Destiny Street Complete

Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids

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Destiny Street Complete Review

by Mark Deming

Plenty of musicians have that one item in their catalog that bugs them for some reason, and since Richard Hell only made two albums with his band the Voidoids, 1977's Blank Generation and 1982's Destiny Street, the fact he has issues with the latter must be especially galling, since it's essentially 50 percent of his musical legacy. For years, Hell groused about the album's mix and his vocals, but since the master tapes had vanished, he couldn't do much about it. After discovering a work tape for the album that included just the rhythm tracks with no vocals or lead guitars, Hell decided to use that as the basis for a revised edition, and 2009's Destiny Street Repaired featured new vocal tracks from Hell (some quite good, others reminding us he hadn't sung much in years) and guitar work from Bill Frisell, Ivan Julian, and Marc Ribot (often excellent but also reminding the listener how vital original guitarist Robert Quine, who died in 2004, was to Hell's music). Ten years later, three of the four multi-track master reels for Destiny Street were discovered at last, and 2021's Destiny Street Complete presents Hell's most ambitious (and presumably final) reclamation project for the set. Destiny Street Complete includes a brand-new mix he created with help from musician and engineer Nick Zinner that evens out the chaos of his vocals, reduces the clatter of the guitars, and eases its sonic claustrophobia. The new mix is presented along with remastered versions of the original 1982 mix and the Destiny Street Repaired variant, as well as a dozen rare single sides and unreleased demos. For the most part, this represents a concerted effort to fix something that wasn't really broken -- if there's an edgy, verge-of-collapse energy to Destiny Street, that suits the tone of the original songs, which often contemplate the dead ends of rock & roll decadence, and the snap of the band (particularly the lean authority of Quine's guitar) is filled with ferocious passion. (It's not hard to imagine that his frustration with the album has less to do the music and more to do with the drug-fueled chaos of his life at the time it was recorded.) That said, if the original mix remains the most satisfying, the 2009 repair project presents Hell in a more thoughtful and confident frame of mind (and the three ace guitarists are almost good enough to keep you from missing Quine's solos), and the 2021 mix builds on that more mature point of view without entirely abandoning the edgy street smarts or hard-won wisdom in his songs. Richard Hell made two brilliant, singular albums before turning his attention away from rock & roll, and even though Destiny Street was always better than he thought it was, Destiny Street Complete shows it certainly merited the effort Hell put into it -- few albums this frantic and physical are quite so wise at their core.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:23 Amazon
2 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:35 Amazon
3 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:32 Amazon
4 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:23 Amazon
5 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 05:57 Amazon
6 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:33 Amazon
7 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:56 Amazon
8 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:12 Amazon
9 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 04:18 Amazon
10 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 04:42 Amazon
11 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:17 Amazon
12 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:39 Amazon
13 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:37 Amazon
14 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:27 Amazon
15 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 04:29 Amazon
16 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:16 Amazon
17 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 04:00 Amazon
18 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:08 Amazon
19 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 04:20 Amazon
20 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 07:13 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:22 Amazon
2 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:36 Amazon
3 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:32 Amazon
4 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:25 Amazon
5 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 04:28 Amazon
6 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:34 Amazon
7 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:54 Amazon
8 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:11 Amazon
9 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 04:21 Amazon
10 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 05:35 Amazon
11 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:06 Amazon
12 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:20 Amazon
13 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:43 Amazon
14 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:12 Amazon
15 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:36 Amazon
16 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:14 Amazon
17 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:12 Amazon
18 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:12 Amazon
19 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:10 Amazon
20 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:56 Amazon
21 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 03:04 Amazon
22 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:54 Amazon
23 Richard Hell / Richard Hell & the Voidoids 02:41 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick