Tag Archives: U2

All the Hype That U2 Can’t Leave Behind

Bono in the U2 iPod adI mentioned before Christmas that the new U2 album, No Line on the Horizon, is coming out March 3. Let the hype machine begin. I’ve talked in the past about the marketing of U2, so I’m curious to see what they do this time around. Here’s a round-up of some of the current news:

  • Q previews the new album, comparing it to Achtung Baby in spirit and offering hints that producer Brian Eno and guitarist the Edge think it may be U2’s best album.
  • Rolling Stone offers a track by track appraisal of the new album.
  • Lead singer Bono brushes off nervousness about the new album: “Sure, you’re always nervous, but we’ve gone at it as if it was our first and the critics who have gotten a chance to listen to it already have all said it’s the best yet.”
  • Drummer Larry Mullen Jr.: “I think it’s some of the best music we’ve ever written.” (Q interview)

Hmm… I sense a theme developing.

Adoption & U2=Awesome

So the economy is in the toilet and work has been incredibly slow. No matter: The spring of 2009 has decided to be awesome.

Adoption
Most importantly, our adoption will finally happen. We got the referral a few weeks ago (it’s a boy!) and we found out yesterday that the court date will be Feb. 20, 2009. It’s a tentative court date and it could change, but the court date is what determines everything else. This is the legal process in Ethiopia where guardianship is transferred to us. If everything goes through OK they send us a birth certificate. If the birth certificate comes through OK then we’re able to get a visa and all that jazz and they can give us a travel date. Then we can book plane tickets and be on our way. They tell us travel usually happens 5-6 weeks after a court date, and in general we get 2-3 weeks notice before traveling.

Five to six weeks after Feb. 20 is March 27 to April 3. Not that I’m counting.

New U2
The spring of 2009 is also shaping up to be awesome because U2 will be releasing their first album in nearly four and a half years. OK, it’s not nearly as awesome as our adoption, but I’m still excited. The album, No Line on the Horizon, is due March 3. This means I can spend those final remaining weeks before we travel rocking out and I’ll have a ready-made soundtrack for those first months with our new kiddo.

Go 2009!

Vote for the Best U2 Songs

OK, so I’m still playing around with Squidoo’s new Plexo thingy. This time around, let’s vote for our favorite U2 songs. It’s a much broader field than the Five Iron list and probably appeals to more folks. Plus this time around you can add your own suggestions. I threw in a handful to get started, but it’s far from all the best songs.

plex5672


If you can’t see the list, check out my U2 lens to see it and vote.

U2 and Apple?

So U2 and Green Day welcomed the New Orleans Saints back to the Superdome in style with a mesmerizing 10-minute performance that rivals U2’s 2002 SuperBowl appearance. And you can watch it on YouTube. The highlight of the show was the groups performing “The Saints are Coming”, an old Skids song (Andrew Careaga’s got the history). The song and performance were a benefit for Music Rising, an organization the Edge started to help replace the instruments of Gulf Coast musicians.

Now here’s where it gets weird. U2, Green Day and Music Rising partnered with Rhapsody to offer downloads of the performance to benefit Music Rising. Rhapsody, which is incompatible with Mac and less than compatible with iPods? The song is going out to radio, and a commercial CD release is planned for November 7.

So if you’ve got a U2 iPod you may have a hard time getting the latest U2 song on it, at least for now. So what gives? Did U2 and Apple have a falling out? Was Apple not willing to give the benefits to Music Rising (doubt it, seems like Apple has done charity downloads before)? Or is music so last year and Apple is too focused on video? Weird.

The Vertigo Tour: U2 in Minneapolis

On Friday night I sat behind the stage, which isn’t quite as good as back stage, for the U2 show in Minneapolis. I first saw U2 in 2001 during the Elevation Tour when I was just becoming a fan. This time around I think I can say I’m more than a fan.

U2 has become far and away my favorite band. And I didn’t realize it until Friday night, but many of their songs have become worship music for me. I found myself pumping my fist along to “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” but also looking past the rafters and raising my hands to God during “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The concert was more of a spiritual experience than a musical one. I think Tim said it better than I can.

Continue reading The Vertigo Tour: U2 in Minneapolis

How to Overwork a Unique Title: First Reaction to How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

My first listen reaction to U2’s 11th studio album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, heard legally on San Diego’s 91X online radio (though first listens can be deceptive, so take it with a grain of salt. I wasn’t impressed with All That You Can’t Leave Behind on first listen; now it’s my favorite U2 album):

Continue reading How to Overwork a Unique Title: First Reaction to How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

In the Name of Love

In the Name of Love

The CCM U2 Tribute album, In the Name of Love, showed up in the mail the other day. Well, half the album anyway. It’s a press copy of the album, but it only has 7 of 12 tracks (potentially 13; the Grits version of “With or Without You” isn’t listed in the liner notes).

It’s an intriguing project, basically an easy way to raise money for the AIDS crisis in Africa, but also a way to introduce the CCM scene to the music of U2. Many CCM fans are well aware of U2, but there’s a lot of hardcore CCMers that rarely listen to anything mainstream (I was one of them once), and for those folks this album will be a rare treat. Of course if you’ve ever heard U2 before, these songs won’t sound nearly as good.

I predict this album will be popular within the CCM world simply because of the nature of the Christian bubble. If you have never heard Bono belt out “Where the Streets Have No Name,” you’ll be perfectly happy with Chris Tomlin’s eerily similar version. Likewise Sanctus Real does a decent “Beautiful Day” knock-off, minus Bono’s soaring vocals and a little more grit in the Edge’s guitar riffs.

Jars of Clay and Sixpence None the Richer stray the most from the originals, probably because these artists are most familiar with U2 and know the danger of trying to sound like the best band in the world. Jars does a bluesy version of “All I Want Is You,” which seems to deflate the song of momentum. Sixpence tackles the forboding “Love is Blindness,” but it misses the melancholy of the Achtung Baby original. Both bands attempted an experimental angle, but it didn’t fly.

The real standout track (of the seven I can preview) is Audio Adrenaline’s version of “Gloria.” I know, I know, saying Audio A can do justice to a U2 song is tantamount to sacrilige. But they manage to modernize the thoroughly 80s song and without gutting its soul. There’s plenty of 80s rock left, and the tune just jams. Not too shabby. Of course it helps that the original was recorded 20 years ago.

I’m eager to hear the remaining tracks, including Toby Mac’s butchering of “Mysterious Ways” and what Delirious can possibly do with “Pride (In the Name of Love)” that won’t sound exactly like the original.

In the Name of Love

I just received the complete track/artist listing for In the Name of Love: Artists United for Africa, the U2 tribute album I mentioned last week:

Jars Of Clay – “All I Want Is You”
Sixpence None The Richer – “Love Is Blindness”
Nichole Nordeman – “Grace”
Toby Mac – “Mysterious Ways”
Audio Adrenaline – “Gloria”
Pillar – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
Chris Tomlin – “Where The Streets Have No Name”
Tait – “One”
Delirious – “Pride”
Grits – “With Or Without You”
Todd Agnew – “When Love Came To Town”
Sanctus Real – “Beautiful Day”
Starfield – “40”

As an interesting side note, the packaging is being designed by Steve Averill from Four 5 One Design, the company that’s done just about every U2 album.

While I’m glad to see a final song list, and I’m very eager to hear what this sounds like, I still have lots of questions. What happened to Switchfoot? And where are the Newsboys? Both are on Sparrow records (the label releasing the album), so it would be no problem getting them for the project. Switchfoot has been mentioned before in connection with this project, and Newsboys have been known to perform “Running to a Stand Still” in concert. Hmm.

I’m also still curious to know what bands you’d like to see cover what U2 songs.

More Wankers

Today I learned a bit more about the U2 Tribute album I mentioned a while back.

It seems Sparrow Records is releasing In the Name of Love: Artists United for Africa on January 27, 2004. A track listing is given, but no clues as to who’s playing what. For that, you’d have to head over here, where we get a few artist song matchups, including:

Nichole Nordeman – “Grace”
Sixpence None the Richer – “Love is Blindness”
Sanctus Real – “Beautiful Day”
Audio Adrenaline – “Gloria”
Pillar – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

Other artists include P.O.D., Toby Mac, Switchfoot, Delirious and others. It’s reported that all proceeds will benefit DATA.

I’m intrigued to hear this album, but I’m also a bit worried. U2 is U2 because nobody can do what they do. Most U2 covers stink. I’m especially worried when I hear things like this from Pillar, “We just got confirmation that this is going to happen today so we have to get together this Tuesday to learn and practice the song.” You can’t learn a U2 song at the last minute and expect your cover to be worth anything.

I’m also curious to see if anyone took my advice about what Christian band should cover what U2 song.

(Thanks to CCM magazine, where I first learned more about this album, Pillar for filling in some details, @U2 for linking to JesusFreakHideOut.com, and JFHO for having further info. Whew.)