both the LP and CD feature audio from the 2016 remasters.

Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile

14. Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile [Definitive Edition]

Trent Reznor's follow-up to his breakthrough album, The Downward Spiral, The Fragile stepped away from the heavy industrial sounds of Nine Inch Nails for a more ambient feel, with its electronic beats and melodies. It has been reissued on 180-gram triple vinyl, as part of Reznor's “Definitive Editions” series, and features remastered audio and artwork.

Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing (12" inch remix)

13. Jane’s Addiction - Been Caught Stealing [12" Remix Version] 

The biggest single off 1990's Ritual de lo Habitual, “Been Caught Stealing,” was reissued as a limited edition 12” this year for Record Store Day. The record features the original album version, a remix, and “L.A. Medley,” a combination of The Doors' “L.A. Woman,” X's “Nausea,” and The Germs' “Lexicon Devil” that Jane's Addiction occasionally played at concerts.  

Madonna - Confessions On A Dance Floor

12. Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor [Pink Vinyl]

Reissued on double pink vinyl, Confessions on a Dance Floor was Madonna's throwback record in a sense, incorporating disco elements into her club sound. With tracks that run seamlessly together and samples from the likes of ABBA and The Bee Gees, the album earned her a Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2007.  

David Bowie - Diamond Dogs

11. David Bowie - Diamond Dogs

Last year's remaster of the Bowie classic Diamond Dogs received its 180-gram vinyl release in February as part of the Parlophone reissue campaign. The 1974 album was Bowie's first after dissolving the Spiders From Mars, trading in the glam rock sound for raucous guitar licks – played by Bowie himself - and nihilistic lyrics inspired by George Orwell's 1984.

The Cure - Acoustic Hits

10. The Cure - Acoustic Hits

Acoustic Hits, the second disc from The Cure's 2001 Greatest Hits compilation, received its own release this year as a double LP. The album features acoustic versions of the impressive track listing on Greatest Hits, spanning their career from "A Forest" on 1980's Seventeen Seconds to the 2001 songs recorded just for the compilation, "Cut Here" and "Just Say 'Yes.'"

The Smiths - The Queen is Dead [5LP]

9. The Smiths - The Queen is Dead [5LP]

The Smiths' eponymous classic from 1986, The Queen is Dead, which spawned timeless singles like, "There Is a Light and It Never Goes Out" and "Big Mouth Strikes Again," was given the deluxe treatment with this 5LP release. The set includes the 2017 remaster, the Live In Boston recording, plus demos, alternate takes, and additional recordings, packaged in a lift off box.

Tori Amos - Y Kant Tori Read

8. Tori Amos - Y Kant Tori Read [Black Friday Orange Vinyl]

The Great White Whale for Tori Amos fans, Y Kant Tori Read is the bizarrely titled, since-disowned debut from the renowned singer-songwriter. A thoroughly '80s synthpop album in every way, and bearing little resemblance to the work that would bring her widespread acclaim, Y Kant Tori Read is nonetheless wildly entertaining and catchy. Heavily bootlegged, this is the first official vinyl reissue since its original release in 1988. No more tracking down fake copies on eBay for $150!

David Bowie - Station to Station

7. David Bowie - Station To Station

Bowie’s Thin White Duke period may have been short lived, but it brought about some of the most beloved and unique material in his career. Station To Station is a funky yet distinctly alienated take on soul music that includes classics such as “Golden Years” and “TVC15,” remastered and reissued on 180-gram vinyl.

Brian Eno - Another Green World [Half Speed Remaster]

6. Brian Eno - Another Green World [Half Speed Master]

Another Green World is where Eno’s sound really began to become his own unique creation, entirely removed from contemporary trends or styles in pop music. With fourteen songs and only five featuring vocals, it also marked a transitional phase from his earlier glam-inspired work to the ambient work that would define his career for the next few decades. This half speed master presents his 1975 masterpiece on two 180-gram vinyl records that play at 45rpm for a higher frequency response and maximum sound quality.

Panic at the Disco Pretty Odd

5. Panic at the Disco - Pretty. Odd.

For their 2008 sophomore LP and first reissue of the year, the emo heartthrobs got a little out there. Instead of doubling down on the formula that made their debut such a commercial success, the band largely ditched the electropop elements as well as absurd song names. Instead, the sound of Pretty. Odd. is rooted more in Beatles and Elliott Smith-inspired melodicism, as well as a more traditional, “organic” rock production.

John Frusciante Niandra LaDes And Usually Just A T-Shirt

4. John Frusciante - Niandra LaDes And Usually Just A T-Shirt

The former Red Hot Chili Peppers' guitarist’s harrowing 1994 debut was released onto vinyl for the first time this year. No hits to be found here, but fans of lo-fi indie rock and weird vibes will find plenty to love.

Panic at the disco Fever You Can't Sweat Out

3. Panic at the Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out

Emo heroes P!ATD have their debut album reissued and housed in a spiffy new gatefold sleeve. Merging the brash guitars and maximum angst of the genre with electronic influences and really long song titles, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out won the hearts of teenagers everywhere back in 2005. A seminal album of mid-Aughts guitar pop, Warped Tour nostalgia notwithstanding.

Radiohead OK Computer OKNOTOK

2. Radiohead - OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997-2017

What is there left to say about OK Computer? As with the #1 record on our list, Radiohead’s 1997 masterpiece is one of those untouchably perfect records that are instant canon upon release and only grow in stature since that time. Well, it just so happens that OKNOTOK belongs to that rare class of reissues that don’t just present the album in its definitive form (via a shiny new remastering job), but adds to it with rare, previously unheard material of equal quality to the album itself. The third LP in this set features nearly a full album of songs recorded in that same period which didn’t make the cut, including 3 that had been previously referred to as the holy grail of unreleased Radiohead material. For a listening experience that has been over 20 years in the making, OKNOTOK is well worth the wait.

The Beatles Sgt Pepper

1. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [Anniversary Edition]

Yes, you’ve all heard this one. Yet you’ve never heard it quite like this, that’s for sure. Sgt. Pepper’s turned 50 back in June, and to celebrate, Capitol Records reissued the legendary album in a deluxe, four LP anniversary edition that features two brand new stereo mixes. Sides 1 & 2 feature an updated take on the band-approved mono mix, sourced from the original four-track session tapes and remastered into stereo by Giles Martin (son of George) and Sam Okell. Sides 3 & 4 houses an alternate version of Sgt. Pepper’s entirely, culling material from unreleased studio takes and presenting them in sequential order. A treat for casual fans and hardcore fanatics alike.


Relevant Tags

Best Of 2017 (19), Vinyl Reissues (16), Thom Yorke (12), Radiohead (39), George Michael (6), Brian Eno (20), Yeah Yeah Yeahs (12), David Bowie (85), Parlophone (1), Nine Inch Nails (17), Jane's Addiction (5), Madonna (47), The Cure (44), Record Store Day (173), The Smiths (41), Tori Amos (13), Panic At The Disco (2), John Frusciante (7), The Beatles (54)