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30 April, 2008

No ultimate happiness, thanks

Last October, Marillion announced that they'd be repeating the 'Marbles' preorder scheme for their fifteenth studio album, the since-named 'Happiness Is The Road' *.  Those willing to pay more than the retail price, several months before the music has even been recorded, will obtain the double-album later in the year, packaged within two hardback books themselves in a substantial slipcase.  The books will contain Carl Glover artwork and the names of all everyone who preordered before 1 March, 2008.

Much as I'd loved 'Marbles' and that 'deluxe edition', I was deeply unimpressed by 'Somewhere Else', so decided to give the new preorder a miss: I want to hear audio samples before deciding whether to buy – I'm not taking anything on faith this time. However, H. (er, Helen, not Steve 'h' Hogarth!) told me it was very important that I didn't preorder by the deadline, so I have a vague idea about my next birthday present....

Yesterday, Marillion solicited opinions on whether to release an Ultimate Edition of 'Happiness...', in addition to the existing pre-order Deluxe Edition.

Our initial idea would be to include the entire 'Happiness is the Road' double album on 4 vinyl LPs, a 24-bit/96kHz Hi-definition Audio DVD, a 5.1 surround sound mix of some or all the double album on DVD-A, and a large format (12x12-inch) deluxe artwork book packaged in a special box, numbered and personally autographed by the whole band. This 'Ultimate Edition' would be priced at £150, made in very limited quantities and for a limited time only.
We might be able to include MORE goodies in the box – such as guitar picks, drumsticks, and separate master audio files on a data DVD for you to remix.
People have been asked to register interest at, mentioning any further suggestions, or disinterest at, saying why.

This is my response to the 'no' address:

The idea of a super-duper Ultimate Edition of 'Happiness Is The Road' is an interesting one, but not something I'd go for myself. I'm not really interested in collectibles, nor in obtaining albums in multiple formats. Just the CDs, please - no vinyl or DVD-A, thanks.

I really liked the Deluxe Edition of 'Marbles', but that's as elaborate as I'd go – a limited edition box is still just a box, after all.

There seem to be a lot of these OTT 'special editions' recently (which is probably why Marillion are joining the bandwagon train), but I don't see the attraction.
  • I'm interested in the content of a book, DVD or CD, not the object itself, so I find it difficult to comprehend (quite literally) the desire to own things for the sake of owning things. I can appreciate a particularly well-designed or attractive object, but not the mere fact that an object exists: "it's-another-Marillion-release-don't-care-what-it-is-I've-GOT-to-have-it".
  • I could understand the desire to obtain an album at the highest possible sound quality, but if one had a DVD-A why would anyone also want a CD or LP of exactly the same music?
  • I don't play the guitar or drums, so why would I be interested in a shaped piece of plastic or wood which happens to feature a band's logo?
  • I can just about see why someone might want a cardboard box which has been in physical contact with that person's favourite musicians, and been signed as proof, but I still think that's rather pathetic.

*: Horribly twee title, in my opinion.


I agree with you totally. I have a small number of collectibles covering various subjects, but that number is VERY small, as something has to have a rather special meaning to me to be put on my shelf. Plus I have limited space!

The offer of a Deluxe edition from Marillion is rather interesting considering that the their song "Beautiful" took aim at excessive consumerism: "...we live in a world where what we call beautiful is just something on sale..." etc. The song "Map of the World" contains something along those lines, too.

Ah, well...

Posted by David at May 6, 2008 07:38 PM
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