Wu Tang's 'Shaolin,' and five other all-time crazy box sets

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Image Credit: John Shearer/Invision/AP

Sure, the forthcoming Wu-Tang Clan album The Wu: Once Upon A Time In Shaolin… will only be available to one person and is “presented in a hand carved nickel-silver box designed by the British Moroccan artist Yahy,” but how does this one of a kind musical artifact stack up against some of the other, crazier box sets in music history? (Or even the Wu-Tang bike?)

Check out some of the most extreme (and extremely expensive) box sets in history:

1. The Residents, Ultimate Box Set
Veteran avant-garde rock band/performance art project the Residents have been messing with people for decades, and for their 40th anniversary, they presented their fans with an incredibly bold opportunity: Over 150 first pressings of every CD, vinyl, DVD, and single the band has ever produced, plus one of their signature eyeball masks. The whole thing was presented inside a refrigerator, and the price tag was set at $100,000. Though it sounds like a gimmick that nobody would ever indulge in, they actually sold one to a dude in Indiana.

2. Rammstein, Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da
When it came time for the German techno-rockers to put out their sixth album Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da in 2009, the band decided to lean into their obsessions with sex and violence. For a few hundred bones, you got a deluxe travel case that came with an expanded version of the album, lubricant, a pair of handcuffs, and six dildos that were supposedly cast from the members of the band.

3. Herbert von Karajan, Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon
This Japan-only collection of the complete recordings of legendary Austrian classical music conductor Herbert Von Karajan impresses with sheer volume: There are a total of 242 discs in the collection. But the set goes the extra mile by providing its own wooden cabinet, as though the record company knows you don’t really have the storage space for 242 new CDs.

4. Slayer, Soundtrack To The Apocalypse
Fans of the thrash legends felt a little let down by the content of the actual music on the band’s 2003 career-spanning collection, since it was only three CDs and a DVD spanning over two decades. But those who shelled out the extra dough for the deluxe edition were a little more satisfied with the non-musical extras: A live disc packed in a “blood pack” sleeve, a replica backstage pass, and a giant wall banner, all housed in a commemorative ammo box.

5. Pixies, Minotaur
The Pixies’ career-spanning box set (well, not their whole career now) is almost more about artist and designer Vaughn Oliver, who crafted all of the album art for the band (alongside photographer Simon Larbalestier). The box set comes with all five of the Pixies’ albums four separate ways: 24-karat gold-plated CDs, vinyl records, Blu-Rays, and DVDs. It also comes with a previously unreleased live show, a coffee table book featuring Oliver’s work, and autographs by every member of the band (plus Oliver). The website goes out of its way to say that the whole thing weighs 25 pounds, and there are still some of the limited run of 3,000 left to buy.

What’s your favorite extreme box set?

 


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