Time-Life's MODERN ROCK series (1999-2005) - The Retail Versions

[As I no longer possess any of these albums, there will be no reviews or ratings.]
In the late Nineties, Time-Life Music was arguably at the peak of its popularity, with nearly a dozen music collections available through mail-order. As part of the largest media conglomerate the world had ever seen up to that point, the company used every bit of the Time-Warner mothership's marketing muscle through direct mailings (that's how they got me), ubiquitous television commercials and selling "samplers" of their myriad series at retail.
At the retail level, Time-Life re-purposed the artwork, as well as 99% of the previously licensed music, from their mail-order only pay-as-you-go series to create single, double, and even triple disc collections for sale at retail, labeling the sets variously as Greatest Hits, Special Edition or Platinum Collection, all in an effort to get people to subscribe to the mail-order only series they represented via ads on the back of the CD insert as depicted below.
Like the Modern Rock series being delivered by the United States Postal Service, each retail disc featured twelve tracks though there were no liner notes and a minimal discography included in each booklet. While the single and double sets appeared on many record store shelves, the triple disc sets were limited to wholesale clubs like Costco and mail-order catalogs.
Initially, the 3CD sets were sold in good ol' longboxes, which as an extinct species actually lived on longest at Costco, evolving from full-color art on both sides boxes to generic white and blue boxes with cut-out windows to show front and back of disc cover art. Eventually, the form factor of the triple disc sets was reduced to a tight-fitting cardboard sleeve that housed three jewel boxes, like the one below.
The Modern Rock: The '80s box pictured above featured three discs that were released in October 1999, barely a few months after the initial Modern Rock discs had begun showing up in charter subscribers' mailboxes. The Cool '80s, Cutting Edge '80s, and '80s Grooves were also available separately though The Cool '80s and '80s Grooves would be paired together as a double-disc set using the artwork featured on both '80s Grooves and Modern Rock: 1980-1981. This new configuration is titled Modern Rock: The Collection and was released in February 2000:
Notice that each of the discs were manufactured by different companies though chances are they actually came from the same facility.
In 2001, another Modern Rock single disc appeared on store shelves. It is unique in a couple of ways: unlike just about every other disc in the Modern Rock collection, it only has ten tracks and unlike the majority of these retail samplers, Modern Rock: Cutting Edge Classics features new, original artwork and a few songs that hadn't appeared previously among the more than 500 tracks that make up the Modern Rock library. This might be the rarest disc in the entire Modern Rock series as I have only ever seen one for sale and the guy was asking $699.99 for it because as far as he knew it was the only one in existence. It didn't sell at that price though he relisted it a cheaper price and later retracted his offering.
Released in June 2001, Modern Rock: Love Songs also features artwork unique to the retail selection of Modern Rock discs though all the tracks had previously appeared on other Modern Rock albums. EMI/Capitol Music Special Markets handled the production and manufacturing of both discs. Which brings us to an album that not only re-purposed the artwork and recycled the music from other volumes in the Modern Rock collection, it also re-used the title of one of those volumes: Modern Rock: Dance. It is worth seeking out for non-completists because it has a few songs new to the Modern Rock oeuvre.
In 2003, yet another Modern Rock sampler disc appeared on retail shelves and, like all the albums above, The Modern Edge: A Modern Rock Collection featured this promotional blurb for the Modern Rock series on the back cover just below the tracklisting:
Though not officially part of the Modern Rock canon, I like to include 2005's Sound Of The Underground among the series as it features much of the same music though, by my count, six of the 18(!) songs never appeared before on a Modern Rock album.

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