No Doubt

Boom Box

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    8
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Released as a companion piece to No Doubt's presumably career-capping collection The Singles 1992-2003 (career-capping only if Gwen Stefani's solo career as a singer and actress does indeed take off), Boom Box appears to be a generous gift to their fans, a four-disc retrospective divided into two CDs and two DVDs. Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving, and Boom Box isn't as carefully assembled as the singles collection, which is included as part of this set. Part of the problem is the packaging: the set is housed in a CD-sized box, with individual discs presented in cardboard sleeves -- a good idea, yet the construction feels as if it was done on the cheap, particularly since the flat grey-silver coloring doesn't look as classy as intended. But that's not what makes the box a mixed blessing; no, the real problem with the set is the conceit behind its construction. It seems that the idea behind Boom Box is that not only will hardcore No Doubt fans want a DVD of the videos, a DVD of their 1997 Live in the Tragic Kingdom home video, and a CD of B-sides and rarities, they'll want it all at once and, not only that, they'd be the only ones who would want any of this material. Consequently, this package is a little frustrating, particularly for those who would only want the DVD of the music videos -- since if they pay full price for that one disc, they'll be frustrated, even angered, that the DVD doesn't have any special features, not even a 5.1 audio mix (something that the DVD on Stone Temple Pilots' Thank You included, something that even the budget-line Jennifer Lopez collection The Reel Me had). This is the worst offense, since if a fan is going to pay the extra money, they should be given full-featured DVDs that take advantage of the medium, which is something neither disc here does. This taints the rest of the collection, since half of the collection isn't as good as it should have been, especially considering the price of the box. Fortunately, the other half of Boom Box is very good -- the separately available The Singles proves what a dynamic singles band No Doubt was, while the B-sides and rarities disc has some good cuts, songs that hold their own with album tracks from their respective albums even if they're not as good as the singles. For the true fan, that rarities disc and the DVD are certainly worth having, and the live show is fine, even if it isn't particularly noteworthy. So, Boom Box does wind up as something worthwhile for the fans, but it's hard not to think that the presentation could have been a little bit better and, barring that, that the set could have been a little cheaper.

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