Phil Spector’s teenage symphonies, revisited

When I learned that Sony was issuing The Philles Album Collection—a showcase of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” songs that comes out on the 24th—I wondered if it would fall short of 1993’s Back to Mono box set, which was overseen, closely and proudly, by Spector himself. I was also wary: Would the new release prey on my father’s all-too-public troubles? As it turns out, I needn’t have worried.

The Philles Album Collection doesn’t compete with Back to Mono; it complements the earlier set. And it’s the first time in my lifetime that I’ve seen Spector’s hits—decked-out and frenzied as Christmas trees—presented along with their sibling album cuts. Six of the seven discs you’ll find here reproduce LPs released on my dad’s own label. The seventh contains rare instrumental tracks. Hearing them come together is like watching the Wall of Sound’s carpenters at work.

Nicole Audrey Spector is a writer in Brooklyn, New York, and co-producer of the monthly Guerrilla Lit Reading Series. Her work has appeared (or will appear) in the KGB Bar’s Lit Magazine and The Nervous Breakdown, on various music sites, and in lots of strange trade magazines.

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