Completism, being a Completist: C/D?

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There may have been a thread on this before but I can't find it. I think almost everyone will agree that completism in general is a dud, but where is the line drawn? Do you find yourself buying the 2nd and 3rd tier of a favorite artist only to be disappointed? Or do you find that there's always something redeeming about these "non-essential" releases? And after you've exhausted the "official" catalog, do you feel the need to get into b-sides, singles, ep's, demos, bootlegs, commentary tracks(!?), demented scribblings, side project detritus, etc?

Personally, I always have this nagging feeling that I'm not "done" with certain artists, even though I have 99% of their stuff. There's always those un-mixed alternate takes and those Japanese-only demos that are tantalizingly out of reach. It's madness, I tell ya.

Keith C (kcraw916), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 15:29 (fourteen years ago) link

It can be rewarding with the right artist, the type that hides the best stuff on b-sides, etc. I've had fun being a Sonic Boom completist.

Silky Sensor (sexyDancer), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:03 (fourteen years ago) link

It's sometimes worthwhile to trace an artists development backwards to the point when it really started happening.

And enlightening sometimes to discover early work that is actually not very good, but with seeds of greatness still present.

I still try and draw a line somewhere on a quality basis, even with mp3's. I'm not actually much of a completist then, or maybe just someone who realises that 'complete' is virtually always an unattainable goal, so... why try!

username.... non, Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:07 (fourteen years ago) link

Completism if the material's consistent? Classic.

What we want? Sex with T.V. stars! What you want? Ian Riese-Moraine! (Eastern Ma, Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:10 (fourteen years ago) link

I've become incompletist lately. Gotten rid of albums by artists who I have other albums by, and such. Y'know, like, do I really need more than one Johnny Dowd album?
Yet, I just bought that King Kong reissue and ordered a Sadies 7" in french, and I don't even have a turntable anymore.

Huk-L, Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:12 (fourteen years ago) link

I've never been a completist. Even with my favourite artists/genre (dEUS, Fleetwood Mac, Joni M, Madonna, No Wave,...) I can't be arsed to find everything. I usually get fed up with it or just *move* on. I usually crave for something different by the time I nearly have everything.

nathalie barefoot in the head (stevie nixed), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:14 (fourteen years ago) link

I've taken stabs in the past at being a Miles, Coltrane, and King Crimson completist. I stopped at the very early and very late records for the former two, and the latter pretty much broke me of the completist mentality.

I am a brass band completist, but that's pretty easy to keep up with since there are only about six bands who record and they each put out an album a year if I'm LUCKY, plus any bootlegs that happen to come my way.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:17 (fourteen years ago) link

Dud but addictive, there comes a time in everyone's life when you have to look yourself in the mirror and say, "Just how many Harry Nilsson albums does one man need to own??!??!"

Avoid the following: Zappa, Sun Ra, Lee Perry... that way lies financial and mental ruin

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:19 (fourteen years ago) link

I ridded myself of this mentality awhile back. I found that I rarely listened to the import cd-singles, japanese disc with bonus tracks, etc.

Although I'm very selective with my Fall purchases, I still have 30 releases, and I'm hankering to get more.

And I'll buy virtually anything on Fat Possum records, but these days I'm being more cautious.

Other than that, I'm pretty happy with owning official full-lengths by artists. If they have a large catalog, I do some research, and stick with the generally recognized classics.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:26 (fourteen years ago) link

Most of the artists for whom I collected all I could get (Sparks, Roxy Music, Blondie) reached a point where their newest releases weren't as exciting to me. I'm sure I'll pick up 'No Exit' and 'Balls' in used bins eventually. I'm still a completist for local/regional bands I see regularly. I like supporting the underdogs, and it's easier, since they don't generally have much to collect!

Daniel Peterson (polkaholic), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:39 (fourteen years ago) link

used to be a gbv completist, now i feel... sated. but am generally a completist at heart - like the poster said above, ii dig being illuminated by an artists output as a whole, understanding it as a whole as well as in parts. i never seem to get tired of finding more stuff by people i love.

stevie (stevie), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:40 (fourteen years ago) link

"I've taken stabs in the past at being a Miles, Coltrane, and King Crimson completist."

You don't think it might have been sensible to start off with someone just a little less prolific?!?

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:51 (fourteen years ago) link

I was thinking about this because I just got American Stars 'n Bars last week, and I really have been enjoying it. Not a 'holy crap where ya been' kinda purchase, but simply a pleasant listen. I think all fans will agree this is not a 1st-tier Neil release, but it's gotten me thinking--where do I draw the line? Should I go through all the Geffen stuff that I don't have to make sure I'm not missing something? Neil's burned me before, esp. with his recent albums.

(A rhetorical question for illustrative purposes that can apply to anyone, I'm NOT looking to turn this into Neil Young S/D)

Keith C (kcraw916), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:51 (fourteen years ago) link

skip from Trans to Ragged Glory and you'll be ok.

Silky Sensor (sexyDancer), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:55 (fourteen years ago) link

You don't think it might have been sensible to start off with someone just a little less prolific?!?

But that's the only reason I was buying so many of their records! It's not like my end goal was "being a completist", it just seemed like there was so much DIFFERENT material to hear.

Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 16:55 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm probably by most sensible definitions a Beefheart completist.

I've contemplated being a Tom Waits completist, but once you get off the straight and narrow there's really just far too much stuff available to contemplate rationally.

I met a Bob Dylan completist once, which was a somewhat cautionary experience: he had something like 10,000 tapes and CDR's of gigs and outakes etc., and was still trading like a frenzied lunatic.

I have in the past been reasonably completist about The Damned, Buzzcocks, Killing Joke, Theatre Of Hate, The Smiths, Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout.

Back in those days, without the internet to tell you what was out there and how to find it, completism was so much easier 'though: it usually just meant buying the 12" and the 7" of any given single (even if you already had all the tracks on the album) and buying the odd bootleg record or tape that you happened to come across.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:02 (fourteen years ago) link

I used to know a Zappa completist....... 'nuff said?

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:05 (fourteen years ago) link

Which would be worse do you think: being a Zappa completist or being a Grateful Dead completist?

At least with Zappa I think you could be reasonably confident that it's all been painstakingly annotated and archived....

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Close call! Hard to tell which would be the more boring in polite company.

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:12 (fourteen years ago) link

Zappa leads me to think there's two different types of completism: one, where you have a massive official catalog, plus a long touring career with many bands (i.e. many worthwhile bootlegs). Then there's the Smiths/Cure type of completism, where you have to buy the EPs, the b-sides, the vinyl-only type of thing just to get one or two tunes. And I guess some artists are even guilty of both.

Country completism has to be the most insane, since so many big artists were really prolific and the albums are very unavailable (as opposed to jazz per se). I couldn't imagine trying to get everything by Johnny Cash or George Jones.

Keith C (kcraw916), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:13 (fourteen years ago) link

It only makes sense to be a Beefheart completist. It's not that hard to get everything, and of course you are going to want everything. There's not much super-rare stuff to track down other than a couple bootlegs here and there.

Stewart, do you have this?

http://www.rhinohandmade.com/artistink/index.mgi2

Stormy Davis (diamond), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:15 (fourteen years ago) link

'Fraid not - I've dropped hints for the last couple of Birthdays and Christmases but so far nada!

I'm more interested in stuff with the band(s) really. I'd rather like (at least a copy of) the CD with the poetry readings that comes with that set, but once you start to get into Don's art on any level above just enjoying images on the web or at a push going to an exhibition, you're getting into a whole new - and substantially more expensive - ballgame.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:20 (fourteen years ago) link

"It's not that hard to get everything"

I think that kind of depends on your definition of "everything"!

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:23 (fourteen years ago) link

haha, yeah I don't have it either. that is a little too rich for my blood! I'd love to browse a copy sometime though.

I think I have basically everything by the Captain recording-wise though! as well as Mallard albums and Mu albums and so forth. I guess I never picked up that Unconditionally Guaranteed-era boot that was floating around tho..

Stormy Davis (diamond), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:26 (fourteen years ago) link

What's the difference between a Completist and a Compleatist?

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Compleatists show off their sheet music collections at Renaissance fairs.

The Ghost of Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:43 (fourteen years ago) link

Really? I thought they showed off their collections of polyhedral dice and multicolored hexagonal graph paper at Gaming fairs. And shouldn't that be Faires?

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 18:40 (fourteen years ago) link

I think it's a total dud unless you are fantastically wealthy and/or at a point in your life where new music no longer interests you. (which is sad, but I'm not judging.) Otherwise, you're opting for something you've basically heard before over something totally new. I belive in being shallow but broad, rather than narrow and deep. (Deep and broad is, of course, ideal, but money and time are both finite, so it's not a real choice for most mortals.)

I think the only bands I even own every album by are Sleater-Kinney and the Dismemberment Plan.

Lyra Jane (Lyra Jane), Wednesday, 23 March 2005 22:57 (fourteen years ago) link

six months pass...
And after you've exhausted the "official" catalog, do you feel the need to get into b-sides, singles, ep's, demos, bootlegs, commentary tracks(!?), demented scribblings, side project detritus, etc?

when did "official" catalog stop meaning singles (listing both b-sides and singles seems redundant) and ep's?

Dan Gr (certain), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 08:09 (thirteen years ago) link

skip from Trans to Ragged Glory and you'll be ok.

I quite like both of those albums. Though not everything in between. Was that an exclusive or inclusive statement?

Ian John50n (orion), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 15:29 (thirteen years ago) link

two years pass...

i think catering for completists has ruined a lot of best of overview compilations. not everyone needs 2 full cds of an artist at once. especially when it includes not so good or not that interesting early material instead of the hits/unquestionably good stuff.

titchyschneiderMk2, Saturday, 12 January 2008 10:39 (eleven years ago) link

Classic albums reissued on CD with some really shite b-sides tacked on at the end - definite dud. (I know that, in theory, you can program them out, but life's too short.)

Soukesian, Saturday, 12 January 2008 20:40 (eleven years ago) link

As for completism, where it's actually possible, I find I want to resist snagging that last item - because then it's over.

Soukesian, Saturday, 12 January 2008 20:41 (eleven years ago) link

Great when I was 17, glad to get rid of this habit as an adult.

Whiney G. Weingarten, Saturday, 12 January 2008 21:17 (eleven years ago) link

I find I want to resist snagging that last item - because then it's over.

Heh, I try to resist because I know it'll inevitably be disappointing if it's the last (and most likely weakest) album in an artists canon.

Mr. Odd, Saturday, 12 January 2008 21:46 (eleven years ago) link

I think completism for the sake of completism (rather than for the sake of love of that artist's work) is a dud.

I tend not to be a completist, but I've lately been finding riches being more of a completist, e.g by seeking out solo albums by bands I like (like the Who and Kiss), which in the past I wouldn't have bothered seeking out. So I think there's something to be said for seeking out lesser-heralded albums by bands you like, as long you don't go in with too high expectations.

Euler, Saturday, 12 January 2008 21:50 (eleven years ago) link


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