I’ve always felt weird about re-releases of recent albums, be they remasters, deluxe editions or just plain ol’ alternate covers. Who are they meant for? Fans should already own such albums, and if they’re really hardcore, they probably have whatever bonus tracks are tacked on. Hence my reticence to hop on recent remaster jobs for albums I already own by the Beatles and Jawbox. Ah, but in the case of New Found Glory’s 10th anniversary CD/DVD edition of their self-titled major label debut, perhaps a re-release isn’t such a bad idea.
Let’s go back to the Beatles and Jawbox references. In the case of the Fab Four, a lot of people had problems with the original CD mastering from the ’80s. Personally, I think the new mixes, while better, aren’t good enough for me to replace my entire collection. But I would buy them for other people over the original CD mixes. Same with Jawbox’s For Your Own Special Sweetheart reissue. I’m glad it’s available in a physical format again and I would buy it for anyone in need of a musical education, but I already own the original version. I’m set. And I would do the same for New Found Glory.
See, I’ve been a fan of NFG for about a decade. I dig the pop-punk sound, the hardcore rhythms and the bouncy, fun energy. Throw whatever criticism you want at NFG -- they’re not tru punx, their lyrics objectify women, vocalist Jordan Pundik can’t sing, they suck, whatever -- in the end I’m still going to bump tunes like “Goodbye Song” and “Second to Last” while you break down emo gender politics and punk rock social castes. But it’s because of this feeling that I realize I sort of, kind of, maybe didn’t need to buy the deluxe edition of New Found Glory.
The CD portion opens with the album’s original 12 songs, with the original mix Neal Avron provided in 2000, not that a remastering was needed. Avron’s production is certainly an upgrade compared to the band’s debut, Nothing Gold Can Stay, but it’s still raw enough compared to all of the spit-shined pop punk acts that followed in NFG’s wake. This record is still relevant today. Forget Set Your Goals or Four Year Strong; this is all you need in terms of pop-punk mixed with breakdowns. Given that it came out 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if some NFG fans don’t even own it, since the group didn’t really blow up until 2002’s Sticks and Stones. Hell, I’ve met fans in the last year that have never heard of From the Screen to Your Stereo, let alone listened to it.
Those people are the core demographic for this new version. I already own bonus tracks “So Many Ways” (Welcome to the Family compilation) and “Ex-Miss” (Dragging the Lake, although thanks to this and Alkaline Trio’s Remains, I think I might sell it). “The Radio Song” is just a less awesome version of “Come Back Bon Jovi” with different lyrics (also from Welcome to the Family). The liner notes state that “The Minute I Met You” has never been played live, and I can see why. It’s the weakest track of the bunch. The demos for “Better Off Dead” and “All About Her,” as well as the late, great Jerry Finn’s alternate mix for “Hit or Miss,” don’t offer any insight or drastic differences to the respective songs, and are thus unnecessary.
The accompanying DVD is just a portion of the band’s 2002 tour doc The Story So Far, and the cynic in me feels like it was attached just because it wasn’t selling well enough on its own. The documentary itself plays out like an infomercial for the band without much focus. The members talk about how they like each other, we get a few clips of live footage and then it’s over. Music videos and an even worse video zine doc pad out the DVD’s running time. Shit sucks. A new retrospective would’ve been appreciated; as is, the somewhat repetitive recollections in the liner notes will have to do.
But for the next generation of mall punks, self-styled “lost romantics” and, uh, young people, this new edition is a worthy purchase. I mean, it’s still New Found Glory. It’s a great album, and it’s backed by some choice rarities (“So Many Ways,” “Ex-Miss”). It’s a little overpriced, but given what a pain in the arse it would probably be to find Welcome to the Family (and, um, the Clockstoppers soundtrack), it’s certainly a convenient way to check out a classic punk record from the Aughties and a few of its B-sides. So I'm averaging out the score. The album itself is brilliant. But the the add-ons are more, heh, hit or miss.