By Bob Cannon
December 03, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

By definition, boxed sets are reverent, worshipful, and just plain big, with booklets containing lengthy wet kisses by prestigious essayists and reflections by the artists themselves. But beyond the serious stuff, there is always plenty that’s pretentious or just plain funny. We offer selections from this year’s boxes as proof. * Most Hyperbolic Essayist: Avant-garde composer Philip Glass was the unlikely candidate chosen to gush over Paul Simon in the latter’s booklet: ”You have to go back to composers like Porter, Gershwin, and Berlin to find comparable talent.” *Still Self-Actualized After All These Years: Paul Simon’s self-assessment in 1964/1993: ”I am a very serious guy. I just like to be funny.” *”Put Yourself Into It, Guys”: Joan Baez’s most ghastly-sounding moment: ”At the beginning of this song Jerry Reed gets his finger stuck in his guitar. I wanted to include it as is.” *He’s His Own Agent, Too: Baez again: ”I was sitting in…a limousine with Donovan when he told me that he was going to be bigger than the Beatles and Dylan.” *Mirror, Mirror: The Miss Vanity award goes to Diana Ross: 345 photos! *I Suppose the Severed Bat’s Head Is Out Too? This warning from an Indonesian promoter in Metallica’s Live Shit: Binge & Purge: ”(1) The band can spit on stage, but in our culture spit in the front of people is impolite. (2) The band can not swear words on stage. (3) The band can not play with no shirt on.” *Call Her Miss Ross, But Call Him Mr. God: Of the violent rainstorm that interrupted her 1983 Central Park concert, Diana Ross says, ”The dream had changed without consulting with me.” -Bob Cannon