With Foo Fighter’s latest album, Sonic Highways, they eventually launched a pre-order incentive with the pre-order in the form of a free 7″ flexi containing an exclusive song. The pre-order launched very early, sometime in August 2014, a few months ahead of the release date in November 2014, and at the time there was no free, exclusive bonus item incentive to pre-order. Once the first single came out in mid October 2014, the official pre-order drastically changed. This is when the free bonus item (the 7″ flexi) became available. It was included in all pre-orders of Sonic Highways on any format or bundle option, not only for people who pre-ordered after the flexi was announced.
The flexi disc features a cover of “Two-Headed Dog” originally done by Roky Erickson of The 13th Floor Elevators. Even though it was included with every pre-order there was still a disclaimer attached that made it a “while supplies last” situation. While the free flexi was a great bonus, the merch company handling the pre-order threw in a great punch to the gut and slap to the face, as at this time the shipping charges dramatically increased, doing so by three times what it cost initially. Shipping for one record now stood at $20 and change, which everyone knows is a complete rip-off. For a few weeks you could still select which cover variant you wanted, and god help you if you wanted to buy all nine as shipping came to over $50. A few weeks after the flexi was announced the option to choose which cover you wanted was gone; if you ordered it at this point you would receive one of the nine different covers selected at random. It was also at this time that the composite cover art, which had all nine separate covers combined into one image, was announced, which brought the cover variant total up to 10.
Initially I was bummed I didn’t pre-order Sonic Highways because of missing out on the flexi. But now after all the dust has settled and I have all the cover variants and the flexi, I have no regrets. By not giving in to the extortionate shipping prices, I saved myself close to $50 on the 10 copies of the album themselves. By buying the flexi on the secondary market I still come out over $40 ahead.
The flexi is pressed/printed on thin card stock so it’s not a flexi in the truest sense. It’s more of a sound sheet, like what is actually printed on it. It’s single sided, obviously. The artwork printed on it, while simplistic, is awesome. Lots of tidbits are printed on it, including detailed instructions on how to play the flexi (which actually applies to all records) and slogans like “vinyl is killing the MP3 industry.” The sound quality on this is just above horrible. But given the playing surface it’s not all that bad. And as per the suggestion printed on the flexi, play it at a max volume as the sound is quite low on it. Well, not quite max volume so you don’t blow your speakers.