“Would you rather live in the ascendancy of a civilization or during its decline?”
No, it’s not amateur philosophy hour here on the Discogs blog (DiscBlogs if you’re nasty). And it’s not your favorite Revenge Of The Nerds quote. Okay, it’s not JUST your favorite Revenge Of The Nerds quote. It’s also a question that’s weighing heavily on our minds as we consider this month’s batch of most expensive items sold on Discogs.
Why so introspective? Well, consider that the past two Top 30 posts have been full of big news. First we were able to report that a $6826 copy of David Bowie’s second album was the most expensive item ever sold in our marketplace. Just a month later, it was a $15k sale of The Black Album that set the new standard for extravagant offerings on Discogs. All of a sudden, it looked like these big ticket items were going to keep getting bigger and bigger. My blogwritin’ brain was decked out like Hadrian’s Rome.
Success is hard to sustain, though, and this month’s highest seller isn’t quite a third of last month’s new record. A sub-$4500 sale won’t grab headlines the way an incredibly rare Prince recording can. So: panic. THE MARKETPLACE IS FALLING APART AND WE’VE GOT GAULS AT THE GATES.
Well, nuts to all that. Setting new records perpetually isn’t any real measure of success. No, the kind of success we’re after looks something like blabbering on and on about weird-ass records (apparently).
In that spirit, I’m overjoyed to tell you about this month’s top seller. Top billing goes to a test pressing of Love Is The Key from the Dynamic Five. What’s the big deal about this record? I have no idea! I don’t know and (chances are) neither do you. That’s exciting!
Research tells me that the standard pressing of Love Is The Key is rare enough. Matter of fact, it hasn’t even yet been sold on Discogs. Throw a test version on top of that and you might begin to understand the $4250 asking price.
Until I reviewed this month’s data, though, I didn’t know this record was even a thing. It was 1978 and people needed funky slow jam harmonizing. Now you can’t easily find copies. That’s all the explanation you’re going to get and, honestly, all the explanation you need. Isn’t that beautiful? There’s still room for mystery in the world!
But the mystery doesn’t stop there. The Top 30 is more than just the highest-priced item. Indeed, there are literally 29 other entries on the list. After an icon passes and rare edition prices are skyrocketing, that’s something that might get pushed to the back of your mind. Loss leads to the devotion that can create one big story instead of a series of smaller ones. Well, it’s all small stories this month, baby.
I mean, check out this bizarro top five. Number two is Do You Get The Message b/w The Other Side (har har) from The Grey Imprint. Again: what do I know about this gem? Since the only facts that percolate through my noggin are directly related to songs about wizards and/or majestic laser battles, the answer is “Nothing, why?” All I know is that these dudes definitely knew how to get down. As far as a legit explanation goes, it’s rare. And it’s funky. One might assume that DJs are wild about it, because it can sell for $3245. End of story.
Number three? Oh, that’d be $3230 worth of 国境巡礼歌 (Kokkyou Junreika) from Japanese composer J. A. Seazer. It’s an LP full of inspired psychedelia circa 1973: towering guitar leads, organ fills straight from the world’s spookiest circus, and group vocals that are just this side of complete chaos. It’s apparently rare as space-hen’s teeth because, well, I already showed you the price tag. Would you believe me if I told you I’m hearing it for the first time because it showed up on this month’s top 30? Yeah? Are you recognizing the pattern? Awesome.
And how we get from there to Un Disque Sourd, from Dominique A., boggles the damn mind, but that’s kind of the point, innit? It’s French, it’s electro-pop, it’s straight from the early 1990s, and it’s limited to 100 hand-numbered copies; I’m not quite sure how that explains the going rate of $2427 (good enough for fourth for the month) but if you don’t love what’s happening right now you don’t love freedom and that’s the saddest thing of all.
Think fast: what will $2040 get you? Aw, I’m sorry, but the answer is “a copy of Alphataurus, the debut 1973 album from Italian proggers Alphataurus (no relation),” which is the fifth-highest priced album this month. Then again, I’m not sure how you would have known that. Ah, well. Not my problem. Zero points to Gryffindor. Anyway, I don’t really know what to say about this record that you can’t learn by sneaking a peek at the all-time classic cover, so I’m kind of tempted to just refuse to describe the album further.
In fact, yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing. The cover tells all. But don’t forget to come back when you’re done so you can sneak another peak, this time at the full details of the Discogs Top 30 Most Expensive Items Sold List from May 2016. And, believe me, you’ll want to see the details of the rest of the Top 30. This might be burying the lede a bit, but there are plenty of other treasures to discover in this month’s list, including but not limited to: a Spanish promo pressing of the With Or Without You single (UNAPOLOGETIC U2 FAN ALERT); Syd’s finest hour in glorious mono; a small-run Bauhaus single; and our old friend the yellow goat. For the love of all that’s holy, there’s even a rare Slipknot CD in the Top 30. Do not adjust your monitor. Top 30. Slipknot. CD. I guess those fears of a barbarian horde on our perimeter weren’t unfounded after all…