How many albums have Westlife released? Seven.
How many do I own? Twenty two.
How many singles have Westlife released? Twenty.
How many do I own? Forty-two.
How can this be? Do I have some illusionary, non-existent albums from the future? (fingers crossed, 22 albums would be quite nice). Nay. Tis the curse of the special edition. Tis the curse of the limited edition. Tis the curse of the… (gasp!) double single release!
Oh yes, when you buy a single, you cannot buy simply one disc. You must buy two! Why? Well… there are b-sides, dammit! B-sides! Sure, you can get them off the internet if you ask some other fans very nicely, but golly gosh, it just isn’t the same as having a beautiful, shiny case resting in your hands with the very distinctive Westlife font stamped all over it. And then there are the ones with extra songs! More songs than the original single or album ever had! But then you ask ‘alright, but why buy the original?’ Because they’re still different!
And this is my curse. The curse of an obsessive compulsive collector of Westlife goods.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realise that buying a seventh copy of Coast To Coast because it has I Have A Dream on it (which, incidentally, appeared on The Greatest Hits and on the single I Have A Dream/Seasons in the Sun, both of which I already owned) is a little crazy. But I have a problem. I’m not afraid to admit it. I also don’t feel the need to seek help. Not while there’s still money in my piggy-bank.
And then there are the foreign editions. Oh, the foreign editions. I have Asian and Australian editions of almost every album. Yes, that’s right. Even if the songs aren’t different, if it has a beautiful, unique cover photo: I want it. You know the only real difference between the Australian and UK versions of the You Raise Me Up single? The spine. On one it is blue, on the other it is brown. The picture? Exactly the same. The songs? Identical. But still I buy it. And also… you know what? We’re helping Westlife. We’re giving them a kick-start in both the Australian and UK charts if we buy both versions. And what kind of self-respecting fan wouldn’t help her idols?
It’s a cruel joke, really. SonyBMG know we exist, us Westlife maniacs. They know, and they use us to get themselves more money. Why not? We’ll buy them. We want to buy them! And that’s the thing. We can’t feel any outrage, not really, because we want them. Every last one of them! It’s an obsession; it’s the amazing rush you get from touching, for the first time, the one single you’ve never been able to lay your hands on; it’s a status symbol. “I bought the Turnaround album with the white cover and the extra bonus track!” “That’s nothing! I have the special limited edition signed box set of the first four DVDs, only 200 released in the world.”
Does the mind boggle? I, personally, do not have the special limited edition signed box set of the first four DVDs. Because there were only 200 released in the world. But why should I care? I have each of those DVDs separately. I have a signed Westlife album. I got it signed personally, in their actual presence, instead of buying a pre-signed product. So why do I care about that DVD box set?
I don’t know, but I’d probably cry if I ever did get it.
This is my curse, and damn it makes me feel good.