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U2 – The Unforgettable Fire

10 12 2011

Listened: Wednesday November 16

The difference between the War album and The Unforgettable Fire is jarring. This difference is likely due to a new producer – Brian Eno. The artiness factor has been turned way up and the rock turned down, though Pride (In the Name of Love) and Bad could certainly still be considered rock. However, ambient meditations and sonic experimentation in the vein of Brian Eno’s solo work are found here. The seeds of Bono’s later operatic singing can also be heard on Elvis Presley and America.

It was through reviewing this album that I realized I accidentally skipped the Rattle n Hum album in the project. I realized this because the song MLK always catches my attention due to the visuals from the film that are immediately called to mind (Bono’s singing in silhouette, with a powerful spotlight shining behind him directly into the camera). It’s one of the most arresting moments from a beautiful, misunderstood film.

I think it was important for U2 to go this direction to develop skills they put to maximum use on later albums (The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby), but like October, I must admit that in a ranking of my favorite U2 albums, this would be near the bottom. It has some great songs, but it’s not as cohesive as it could be.

 

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