Top positive review
The Bell estate has unfortunately been remixing....
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2017
The MP3 download here is not the original Rykodisc album that was released in 1992. (That apparently you can still purchase if you order the CD.) It's not just the fact there are 20 extra tracks available with the digital download. It's that many if not most of the 15 tracks from the original album have been remixed. Not remastered -- remixed. In some places it's subtle, in others obvious.
I downloaded the original Rykodisc version from Amazon some 7 years ago. Noting recently that it was no longer included in my online Amazon Music Library, I inquired, and was told that this original version had been "removed by the content owners." I was invited to "purchase" (free, with a promo code) what they called "a newer Chris Bell Music album": I Am The Cosmos (Deluxe Version).
That "deluxe" version, available for digital download only, was released in May 2016, according to its page. It has only 12 extra tracks compared to the 20 extra on this version you are currently looking at -- which is an "ultra" deluxe version, I suppose, that was released just last week, in September 2017, only 16 months after the basic "deluxe" version. But the 15 tracks from the original are still the remixed ones. And, like the basic deluxe version, they are not in the same order as on the original version: "I Got Kinda Lost" and "Make a Scene" have switched places, as have "Fight at the Table" and "I Don't Know."
If, like me, you have been used to hearing the original Rykodisc versions for ages (and its tracks in a certain order), you may find listening jarring and even a little disappointing. Admittedly, the original version was released 14 years after Chris's death, but still, it's been out for 25 years now. Who takes such a long-released classic record from one of America's greatest unsung artists and decides, nah, let's change it up a bit?
No doubt Chris's estate -- the aforementioned "content owners" -- is responsible, and while I don't begrudge them trying to keep Chris's flame alive and maybe making some money, the extra tracks alone would have been sufficient, perhaps with a remastering of the original tracks. But not remixing.
I'm giving this 5 stars because, remixing or no, it is still obviously I Am the Cosmos, the greatest album nobody ('cept us chickens) ever heard of, and as Robert Christgau said, it clearly shows that Big Star was his idea.