Saturday, December 2, 2006

Am I buggin' ya? Don't mean to bug ya.

# 21 - Rattle and Hum - U2

Self-important? Yep. At times, self-righteous? You betcha. Blockbuster movie? Ehhhh...

To judge the album because of the movie would be to miss out on some enduring U2 favorites. Rattle & Hum enters as my #21 because it was the first U2 CD I owned. The mix of old songs, new songs, and sermonizing made it interesting enough for me to check out "The Joshua Tree" and really the rest is history.

It has a heavy dose of Memphis flavor to it with "Angel of Harlem" (recorded at Sun) and "When Love Comes to Town" with BB King.

[Side note: The torch-bearer of the "Memphis sound" is now Academy-Award winning Three-Six Mafia. I heard a local radio spot for Three-Six in September, hyping their appearance in Jackson, and the ad said, "Doors open at 10 PM for Oscar award-winning Three-Six Mafia!!!" Pretty awesome.]

Rattle and Hum includes new songs "Desire" and the classic "All I Want is You" - best if enjoyed at the end of "Reality Bites."

Live versions of "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "Bullet the Blue Sky," and the soulful "Still Haven't Found (What I'm Looking For)" with gospel choir are really great recordings. (The film version of this song is actually better, but WAY pretentious with the unidentified producer wearing shades in church while "directing" the choir. Even more hilarious is watching Adam Clayton sway to the angelic offering!)

It's not a cool pick, but Rattle and Hum referenced Memphis, had BB King (whom my dad loves), ends with an awesome ballad, and dropped a nice, hearty F-bomb in "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" on the movie version. I couldn't ask for much more.

Favorite track: Tough call, but because "Silver and Gold" doesn't appear on any other U2 album I'll go with it. "This song was written in a hotel room in NYC right about the time a friend of our's, Little Steven, was putting together a record of artists AGAINST APARTHEID."

Okay Edge, play the blues.


Sean B said...

"Edge play the blues" always gets me. Gold.

I never understood why this U2 record was the embarrassing one. "Self-important? Yep. At times, self-righteous? You betcha."
Tell me, which U2 album does this NOT describe? That doesn't mean that U2 doesn't got it goin' on. The self-righteousness is precisely what makes U2 interesting, no?

And, "Angel of Harlem" is one of those rare songs that I never turn the radio dial away from when it comes on.

jphillip said...

That's a good point. U2's self-deprecation typically comes out in interviews with occasional references like "The Fly" or "Original of the Species" in their albums.

Maybe in '88 the critics needed a reason to smack these guys. I don't know that there's a 2006 equivalent, but if someone like The Killers made a documentary about, I don't know, maybe Katrina recovery (as an excuse to debut new tunes) there would be similar outcry.

Big Cougar said...

Wait, I thought Sam's Town was a Katrina homage?!?! You know, you think of the place you used to live when you were young, i.e the house Katrina and FEMA took away from you.