Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rarities #40: Panic! At The Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out Box Set (2006)

A Fever You Can't Sweat Out is Panic! At The Disco's 2005 debut album. You might remember that they dropped the "!" for their second album Pretty.Odd, but recently, with the departure of two of the members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, the band (with the two surviving members) reinstated the "!" back into their name.

You might also remember P!ATD as the band with a penchant for long song titles, just like fellow American pop/rock band Fall Out Boy. It is no coincidence as P!ATD were the first band to be signed on to Decaydance, the record label founded by Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy.

This collector's edition of A Fever That You Can't Sweat Out is a real treat, one of the few box sets that shows much care has gone into its creation. The outer box has an intentional weathered look, and the inside is lined with faux red velvet, with gold hotstamping and the message "Beware of imitations".

There's a ton of goodies inside the box, including a poster, a masquerade mask, a phenakistoscope, 12 picture cards (one for each song on the album), a mini tour programme, 4 black and white pictures of the band, a blank diary, a fake newspaper and a certificate of authenticity.

FYI, a phenakistoscope is an animation device with a spinning disc attached vertically on a handle. When you spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc's reflection in a mirror, you will see a rapid succession of images with the appearance of a motion picture. In this case, of a lady dancing.

Of course, there's also the CD album, but not only that, there's an additional DVD not available elsewhere, containing live performances, a documentary and interviews.

Only 25,000 sets were produced worldwide, and the certificate comes with a unique serial number. Definitely one for keeps!

Rarities #39: Bon Jovi - These Days Japan A4 Book 2CD Edition (1996)

One of the gems I uncovered during my Japan trip, found this at a second hand store in Tokyo. This is a rare Japan only edition of Bon Jovi's 1995 studio album, These Days.

Released in 1996, it comes in an A4 size hard cover book, with 64 pages of rare photos, lyrics, essays, videography, discography for the band and solo projects, all in Japanese text. The These Days CD is the 14 track version.

Best of all, there's a bonus CD titled Karaoke Days, a 4-track minus one CD containing instrumental versions of These Days, Bed Of Roses, Someday I'll Be Saturday Night and In These Arms. It's not exactly "karaoke" as you can't change the key of the songs, but they're essentially instrumental tracks with the lead vocals removed. The backing vocals are still there.


Collectibles #29: Michael Jackson - This Is It Mobile & PC Edition (2009)

On my recent trip to Japan, I bought this Michael Jackson This Is It Mobile & PC Edition, which contains the This Is It movie on two portable formats - microSD and USB. You can slot the microSD card into your mobile phone and watch it on the go, or you can plug the USB flash drive stick into your netbook and watch it at Starbucks or whatever.

You don't get the movie in high definition as it has been resized to fit the mobile and PC screen, so you're still better off with the DVD or Blu Ray version to experience it in its best quality. The USB version would be useful for netbooks that don't come with a CD/DVD drive. But ultimately, this product is strictly for fans and collectors only.

It also comes in separate microSD and USB versions, but it is more value for money to get the combined version as the microSD and USB versions retail at 4,500 yen and 6,500 yen respectively, while the combined version retails at 10,000 yen, all prices tax inclusive.

The product is housed in a LP sized jacket with the Japanese obi strip, and it also includes the 24-page booklet of photos and 4 postcards, just like the Blu Ray version. There's also a cardboard stand for you to display the product.

This product is only available in Japan. Kingston did release the This Is It movie on 2GB USB in the US, but this is the only official version that is available on microSD card. As I walked through the CD stores in Japan, big and small ones, it's obvious that Michael Jackson is huge there. So it's no wonder they have released such a collector's edition product for Japanese fans only.