Poll — December 19, 2011 at 7:46 am

Readers Poll 2011: Best compilations, box sets and live albums of the year

As 2011 quickly winds to an end, we’re happy to roll out the first of four days’ worth of results from our second-annual Slicing Up Eyeballs Readers Poll, in which nearly 500 of you cast ballots for your favorite new, reissued and freshly compiled music of the year over a four week period in late November and December.

First up is your Top 10 compilations, box sets and/or live albums. All told, nearly 40 different titles received votes — plus a few that weren’t eligible (no matter how awesome The Smile Sessions box set is, The Beach Boys are in no way considered ’80s college rock, people).

So here’s the agenda for the week:

TODAY: Best compilations, box sets, live albums of 2011
TUESDAY: Best reissues of 2011
WEDNESDAY: Best singles/tracks of 2011
THURSDAY: Best new albums of 2011



Best compilations, box sets and live albums of 2011:


10. a-ha, Ending On A High Note: The Final Concert

BACKSTORY: The Norwegian pop trio said farewell to its fans last year with a massive world tour that culminated with a Dec. 4 concert in Oslo, captured on this CD (which features 16 of the concert’s 20 songs) as well as separate DVD and Blu-ray releases (with the entire concert).
COVERAGE: a-ha’s final concert captured on CD, DVD, Blu-ray
BUY IT: Amazon.com, iTunes


9. Tones on Tail, Weird Pop

BACKSTORY:  Beggars Archive this year released a new 19-track, double-vinyl and digital best-of for the Bauhaus spinoff that includes “previously undiscovered rarities like the original (and better) version of ‘Performance,’ a never before released studio version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’” and more.
COVERAGE: Tones on Tail ‘Weird Pop’ vinyl best-of to feature rare, unreleased tracks
BUY IT: Amazon.com, iTunes


8. OMD, History of Modern Tour: Live In Berlin

BACKSTORY: Reunited synthpop favorites Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark this year released a 20-track live album and hardback book to commemorate the group’s rapturously received 2010 comeback. Recorded Nov. 18, 2010, at the Tempodrome Berlin, the CD features tracks from last year’s History of Modern as well as a host of ’80s classics.
COVERAGE: Stream: OMD, ‘History of Modern (part I)’ — off forthcoming ‘Live in Berlin’
BUY IT: Amazon.com, iTunes


7. Morrissey, Very Best of Morrissey

BACKSTORY: The former Smiths leader this year released yet another best-of, featuring 18 songs from across his solo career, including a previously unreleased Siouxsie-less version of “Interlude” and a rare, extended take of “Moon River.” The collection also includes a bonus DVD with 11 videos. Yet he relegated two rarities (Viva Hate outtakes) to B-sides.
COVERAGE: Morrissey preps new ‘Best Of,’ will issue ‘Viva Hate’ outtakes as B-sides
BUY IT: Amazon.com, iTunes


6. Kate Bush, Director’s Cut

BACKSTORY: Kate Bush returned this year with not one but two new albums, the first of which was this 11-track compilation of tracks from 1989’s The Sensual World and 1993’s The Red Shoes that she reworked in the studio, adding new vocals and other musical effects. The set was preceded by the release of a souped-up version of “Deeper Understanding” as a single.
COVERAGE: Kate Bush revists ‘Sensual World,’ ‘Red Shoes’ tracks on ‘Director’s Cut’
BUY IT: Amazon.com, iTunes


5. This Mortal Coil, This Mortal Coil

BACKSTORY: The 4AD collective’s three albums — It’ll End in Tears (1984), Filigree & Shadow (1986) and Blood (1991) — were collected in a new hi-def box set this year, packaged together with a fourth CD, Dust & Guitars, which compiles the band’s three singles and EPs, plus two unreleased tracks: “Thais (Bird of Paradise)” and a cover of Neil Young’s “We Never Danced.”
COVERAGE: This Mortal Coil box coming, ‘Tears in the Dropbox’ Blu-ray in the works
BUY IT: Amazon.com


4. Depeche Mode, Remixes 2: 81-11

BACKSTORY: The synthpop legends this year released a new remix set — a sequel to 2004’s Remixes 81-04 — that marks the first time all five current and former DM members have worked on the same project, with former bandmates Vince Clarke and Alan Wilder contributing fresh mixes of “Behind the Wheel” and “In Chains” to the set, which also came in a 3CD version.
COVERAGE: Depeche Mode’s ‘Remixes 2: 81-11’ features Vince Clarke, Alan Wilder
BUY IT: Amazon.com, iTunes


3. Joy Division and New Order, Total

BACKSTORY: Rhino Records this year released, in the U.K., a new 18-song best-of compilation covering the “most important tracks” by both Joy Division and and its successor New Order — including the previously unreleased song “Hellbent,” an outtake from the sessions to New Order’s final album, Waiting For The Sirens’ Call. The digital edition includes a dozen videos.
COVERAGE: ‘Total: From Joy Division to New Order’ to feature unreleased track
BUY IT: Amazon.com, iTunes


2. R.E.M., Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982–2011

BACKSTORY: The college-rock superstars broke up this year, and, fittingly, released their first retrospective to span both their classic ’80s output on IRS Records and their later Warner Bros. material. The 40-track, 2CD best-of also includes three brand-new songs, including the group’s final single “We All Go Back to Where We Belong”
COVERAGE: R.E.M. unveils ‘Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage’ tracklist
BUY IT: Amazon.com, iTunes


1. The Smiths, Complete

BACKSTORY: Rhino Records this year released long-coveted remasters of The Smiths’  full catalog — by guitarist Johnny Marr and engineer Frank Arkwright — in the form of this deluxe box set that compiles all four of the band’s studio albums, plus three compilations and the Rank live album. The collection came in a CD-only edition, a vinyl-only version and a deluxe set featuring all eight albums on both CD and vinyl, plus 25 individual 7-inch singles — and more.
COVERAGE: The Smiths’ ‘Complete’: 8 albums on vinyl, CD; plus 25 7-inch singles, DVD
BUY IT: Rhino.comAmazon.com, iTunes





  1. The Smiths very rightfully deserve the #1 slot. Nicely done, readers.

  2. I agreed with which ones won, but I think Duran Duran should have placed, not so much Depeche Mode, it was ok.

  3. my bad duran did not do a live cd or cd set.

  4. Ian Balentine

    No Simple Minds X5? No “Complete Beat”? Tsk Tsk.

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