"Even though I had all of their albums, I bought this--when it came out in 1989 in a big 12" size; now it's a CD-size--for the CD quality, and especially the added Live at the Lyceum 8 tracks and the Parts 1-3 e.p. The booklet may suffer in its reduction to CD package size, but it's well-written, and, of course, excellently illustrated with a sidebar about the integrated artwork and adverts that were conceived as part of the Buzzcocks' campaign. You'd expect no less from Shelley and pals, with him influenced by art school and tech education both. It all looks and often sounds so raw by our standards nearly thirty years on, but this appealing combination of savvy and awkwardness is the foundation of all that the band was, sonically, lyrically, financially, and visually. With the later release of an expanded bootleg Time's Up with the Spiral Scratch ep in 2000, that and this are pretty much the nearly complete works, with the exception of radio sessions and the inevitable slew of live concert tapes.
While the later work did, as the notes certainly explain, pale by comparison with the earlier successes, it does not sound so bad on a fresh hearing. I actually like the "recorded underwater" sound of the late ep tracks, and their spaced-out, washed-bleached dessicated quality captures, if the sad dissolution of the band, then also their quintessential determination to soldier on amidst despair and ennui--something shared with co-founder Howard Devoto. With so many bands later influenced, if not always crediting, this pioneering group of four men from Manchester who make music, this is an essential purchase. IMHO this music outlasts the calculated if naively sincere agitprop of the Clash, the manufactured rebellion of the Pistols, the earnest anthems of the Jam, and the ramalama bang bang of the Ramones. The Buzzcocks brought sophistication, in their promotional, lyrical, musical, and even sartorial abilities, into the pop-punk scene without compromising their commitment to gender-liberating, likable, and cleverly insinuating music that captured the agression of the late 70s while taming it with its self-reflexive examination of romance. They scrutinized their times and assumptions, but also had fun."
Definitive proof of the greatness of the Buzzcocks
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 01/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think anyone who loves music and gives the Buzzcocks a serious listen with love and enjoy their music. Their name gives the impression that they were rawer and rowdier than they in fact were. They didn't produce great albums, but they did produce one absolutely great single after another. The value of this set is that is proves that the Buzzcocks didn't pen just a few good songs, but a bevy of them. One might think that SINGLES GOING STEADY contained all their great songs, but PRODUCT proves they produced many, many more. In many ways, this is a perfect set, providing proof to the public about just how superb a band these guys were. The set also comes with a great booklet.Two things keep the set from being just about perfect. First, its name. Has there ever been a more dreadful title than PRODUCT? Bland, uninteresting, and not keeping in the spirit of the Buzzcocks songs. Second, and this is by far the greater sin, the album neglects the four songs off their EP SPIRAL SCRATCH, which is probably the most famous EP in the history of rock. It does contain a live version of "Boredom," but the other three songs are not represented at all. These four songs are among the most crucial that the Buzzcocks recorded, and it is tragic that they couldn't secure the rights to include them on this set.Still, these two flaws do not keep this from being a great set, and one that ought to be in the music library of every serious fan of alternative and punk music."
THE NORB | Akron, OH USA | 01/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I find myself torn with this collection. It is great to have all of these albums and singles collected in one nice concise package. But why was this set not remastered along with the rest of their stuff in 2001? So if one wants the better mastering, one has to rebuy these albums individually. ADKOT goes for $50 used! EMI, please remaster this box set!"
James L. Harris | Powhatan VA | 07/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every studio recording from the Shelley era Buzzcocks from orgasm addict through Strange Things. This one is the way to go."