2022: The Year In Buying Music

2022 record cell

2022 was a super active year for us. I have been busy from March until…now. We have had so many upgrade projects on the house this year. Either by us or by professionals. The Record Cell was completely redesigned and re-imagined and I still have about 1000 CDs that I need to find the time to sell off as every title from SW-Z is currently boxed and sitting on the [now roomier] floors of the Record Cell, awaiting divestiture.

So that means that if I want to listen to music by Ultravox [and that’s often the case] I am out of luck. The practical upshot of all of these home improvement projects [costing many thou$and$ of US dollars] and hardly over with as we are having an HVAC system installed in a week. We’ll finally have a real heating system and air conditioning after nearly 20 years of skirting the issue with baseboard heating and a window unit air conditioner that I have installed and removed twice a year for 15 years. What’s the implication for this Monk?

Almost no money to buy music this year. Which is fine! I complain every year how I want to spend less and listen to more. Well, I still lack time to listen to the many records on the racks, but I certainly have spent only modest money on music this year! To be honest, the totals were sliiiiightly higher than last year’s all-time low, but that was down to a pricey, but must-have boxed set late in the year coming up for sale. To wit:

2022 Buying Stats

Total titles purchased: 68 [↓21% 2021]
Total expenditures: $507.17 [↑7.5% 2021]
Average cost: $5.59/title [↑33% 2021]

CD: 36
Vinyl: 19
– LP: 5 [+1 bundled LP in box]
– 12″: 6
– 7″: 8
Downloads: 10
Cassettes: 2
Blu-Ray 5.1: 1
DVD:2 [1x 5.1 bundled in box, 1x bundled with CD]

What is perhaps deceptive about these statistics was that 35/68 titles were supplied to me at no charge. Either promo downloads or gifts from family, friends, readers. In other words, I did not pay for over half of the 68 titles coming in this year! If we get medieval on the numbers, that makes the $507.17 cost of the 33 titles I did pay for astronomically high at $15.37 per title!! The days of large amounts of cheaply priced product are over in my life. And the numerous boxed sets all priced at what I consider a “high” price point really skew the numbers. And what do those numbers look like?

2022 buying stats
When the two points on the vertical axis of each year are close together, that means the cost got high

2022 Albums Of The Year

  1. Shriekback: Bowlahoola
  2. xPropaganda: The Heart is Strange
  3. Essential Logic: Land Of Kali
  4. The Countess of Fife: Star Of The Sea
  5. Altered Images: Mascara Streakz
  6. Simple Minds: Direction of The Heart
  7. Steve’s Theme Park: It’s A Global Rock Thing
  8. John Foxx: Marvelous Notebook

This was the year that Shriekback took my top spot on the new album charts after multiple years where they skirted close but not touching the number one position. Usually for the band, they would have a stunner of an album vying with what I thought was exceptionally strong work by Simple Minds that kept pushing their needle forward and made me feel badly for not ranking Shriekback’s own superb work higher. Not this year; thanks to the most perfunctory Simple Minds album in a generation. “Bowlahoola” really made an impact with classic material like “Baby Floods The Zone;” the finest song of the year and the best since Jarvis Cocker gave us “Running the World” in 2006. In contrast, Simple Minds made a laptop album with a few nice songs [nothing terrible] on it given a [mostly] bloodless production.

Meanwhile the xPropaganda album was an evolved package of songs and performances that reunited Claudia Brücken, Susanne Freytag, and Steven J. Lipson to impressive effect. The through lines to the classic Propaganda sound of 1985 were referenced, but the album reflected the minds and hearts changed through the passage of years. With an appealing undercurrent of sophistication standing in for their former brashness.

Meanwhile my number three album could be rising with a bullet. I only just heard the “Land Of Kali” album by Essential Logic and I’m enjoying it immensely. As Essential Logic were unheard but not unknown to me until this month, they have an aspect of “new toy” that is very powerful with me.

Fay Fife of Rezillos fame continues to make her own kind of music in her Countess Of Fife project with Allan Mcdowall when not singing in Punk Pop godheads The Rezillos. Their “Star Of The Sea” debut album fulfilled their brief of making Country music…their way.

Altered Images welcome return picked up a bit on the energy of their third album from 1983, but also took off on some different tangents, and had strong songs written among the band and their high-profile neighbors who happened to be Robert Hodgens and Bernard Butler. It’s very possibly my favorite Altered Images album yet.

2022 Reissues Of The Year

Of course, it’s not surprising that I got more reissues [nine versus eight] than new albums this year. It’s just how things roll. The reissues featured plenty of core collection action but the two top picks were from acts that I didn’t have three figures worth of collection for.

  1. Essential Logic: Logically Yours
  2. Vicious Pink: West View
  3. Ultravox: Rage In Eden [Super Deluxe]
  4. Billy MacKenzie + Steve Aungle: Satellite Life
  5. Visage: Beat Boy Cassette Remix
  6. Associates: Sulk [Super Deluxe]
  7. Ultravox!: Live At The Rainbow
  8. The Catburgers: Dreamworld Sessions

Though it’s an LP-only boxed set, the Essential Logic collection of Post-Punk era recordings, lost 90s material and the stunning new album was a stimulus that I strongly responded to. I would have preferred CDs of this material [the new “Land Of Kali” album is also on CD separately] I have to give credit where it is due. Lora Logic had a lot to offer us.

Meanwhile, Vicious Pink have exploded my collection of them with another LP-only release, “West View.” But what made this 2xLP collection so compelling was the plethora of previously unreleased material that was clearly best-of-breed, jockeying for position with the band’s already stone-cold dance club classics.

Only after these do we get to core collection releases from Ultravox [with and without exclamation point], Visage, and Billy MacKenzie/Associates. More on the “Rage In Eden” box will follow in the new year. I’m still chewing on it. The late period Billy Mackenzie/Steve Aungle material was nothing I expected to see after the various albums that filtered out in the last 25 years, but the grouping in the “Satellite Life” box was definitive.

I still cannot believe that I got a live album from John Foxx-era Ultravox…45 years later!! And that it contained several songs that had never been previously released. Any more than I can believe that just two years after I compiled my own “Beat Boy Dance Mix” CD-R that Rubellan Remasters was breathing down my neck once again with their own peerless take on the same project; finished off with yet more Visage rarities that pushed it over the top. Yes, reissue labels please make my work obsolete! I’m begging for it!

2022 Singles

  1. Jan Linton: Melatonin
  2. Steven Jones + Logan Sky: Summer Herz
  3. Department S: Burn Down Tomorrow
  4. Altered Images: The Other Side
  5. ABC: Look Good Tonight

I only bought five singles released this year, and the caliber of most was so accomplished I can’t really pick one over the other from the top three! They each play to different strengths, though Jan Linton plays eBow and guitar on two of them. If I were a reckless man, I’d say that the Department S single was the one. The re-tooled New Wave band made a record that screamed 1979 to these ears and did it proudly. Meanwhile Altered Images managed to issue a “wow-that-was-fast” follow-up non-LP single to their new album of the summer. Obviously making up for lost time! And ABC★★★ issued their 2020 DL only single on gold wax with a great B-side that sounded like it was from the “Lexicon of Love II” sessions.

It is critical that if I want to buy any more music that I must sell off about 20% of what I have to make room for it. Or to afford it because with the work still looming ahead in upgrading our home, I can’t see any money to buy music with. I don’t need much, but right now it’s simply absent from our budget. When I’m going to get the time to sell off anything is another mystery I can’t solve right now. For the time being, buying only a scant number of releases seems a viable lifestyle for this inveterate music addict. I’m getting old and the obsessive quality of the purchasing simply isn’t there any more.

Moreover, the current hellscape of vinyl triumphant over the silver disc in the marketplace of pain rankles me. I waited a decade for the compact disc to manifest. Then enjoyed it immensely for a quarter century only to see it evaporate from most places in town that manage to sell music. And though it’s been three years since I’ve been in a record store in all seriousness, the last two years saw me hating it more and more. I can only imagine what is currently being sold in record stores in the last three years. In the last decade, every record I might want to buy has been purged from the bins to make room for yet more low quality modern LP pressings which cost a small fortune.

The idea of enjoying myself shopping for music I might want to own has now receded into memory. I am too old to hunt this stuff down in brick and mortar stores. Anything I buy from here on out will probably be from online dealers only, And that reflects a significant diminishment of my purchasing power since postage costs, even domestically, are now more than the cost of any records I might want. Which have been removed, in any case, from any stores over the last decade. Hopefully they don’t reside in landfills! The best place to get used CDs in town is a used book/DVD store. The one other store that still deigns to sell the hipster kyrptonite that are CDs has them now relegated to a tiny corner of the store with a fraction of the sort of numbers in my Record Cell still on offer. So it becomes more important than ever to enjoy what I have managed to accrue over the last 40 years and let the rest fall away.


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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20 Responses to 2022: The Year In Buying Music

  1. negative1ne says:

    hi mr monk,

    i really enjoy your end of the year recaps. looks like a banner year for you in some ways. lots of cool items, and interesting ones in there.

    i’m still processing the several hundred and maybe around $10k spent this year on music. so i’m in the middle of going through my listings and details of it. will post once completed.

    happy holidays and best wishes for the coming year.



  2. Deserat says:

    Very interesting list of music. I only know about 5% of it, although, thanks for the tip on xPropoganda (is that the one you would recommend to have of Claudia in general-I only want one of her CDs-exercising constraints on myself here). As you know, I saw them for the first time this year and truly enjoyed them.

    Your comment about CDs versus vinyl is prescient. I do not have a turntable and have gone fully digital CDs, although, I own my copies and then rip them to the computer. I am so surprised at the vinyl resurgence. It is much more expensive than the digital, yet you say they are low quality-is that compared to what we used to have before digitization? Lord knows the LPs come in all types of colors now (which used to be quite a novelty) indicating some sort of possible extra quality, although it could just be a marketing gimmick of someone merely throwing dye into the vinyl batch of ungrooved virgin discs. I know that how the music is recorded onto the vinyl has a lot to do with the final quality (as well as the quality of the pressing process from the master). However, one would think by going back to vinyl with the concomitant increase in price, the sound quality would be better. Or is it merely another fad?


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Deserat – If you want the ONE Claudia Brücken album it must be her peerless “Combined” compilation from 2011. I guarantee that you heard at least half of it in the show you saw.
      claudia brücken - combined

      Vinyl resurgence has been a perfect storm of awfulness in the attempts to manufacture records after the industry went dormant for 30 years. Every technician who knew the black art of mastering and replicating records has died or retired. The current players have moved on attempting to get an industry re-started using old, disused equipment that they had access to. I have bought new LPs that sounded far worse than 35 years old used records on my racks.

      The number one pressing plant in the world is in the Czech Republic. Their quality of pressing is wildly variable. I can say that the last two GZ Media LP pressings I have bought in the last year were of adequate quality. But the real golden age of vinyl was still 40 years ago! The fad of vinyl is reliant on gimmicks like colored vinyl and 180g thick platters. The thickness of an LP has nothing to do with its sound quality. It does cost more, hence the industry pushing that factor. A well mastered 140g record can sound amazing. Particularly if high-grade virgin vinyl was used. Such a record, held up to the light, let some light through in a dark amber color. The quality of the vinyl pellets makes all of the qualitative difference. But no one is addressing that now.

      40 years ago colored vinyl was by definition virgin and therefore likely to sound better than reclaimed black vinyl (a factor of the oil shortages of the late 70s) where old records were melted down to make new pellets to press records. Impurities like the label paper affected sound quality as well as the lack of flexibility in the re-melted PVC.

      Audiophiles today claim that black vinyl sounds better than colored vinyl. Glow in the dark records are said to sound noticeably worse than color or black. I don’t know if the industry is still using reclaimed PVC for records like 45 years ago. I only have one glow in the dark record; “Neon Lights” from Kraftwerk in a 1979 UK 12” single. Which I’ve never played. Ultravox pushed their label to release their singles in clear vinyl limited editions for the best quality sound back in the day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deserat says:

        Thanks for the Claudia tip.
        With regard to vinyl, I have a little story. I went to a studio in London last March to drop off a copy of an article I had written on the engineering used in recording music. I had interviewed a Grammy award winning sound engineer as part of the article. I did not get to meet him there but I was given a couple ohour tour through the tech rooms of the studio. I spoke at length with the young sound technicians and engineers -I’m an engineer myself, but in a different industry. It just so happened they were in the process of cutting a master vinyl of a song to be sent to the pressing ‘factory’. The device used for cutting the grooves in a very heavy type of vinyl was a quite old high precision instrument by a fairly well known German company at the time of the device production. These devices are no longer manufactured, and replacement parts and service are very expensive. They were having issues with getting the grooves cut correctly. It used a vacuum process to remove the cutaway vinyl and a microscopic eyepiece for aligning the cutting stylus. One of the technicians was a bit younger than I and the other was much younger. They lamented that the knowledge on how to operate and maintain this high precision device had been lost due to the retirements of several older technicians. I marveled at this machinery and was so surprised it was still there and in use along with the desire for vinyl. I have a picture of both of them working on the machine attempting to get it to align properly so the grooves wouldn’t crash out, ie, one groove cutting into another. I loved that field trip and learned a lot.


        • postpunkmonk says:

          Deserat – It sounds like you were shown a Neumann lathe. What fun! Replacement parts for outdated tech lean pretty heavily on 3D printing these days in many industries. I’m not sure if the “resolution” of such printers is high enough for the sort of precision tooling needed for things like a cutting lathe.


  3. Khayem says:

    Happy New Year, PPM, and an excellent overview of 2022 highlights to thank you for. I didn’t actually pick up the Altered Images album until December but I’m so glad I did. It’s one heckuva comeback.

    It was your original post that put the Billy MacKenzie box set on my radar and shopping list and, again, another one to be grateful for. Although I had the three ‘source’ albums, the alternate versions, unreleased songs and Steve Aungle’s care and attention to the sequencing and aural experience – not to mention the lovely packaging – made it worth every penny.

    Here’s to a great 2023, I’m looking forward to another 12 months of PPM posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Khayem – Then you got the Altered Images album [already modest of pricing] at a rock-bottom price! And the MacKenzie/Aungle box was another fine collection at an affordable price point. A trend? Let’s hope so!


  4. Jeremy Shatan says:

    Sounds like an interesting year! As usual, I did a bad job of keeping track but once everything is in Discogs I’ll get a clearer picture! In the meantime, this was my Top 25, a few of which I acquired as physical media…often in the dreaded LP format. http://anearful.blogspot.com/2022/12/best-of-2022-top-25.html

    Happy new year! Here’s to all good things and great music in 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As you know, the circumstances of my living space pretty much preclude having a large collection of any media anymore, so much of my collection remains in AV jail (aka storage) until fate or retirement. Your thoughts on vinyl echo mine pretty closely: ElPees sell for ridiculous prices while CeeDees wither on the merchandising vine for a relative song.

    We still have relatively healthy used-CD options up here, but there’s less and less chance of finding anything “special” for our tastes anymore. Not to be morbid, but I reckon I’d have better luck at estate sales of former collectors at this point!

    I did spend a fair amount of money on SDLX and “remastered w/bonus tracks” type stuff in 2022, and indeed that’s mainly been the focus of my collecting for the past couple of years. I do still listen to recent music, and am still very pleased to find the occasional new bands that have been influenced by Punk/New Wave and other great sounds via Bandcamp and Apple Music, et al.

    College radio is still a great place to pick up on new bands, and remains a vital resource in future taste-making.

    The industry as a whole’s addiction to streaming and low-quality/high-profit vinyl has really destroyed their ability to take the kind of chances they did when we were in high school and college, but I remain hopeful that someday consumers will be too poor to afford today’s crap vinyl offerings, forcing a rethink/revival of the low-cost CD format — though I must admit I’ll be surprised if music in the decades to come is permanently ownable in any form, to be quite frank. We are nearing the end of the era where you can buy and keep music.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – I am dismayed by the transformation of culture into an intangible utility requiring constant payment as a service. The fact that human behavior is being monetized by those holding all the cards is very hateful to me. You last sentence chills me to the bone.


  6. TLewis says:

    Wow, I’m blown away and honored that you included the Jan Linton “Melatonin” single (because I played bass and synth on it) on your top 5 list of singles for 2022. Many thanks! I was also delighted to see xPropaganda, John Foxx, Visage, Ultravox, Vicious Pink, Simple Minds, ABC, Altered Images, and Steven Jones + Logan Sky (“Summer Herz” is an extraordinary song) making the top of your list.

    Thanks for the heads up that Vicious Pink has finally been released on CD at long last. I’ve got all of their songs on vinyl 12″ singles and on a very good quality bootleg CD. It will be good to finally buy the official CD. We only had to wait almost four decades (which I call cruel torture).

    And thanks for the heads up about the Visage “Beat Boy Cassette Remix” CD. I have the original “Beat Boy” CD, but never knew about the cassette remix version. I love the Thompson Twins cassette remix versions that Cherry Red put out, so I’m all in for getting the same treatment with Visage.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      TLewis – Actually the “True West” album from Vicious Pink was LP only! And they have 50 copiesleft in their Bandcamp store! You may have a full Vicious Pink collection, but I’m telling you that you need those 13 “new” songs!! If you buy the LP through Bandcamp, you also get CD quality DL files of your choice.

      The earlier Canadian “Vicious Pink” LP was issued by Cherry Red on the silver disc and it remains in print, though that could mean CD-R these days. Don’t dally on the Visage “Beat Boy” Dance Mix” CD at Rubellan Remasters since he is not planning to make another pressing of it. When it’s gone, it’s gone. His other three, peerless Visage CDs will set you back three figures each, currently. Buy in haste, avoid regret.


  7. Andy B says:

    Hi Monk. I don’t know if you have heard but It’s been announced that Alan Rankine has died. Another one bites the dust!


  8. negative1ne says:

    hi mr monk,

    time to dive into to some numbers for me:
    i thought i spent more this year, than last. but it wasn’t as much as thought
    although i doubled the number of items. bringing the price down.

    thanks to a friend of yours, i was able to source several hundred items from
    the UK and Europe, and minimal cost, since it was sent in bulk. shipping
    was not an issue, and usually arrived within 1-2 weeks. with one shipment
    arriving in 4 days.

    first come the expenditures:
    here are my expenses: compared from 2021-2022
    discogs was about the same, ebay increased in some ways

    Year 2021 2022
    Discogs 7485 7900
    Amazon 900 990
    Ebay 495 720
    Total 8880 9610


    number of items went up quite a bit, the average was $6.62
    which was quite a lot less.


    here’s the groups i concentrated on, and items bought:
    Top 10 – 2021
    1 Depeche Mode 88
    2 New Order 60
    3 Ultravox 51
    4 Duran Duran 46
    5 Underworld 34
    6 Pet Shop Boys 30
    7 Thompson Twins 29
    8 Flock of Seagulls 27
    9 Big Country 23
    Simple Minds 23
    10 Frazier Chorus 21

    1 Simple Minds 69
    2 Thompson Twins 67
    3 Depeche Mode 57
    4 Pet Shop Boys 52
    5 ABC 49
    6 Duran Duran 46
    Ultravox 46
    7 Erasure 44
    8 Go West 43
    9 Kraftwerk 41
    10 New Order 35
    Underworld 35

    and finally a breakdown of formats:
    Small downturn in Vinyl, increase in CD
    Huge increase in items ordered, a lot less boxsets
    more holy grail items.

    Format Number
    7 inch 373
    7 inch promo 23
    2×7 8
    10 inch 18
    12 inch 285
    12 inch promo 75
    12 inch single sided 9
    2×12 17
    3×12 1
    LP 72
    2xlp 3

    Longbox 26
    CD 165
    2xcd 36
    3xcd 2
    4xcd 2
    Other CD 2
    CD singles 189
    CD promo 34
    CDr 27
    CDV 2

    cass 48
    cass single 38
    2xcass 1
    boxset 15
    vhs 2
    laserdisc 1
    dvd 11
    flexi 1
    digital 50

    hilights for 2022:

    the year of the grail.
    got lots of hard to find items for me,

    some ranged around $300-$500
    blondie – heart of glass (italian)
    pet shop boys – very relentless (3xlp) colored vinyl promo
    pet shop boys – go west (california remixes promo)
    camouflage – voices and images 2xcd limited edition
    duran duran – planet earth (white label custom made by john warwicker)
    bjork – human behaviour (12 inch french promo)

    rare 7 inch $50-$150
    xymox – a day (7 inch promo)
    xymox – louise (7 inch)
    xymox – muscoviet mosquito (7 inch promo)

    a-ha – love is reason (7 inch norwegian)

    rare cds
    midge ure – many rare live and tour cds
    pet shop boys – entire reissues catalogue of Further listening series
    new order – live in Wooden box
    shamen – boxset of singles
    shakespears sister – boxset of singles
    massive attack – boxset of singles

    other notable releases
    Arcadia Election Day 12″, Single, Promo, Silver Foil cover
    Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Inside the pleasuredome boxset
    Go west – go west (super deluxe boxset)
    herb alpert – rise (MFSL vinyl)
    INXS – the one thing (12) UK and Australian
    INXS – dont change (12) UK
    Kraftwerk – colored vinyl reissue of all 8 albums, German and English for most
    Kraftwerk – remixes 3xlp colored vinyl
    u2 – desire 9.23 (12 inch promo)
    ultravox – vienna and rage in eden record store day vinyl and cd
    ultravox – rage in eden (super deluxe boxset)
    depeche mode – some great reward, exciter 12 inch boxsets
    underworld – many 12 inch collaborations with david lynch, mark knight, high contrast

    odd formats
    a-ha – hunting high and low laserdisc
    cabaret voltaire – flexi
    level 42 – CDV
    front 242 – headhunter CDV
    new order – PAL Substance VHS
    lonely as an eyesore – all 4 formats, cd, cass, LP, VHS

    also got about 70+ cd longboxes

    was a pretty wild ride this year.
    so maybe the next will be even more,
    or might calm down, we’ll see



    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – That is absolutely insane, my friend. For your monetary outlay in the last two years we re-floored and installed an HVAC system in our home, removed a textured ceiling in one room, and wired up a power generator. But even in my most excessive years, my costs [and I considered myself a heavy music buyer for much of this blog’s span] never scraped higher than about $1350. Your last two years of expenditures approximate my last twelve. Where I spent about $19K. Which, makes me a little sick when I look at that. I definitely prefer spending a few hundred a year as my last two have been, but more power to you! Work it while you can. And isn’t it fun knowing how much you spent and where? I just printed out this page from the blog yesterday and it’s a thrill-packed 30 pages of 1606 titles dating from Sept. 2010 to… yesterday. Here’s how my buying trends shaped up:
      John Foxx – 53 titles
      Visage – 45 titles
      Claudia Brücken/Propaganda – 26 titles
      OMD – 25 titles
      Simple Minds – 21 titles
      Ultravox – 20 titles
      caveat: If I bought a title with an John Foxx track I needed on it that was otherwise other artists, that counted as a Foxx title.

      Liked by 1 person

      • negative1ne says:

        hi mr monk,

        yes, looking at the numbers in context does help.
        if your average is : $19k/12 = $1500 or so,
        then mine is $24/10 = $2400

        so mine is definitely back loaded, while yours is more of
        an average expense.

        to me, buying $1000-$2000 a year is totally infeasible,
        i wasn’t working full time, and could only get a few items.

        also, there wasn’t much worth getting (debatable), only in
        the last few years, have there been worthy boxsets, and rarities
        popping up to purchase.

        you only have one life, and yes things will pass you by as you
        have noted. so sometimes you just have to buy items, or you will never see them again. thats why those ‘grail’ items are worth it. because i know if i wait another decade or so, some of these will NEVER come up again.

        by the way, this hobby is way cheaper than high end electronics and computer equipment (which was another $10k this year), and prior years ($20k and up on 35mm film restoration).



    • Finetime says:

      It’s nice to see “Lonely as an Eyesore” on your list. I remember it being a seminal, exceptional collection. And I still dig the entire 4AD aesthetic from that time period. It grabbed me in ways that I still cannot describe.

      Liked by 1 person

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