It surprises me that I’ve not talked about U2 on this blog in what seems like years, seeing they’re probably the band that’s enjoyed the longest period of obsessive fandom from me (much to the horror of many of my friends – their loss, I say).
Maybe this lack of posting is due to my lack of excitement about their last 2 albums – or maybe it’s the fact that the only news that seems to be surfacing lately are either a. Bono’s meetings with various world leaders or b. bizarre experiments between U2 and world music which – as much as I’d like to be optimistic – is not my concept of a match made in heaven. I’m always happy to be proved wrong here, so I’ll keep one eye warily on the proceedings…
Right, after that ramble: Interscope (and Island Records before them) must deserve an award for possessing the largest amount of restraint out of any of the bigger record labels out there, as it seems that lately a remaster is one of the first things that a label will resort to to squeeze money out of a ridiculously successful album (next to best ofs, which I guess is where U2′s label have jumped the shark). However, unlike some back catalogues that receive altogether too much attention in this regard (hello Pink Floyd), U2′s catalogue has actually been begging to be remastered for some time, or so I’ve felt anyway.
Well, it’s finally happening. Predictably, it’s The Joshua Tree that’s getting the first remaster/repackaging job but it’s raised my hopes that the same would happen to their other recordings. Now, The Joshua Tree isn’t my favourite album (that would be Achtung Baby), but it’s far from my least. What I would be most keen to hear remastered, however, would be their earliest albums. Particularly Boy.
So anyway, this new package: what have we got? According to the Pitchfork scoop, there’s a second disc of B-sides and rarities to be had (which is good, as I never got a chance to collect the singles and EPs from the 80s, being too preoccupied with their 90s stuff). There’s also a DVD that will be a part of the deluxe edition, containing a full ’87 tour concert and a documentary. Unfortunately, I would be keen to get the 2LP vinyl, which is a pain in the neck as in order to get the DVD I’d probably going to have to get both the vinyl package and the deluxe CD edition. Decisions. I doubt I’ll get both.
Update: just to clarify, it looks like the 2LP is actually the album spread across two records (4 sides), which is a bit bizarre as the original was only on a single disc…
And in semi-related news: I had half an eye open with interest when Sean reminded us that Underworld (yep, they’re still around) were releasing a new record called Oblivion With Bells. I was keen to hear it after their various under-the-radar experiments of the last few years, and as it turns out, it’s really solid. Some fans will be disappointed to hear it’s not exactly as chock full of clubber anthems as some of their earlier work (and yes, it does contain more of their frequently lampooned hip-hop-esque tunes) but I’m really enjoying it.
What’s all this got to do with U2? Larry Mullen Jr. guests on one of the albums tracks called Boy, Boy, Boy. It rocks.