P.O.S. – Never Better (10th Anniversary Edition)

2 out of 5

Label: Rhymesayers

Produced by: Various

While I can’t say I can quite listen to P.O.S. in the same way anymore, post his removal from the Rhymesayers roster and ducking out of the limelight, Never Better is still a top-tier hip-hock / rock album, topped in P.O.S.’s discography only by its followup. So this isn’t a rating of the material, but rating an evaluation of whether or not this reissue – not remaster – is worth it, which the low rank perhaps suggests is a No.

I’d firstly argue that P.O.S.’s Doomtree team’s production style is better suited for a digital form, so even the aural notes you get from vinyl don’t add much here, if anything. But that’s a matter of opinion, moreso than other aspects of this review.

While the packaging on this is nice, and an upgrade from the previous vinyl edition – a little bit fancier – I’d also cede to the CD, which has that outer sleeve that adds a cool artistic effect, not to mention lyrics. Do you get lyrics here? No, Is that in line with the previous vinyl edition, according to the Discogs pictures? Yes, but it’s another reason why a double dip on this isn’t really worth it.

The only extras you get, besides the rejiggered packaging, is an extra LP with bonus tracks on one side, and an print on the other. The print is neither here nor there; it’d be cooler if the whole design had been upgraded substantially, but everything here is more like a nice touch than a re-skin. And the bonus tracks: Slint, the only new song, is a filler-type track. It’s a thin beat and average lyrics; fine between other songs but not much as a standalone. The demo of Let It Rattle is admittedly excellent, stripping the thing down into something even more visceral; it stands toe to toe with the original. The two live tracks are poorly recorded, unfortunately, though they do at least give the impression that P.O.S. shows from the era were probably pretty lively, if more of a punk affair than hip-hop.

Not much here, in my mind, to justify the spend, with the lack of a lyric sheet and questionable extra songs knocking it down a peg.