While my entry on Love’s Forever Changes was supposed to be the first of a five-part series on great rock albums celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017, I never wrote the other four. Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself though, because Rhino and Elektra didn’t get the Forever Changes 50th anniversary box set out until a couple months ago–in 2018, when the album turns 51.
It’s curious that they didn’t get it out by last November 1–the actual 50th anniversary–because all the content was ready by 2015. Bruce Botnick, the former Elektra house guru who co-produced the album with Love’s Arthur Lee, finished his remastering work that year. And the bulk of these 2015 remasters has been available on streaming services and HQ-download stores for a while now.
This set only features two previously unreleased tracks, and they’re both instrumental backing tracks of previously-heard songs.
No matter though. The target audience for this box is the die-hard fan who is more than happy to buy this album over and over again.
That fan will surely be satisfied with the first CD appearance of the album’s mono version. Forever Changes rarely suffers from extreme stereo separation like a lot of 1960s albums do, but many have wanted to hear a clean version of the dedicated mono mix anyway. A vinyl rip of the original mono LP has been available on YouTube for a while now but, like many Forever Changes original pressings, it suffers from a lot of snap-crackle-and-pop.
Also available on YouTube since 2006, the video for “Your Mind and We Belong Together” appears on this set’s DVD, looking much better than the faded print online. The DVD’s main selling point is a 24/192 stereo mix. However, this too has been available to be purchased for a while now, from sites that sell hi-res audio downloads.
So should you buy this set? That depends on how much you want the 2015 remastered stereo edition on CD, LP, and in 24/192 audio on DVD, along with the mono mix and the 2015 remasters of the bonus tracks. For the right price, it was worth it to me. But if you’re looking for new content, this (admittedly gorgeous) box can’t deliver–mainly because Elektra has already went to the Forever Changes reissue well too many times already and there’s nothing left in the vault.