In many ways we are living in the era of the box set. Originally an artist would issue a box set of material as a career spanning release that might contain a number of previously unavailable tracks, and major artists would issue multiple sets, but lately there has been a proliferation of anniversary edition sets concentrating on just one album. One of the latest is Paul Simon’s classic album, Graceland, which has celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Graceland: 25th Anniversary Edition is a 2 CD/2 DVD set which includes the remastered original album, the Under African Skies documentary film with extended bonus interviews, the 1987 African Concert from Zimbabwe, three original music videos, the Saturday Night Live performance of “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes,” and a narrative titled, “The Story Of Graceland,” as told by Paul Simon. There are also replicas of the original Graceland poster and handwritten lyrics pad, plus an 80-page book containing new and archival photos.
The first disc contains the remastered original album. The 1987 Grammy winning album, which has sold in excess of 14 million copies worldwide, is presented in pristine condition. The album was previously released in 2004 in an enhanced form, so the music has been cleaned as much as technology will allow. Songs such as “The Boy In The Bubble,” “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes,” “Under African Skies,” “Graceland,” and “You Can Call Me Al” all deserve to be heard at their best.
The second disc begins with five demos or early versions of Graceland material. While “Homeless,” “Diamonds On The Soles Of her Shoes,” and “All Around The World” have appeared before, the demos of “Crazy Love” and “You Can Call Me Al” were previously unreleased and provide a glimpse into Paul Simon’s creative process. The most interesting track is “The Story Of Graceland” as told by Simon in which he reflects and philosphises on the creation of the album.