Lloyd Cole

2001 Collected Recordings

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2001 Collected Recordings compiles four Lloyd Cole albums: 2000's full-length studio creation The Negatives, Cole's recorded-in-a-bedroom stripped-down electronic collection Plastic Wood, the superb and mature lost album Etc., and the thoroughly disappointing mess of a live album that is Loaded. Encased in what's really a long hardcover book, the box set is an attractive package as far as appearances go, though one would have expected that more background information and photography could have been included across its 24 pages of liner notes. At least the layout and design are aesthetically appealing in their abstraction, and the material included is made somewhat personal by a fair share of Cole quotes and ruminations. But it's difficult to recommend this box set for the packaging alone. Since The Negatives was released a considerable amount of time before this set, it's quite likely that many fans who would consider buying the set already own a copy of that album. It might make more sense to simply pick up Etc. and Plastic Wood separately, since Loaded isn't going to demand many plays, due to its poor recording quality. Loaded was assembled from MP3s made from bootleg recordings, and it really does leave much to be desired. There's also a fair chance that some Cole fans won't appreciate the ambient electronic instrumentals of Plastic Wood, since it's somewhat far removed from the typical folk pop/rock Cole usually creates. No matter which way one looks at it, Etc. is the essential album of this collection, and Loaded is the only weak point in the chain. 2001 Collected Recordings certainly isn't a good place to start for new listeners, but at three hours and covering 60 songs, longtime fans and those who may have lost track of Cole through the years might appreciate this thorough overview of what Cole has been up to in the late '90s and early '00s.

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