Does this compilation CD really add anything to the Colorseries? Or is it strictly for completists? Remastered for the compilation, the tracks sound smoother, and there is unreleased material, ‘Sessions’ from both Opal and Cocoa. ‘Opal Sessions’ is a deeper version of ‘Opal A’, with the arpeggios inverted to the downward progression of notes so characteristic of the series, while ‘Cocoa Sessions’ a subtle reworking of ‘Cocoa B’.
Obviously, some tracks have been trimmed to fit, and more than half are missing altogether. As an overview of the series for those who missed out the first time around, it's okay, but it’s no replacement for the full set; it has the range, but not the breadth and depth. Instead, the CD gives you a peek at Costello playing favourites. A concept compilation of a concept series. Opening with the bleepy ‘Orange’, the CD builds by increments into to the heady acidy peaks of ‘Opal Sessions’ before opening onto the deeper, spacier ‘Blue’, through the melancholy troughs of ‘Cocoa’, before ending with the ease of ‘Mustard’’s pop. It’s an assemblage. Those interested in a mix might want to check Ryan Elliott’s fine dissections, if they haven’t already.
The CD might be good for the vinyl-challenged, or those who don’t want to wear out their precious originals, if not for word that all twenty original tracks and the two unreleased ‘Sessions’ from the CD will soon be available as digitally remastered downloads. And that makes the CD essential only for the nice cover.