Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rarities #43: Foo Fighters - Wasting Light Deluxe Pre-Order Package (2011)

So happy to get my hands on this limited edition Foo Fighters Wasting Light Deluxe set! It's a pre-order item, limited to 500 sets only! It was selling for US$79.99, but with shipping, it cost me US$111.99, which works out to around SGD$140. Pretty pricey, but I couldn't care less.

Here are the contents:

- Wasting Light CD, with a piece of the original master tape
- Wasting Light 2xLP gatefold vinyl
- Wasting Light digital download
- Black 3-inch iron-on patch with Gold Circle FF embroidery
- Black Beer Coosie with Gold Circle FF embroidery
- Black terry wristband with Gold Circle FF embroidery
- Black "Gold Cover" T-shirt - black, 30singles cotton, slim-fit shirt with one-colour gold water-based print (I chose Small size)
- Acrylic 3-inch x 5-inch, crystal clear display case and stand with beveled edges, UV protection, and gold screws. Each case is laser engraved with the FF logo, "Foo Fighters Wasting Light" text, and is individually numbered. Limited to 500. (Mine is number 364)
- Limited edition, 15-inch x 15-inch, hand-numbered and signed by the band Lithograph of the Wasting Light cover. Limited to 500. (Mine is number 370)

Think I'm super lucky to have managed to order this, cos it wasn't very well publicised. It appeared at the bottom of their 15 March newsletter, and once I saw it, I immediately placed my order. Apparently it was sold out the same day, within hours. Phew!

This package was designed by design and development studio The Uprising, of which FF is long time client. The iron-on patch, beer coosie and wristband are alright, but I really love the individually-numbered acrylic stand and of course, the autographed lithograph. I couldn't figure out how to assemble the acrylic stand, but with the help of the FF message boards, I finally managed to put it together.

It's a great idea for FF to cut up the original master tapes and include a piece of it in the first shipment of the album. It's a nice little treat for those who buy the physical album. Granted, there's only so much tape and not every copy of the album will have it, but it's a nice idea and a real treat for those who get it.

The T-shirt is really nice, soft and fitting (though the sleeves are a little short), and I'm gonna wear it to the Back And Forth film preview party at Beer Market on 27 April, organised by Sony Music Singapore. Can't wait to watch the film!

Coming to the album itself, I really, really like it. Took me about seven spins to get into it, and I'm listening to it everyday since I downloaded the digital album. I'm very confident it will be nominated for Album of the Year at next year's Grammy Awards, alongside Adele's 21 (which has also been on repeat mode).

The first six songs are the bomb. The album starts off strongly with the fast rocking Bridge Burning, followed by the excellent first single Rope, with its addictive syncopated guitar riff and amazing drum and guitar solo mid song. Dear Rosemary has a catchy beat, a sing-along chorus and an instantly hummable guitar part. White Limo has Dave Grohl revisiting his screamo past, and the hilarious music video is a real treat, where the normally subdued Nate Mendel takes centrestage and shows off his funny side.

Track 5 is my favourite song on the album - Arlandria. It's an unlikely choice, but it's the song that sticks in my head the most. The chorus sounds like "I'm angrier", but I later realised it's "Arlandria". It's quite a simple song actually, but the chorus just stays in your head.

These Days is another likely candidate for a single. It's a mid-tempo, medium rock tune with a catchy chorus as well. And the lyrics are quite good: One of these days the clocks will stop and time don't mean a thing / One of these days the bombs will drop and silence everything.

The next two songs - Back & Forth and A Matter Of Time, sound a little similar. They're the "pop songs" on this record, and not that it's a bad thing. Miss The Misery is an ok song, notable for giving rise to the album title in its lyrics: Don't change your mind / Your wasting light / Getting this?

I Should Have Known is the song that naturally attracts attention, as it features ex-Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic on bass and accordion, making it a mini Nirvana reunion, with Nevermind producer Butch Vig twiddling the knobs on this album as well. The song starts off slowly before building up into one epic ending. It's not immediately captivating but repeated listenings will get you hooked.

The album closes perfectly with Walk, which is likely to be the next single, as it is highlighted on the album sticker. It's something that radio can put on high rotation - not too heavy while still sounding very characteristic of the Foos. The buildup to the end is fantastic and brings the whole album to a satisfying conclusion.

Critics have been heaping praise on the album, claiming it's their best since their first two albums. The Colour And The Shape will always be Number One in my books, and I think Wasting Light may have just nudged Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace into Number Three spot.

The Foos teased about a Singapore performance when they posted a message on their Facebook page on 20 April that read: "Hi Singapore, Thank you for making Wasting Light # 1! hope we see you soon at a rock show." That was enough to send me into delirium. Hope it's true, so I can catch them live again. Come on!

The package opened

All the goodies!

The autographed, individually-numbered lithograph

Please play at maximum volume!

The piece of the original master tape was inserted within the booklet

Iron-on patch

Wrist band

Beer cossie

The individually-numbered acrylic case

The perplexing stand which took a while to assemble

With the piece of master tape safely inserted and screwed tight between the plates

Here's the finished product

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Collectibles #34: Panic! At The Disco - Vices & Virtues Box Set (2011)

Vices & Virtues is Panic! At The Disco's third studio album, following A Fever You Can't Sweat Out (2005) and Pretty.Odd (2008). The band has undergone several transformations over the past few years, both virtually and physically.

For their second album, they famously dropped the "!" from their name and simply became Panic At The Disco. For this third album, they reinstated the "!" after two of the original members, Ryan Ross (guitar) and Jon Walker (bass) walked out of the band in 2009 to form their own group The Young Veins, which is currently on hiatus. P!ATD are now represented as a two-man-band, fronted by Brendon Urie (lead vocals, guitar, piano) and Spencer Smith (drums).

The box set for their Fever album was totally tricked out and I had high hopes for this new box set as well. But its contents are not as lavish and polished as the Fever one, which had a really nice red velvet interior and much more interesting items, like the phenakistoscope and fake newspaper.

This Vices box set feels lightweight and flimsy. Even the certificate of authenticity is printed on thin stock paper, making it feel like a flyer rather than a certificate. And there isn't a single interesting item at all, just the standard stuff - postcards, fold-out poster, lyric booklet and a round postcard with the clock face printed on. Heck, even making the hands of the clock movable will make it that little bit more fun.

The CD contains four bonus tracks and the bonus DVD contains four clips - the music video for first single The Ballad of Mona Lisa (which is a decent rock track, but not mind-blowing), the making of the Mona Lisa video and two documentaries titled In The Studio with "Nearly Witches" (about the recording of a children's choir for the track Nearly Witches) and Get Me Out Of My Mind (the making of the Vices & Virtues album).

This box set is limited to 6,000 worldwide and is available in limited quantities in Singapore. I think this is purely for the collectors only, nothing really to die for.

Front of the slipcase

Back of the slipcase

The box opened up, revealing the Vices and Virtues sides

The two sliding drawers

The two drawers fully extended and removed

The Vices side (the dark side)

The CD contains four bonus tracks

The rather flimsy certificate of authenticity

The "bad" Spencer and Brendon

The Virtues side (the good side)

The wholesome Spencer and Brendon

Bonus DVD not available anywhere else

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rarities #42: Michael Jackson Limited Edition iPad (2010)

This limited edition, individually-numbered Michael Jackson iPad is one super Rarity for sure - only 150 sets produced in the world! I won it after taking part in a digital download contest. Mind you, the contest mechanic was: download the Michael album as many times as possible, and the top downloader wins. So I spent a few hundred of dollars downloading the album and gifting it to my friends, so technically, this iPad isn't free. But it is still worth it. :)

This iPad model is the lowest range in the iPad family - 16GB, Wi-fi only, no 3G. So it's a very basic model. But it's definitely one for keeps more than anything. It came pre-loaded with the Michael album in the iPod (not like I need it!), and also the Michael wallpaper.

Definitely one of my most treasured MJ memorabilia! And no, it's not for sale at any price. :) Enjoy the pics...