Mere days after revealing they were reissuing Radiohead’s CD singles as 12” vinyl, Capitol/EMI announced yesterday that they would also re-release Radiohead’s first three album as 2-CD and 2-CD/1-DVD sets. The new sets for Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK Computer are Capitol’s latest attempt to profit off Radiohead after the band fled from the label in 2007. While it’s easy to accuse Capitol of milking the cash cow once again, these sets are pretty comprehensive, compiling most of the band’s B-sides from that era onto their respective discs and throwing in some live tracks. However, the sets boast no previously unreleased material. All three albums are due out March 24th.
Additionally, the “Special Collectors Editions” will include a DVD featuring all the band’s music videos from the respective album, plus television performances from the era and one full concert, a May 27th, 1994 show from London’s Astoria. Unfortunately, to obtain the entire live performance of the Astoria concert, you’d have to buy both the “Special” Pablo and Bends, as the concert bridges both DVDs. Or you could just buy that Radiohead: Live at the Astoria DVD that came out in 2005 but has been around in VHS form since 1995. And to get all the band’s music videos, you could just buy the Radiohead: The Best Of DVD that Capitol released just this past June.
For those just now discovering the Radiohead catalog, these sets probably beat simply buying the old, bare-bones version of OK Computer, as new fans won’t have to scramble through import singles and message boards to collate all the band’s B-sides. For the diehards, however, the sets simply represent stuffing a bunch of music everyone already has into one neat box. The sets could have featured studio versions of songs like “Lift,” “Big Boots” and “True Love Waits,” tracks fans have clamored for for years, but instead it’s another missed opportunity.