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24 Nov 12 | Re: The poor old unloved, overlooked CD single | Link-U-Post

Documentary on BBC4 this week about singles. (It is on the iPlayer but I won’t link to it because it’ll be gone in a week.) Now it is quite good, but it’s all about the 7 inches. There isn’t anything wrong with 7 inches, but why overlook the CD single?

There’s no denying that the CD single is somewhat unloved. The 7 inch has plenty of cheerleaders who are all dying to go on the TV and bang on about the ritual and the shortness of it and the crackle and how evocative the sleeves were, but where are the CD single supporters?

I refuse to believe that I am the only one, because CD singles were great. When I was buying them from the mid-90s onwards, they were a clear advance on the 7 inch. Even leaving aside the convenience, clarity and reliability of CDs over vinyl, the huge advantage was the extra length. You didn’t just get a B-side, but a C and D side as well – until the grouches at the chart company put a limit of three tracks on them all, but even then, you almost always got your three tracks.

And not just any tracks. The B-sides were variable, sure, but in an effort to bulk out the listing, you often got:

At its best, a good CD single was like a mini-album. In fact it was better, because if all four tracks were killer, there was no filler at all. Admittedly not every D, C, B or even A-side was any good, but the fact that you had very likely never heard the three extras before when you bought the disc, and they might be awful, made it all the better when they were off the hook.

So, in the spirit of partially redressing the vinyl-worshipping imbalance of the above-mentioned documentary, and all other media, here’s a look at five gems from my personal CD single collection:

OK, I hope you’ve enjoyed my little tribute to the joys of the CD single, and if you know anyone else who likes them as much as I do, please put them in touch. You’ll be lucky to find an advocate for cassette singles, though. I only ever bought two, both early 90s ragga, and one of them I saw on CD for cheaper in another shop later that day.

Posted by MERCUTIO at 11:33

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