Winger : Chapter One : Atlantic Years 1988 – 1993 : CD and Vinyl Box Set Reviews

Unboxing Winger’s “Chapter 1: The Atlantic Years 1988-1993 – BMG

This is a review of both the vinyl and CD Box Sets. The video unboxing and first review below id by Phil Aston and the second is by Joe Geesin.

These collections are reminiscent of other sets like Rat, Dokken, Mötley Crüe, and Skid Row. It’s a comprehensive look at Winger’s Atlantic Records journey, with remastering done by Ted Jensen and overseen by Kip Winger himself.

CD Box Set:
The CD collection is the first-ever compilation of Winger’s Atlantic Records years. It includes multi-platinum albums such as “Winger” (1988), “In the Heart of the Young” (1990), and the fan-favorite “Pull” (1993). Additionally, there’s a fourth CD featuring original demo versions of Winger’s biggest hits. The CDs come in basic Digi packs, mirroring the original albums with track titles and a few pictures.

Vinyl Box Set:
The vinyl set is where the magic truly lies. Pressed on 180g black vinyl, it includes all the albums from the CD set and a luxurious 16-page booklet. This booklet is filled with rare photos, handwritten lyrics, and memorabilia from Winger’s archives. Each vinyl album retains the original inner sleeve with lyrics, ensuring a nostalgic experience for fans.

Sound Quality:
Both the vinyl and CD sets have been remastered by Ted Jensen, elevating the sound quality significantly. Comparing it to my original CDs, the new versions are a few notches above in terms of clarity and depth. The vinyl pressings are silent, smooth, and of high quality, making them a must-have for audiophiles.

Thoughts:
Winger has always stood out from the typical “hair metal” bands of their era. With Kip Winger’s soulful voice, Rob Beach’s exceptional guitar skills, and a touch of prog experimentation on the drums, they carved a unique niche for themselves. Songs like “Heading for a Heartbreak” showcase their musical prowess, with solos that are nothing short of stunning.

If you’re new to Winger or a long-time fan, this box set is a worthy addition to your collection. The vinyl set, in particular, offers a luxurious experience with its glossy booklet and high-quality pressings. Whether you’re reminiscing about the golden era of rock or discovering Winger for the first time, “Chapter 1: The Atlantic Years 1988-1993” is a musical journey you won’t want to miss.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

WINGER – Chapter One: Atlantic Years 1988-1993 (4CD box) Atlantic/BMG – Joe Geesin

Formed in the mid 80s in New York by bassist/vocalist Kip Winger (who had first used the band name on a rare recording from 1980), Winger were oft associated with the hair metal scene, a little unfairly as although the music was radio friendly, it dipped into solid serious hard rock and prog metal directions. Very successful and thoroughly enjoyable they were too.
As usual with these sets, it does what it says on the tin. In their original run, they released three albums on Atlantic, which are nicely collected here, with a fourth disc of demo recordings. The band toured heavily and have since reunited, but this is where their platinum sellers are.
Aside Kip, who has also had a notable solo career, the band featured guitarist Reb Beach, who has also made a name for himself working with Alice Cooper and Whitesnake.

The band’s eponymous debut, originally released in 1988, is a punchy and in-your-face number, quite intricate in places, but with a commercial edge. The strings In the intro to Hungry ad a Beatles hint, and when the band come in there’s a chunky feel that nods to Alice Cooper. The clearly tried to push the band in the then current trends with four singles, all with promo videos, and the band toured for over a year, supporting the likes of Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Poison and Bad Company. There are big power pop / metal numbers, some more solid rock moments, lots of widdley solos without overdoing the shred, predictably cliched in some areas, yet fantastic, original, solid and wonderful in others. Along side Kio and Reb, the band featured keyboard player Paul Taylor and drummer Rod Morgenstein. Dweezil Zappa guests on the cover of the Hendrix track Purple Haze (good but cluttered at times). The cover, interestingly, has ‘Sahara’ on the front cover, which is what the band had originally wanted to call themselves.

1990’s In The Heart Of The Young (also dubbed Winger II) followed suit and even in the face of grunge, it was a success. Plenty of singles and touring followed. Opener Can’t Get Enough was a successful single, it’s a bright track with a solid rhythm. Largely a heavy album but, like the debut, there are acoustic, balladic and power pop moments. That might sound a little cliched but it was a breath of fresh air from what else was around at the time.

With the band’s keyboard player leaving, 1993’s Pull saw Kip take on some of the keyboards and acoustic guitar himself. He also added to the production himself. A fan favourite although sales were on a decline, and it has a harder and more aggressive feel. There is still a commercial feel, especially with the layering of the backing vocals, but it is a more solid album.

Three wonderful albums, and a fourth of demo recordings. A nice box, each album in a simple digipak. On the plus, it’s good to have these albums available, and together, and if that’s all you want, it fits the bill perfectly. But there are no booklets, so no sleevenotes or lyrics), and no bonus tracks. Even without going into the vaults, it wouldn’t have been hard to find the b-sides or Japanese bonus tracks from the day.

There’s many a collection it will fit, and many a pair of ears it will please too.

Joe Geesin | Now Spinning Magazine

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