U2 – The Unforgettable Fire / A Sort Of HomecomingMark Dohmann
|Label:||Island – L 18002|
|Format:||Vinyl, 12″, 33 ⅓ RPM, Mini-Album, Misprint, 2nd pressing|
“Someone get a fire extinguisher quick – this Lemon Chile is darn hot!”
Sometimes you find music in the most unlikely places and U2 is a band that has certainly ingrained itself into our consciousness on many levels. I’m still struggling to like the later work like No Line on the Horizon (2009) and Songs of Innocence, released on 9 September 2014 produced by Danger Mouse. The album was announced at an Apple Inc. product launch event and released the same day to all iTunes Store customers at no cost.
It was exclusive to iTunes, iTunes Radio, and Beats Music until 13 October 2014, when it received a physical release on Island and Interscope Records. The digital release made the record available to more than 500 million iTunes customers, for what Apple CEO Tim Cook marketed as “the largest album release of all time”.
During the five-and-a-half-year gestation period for Songs of Innocence—the longest gap between albums of their career—the group reportedly worked on several projects with multiple producers, including an aborted companion to their previous record called Songs of Ascent. However, they struggled to complete an album to their satisfaction and continually delayed a release. After working with Danger Mouse for two years, the group collaborated with Flood, Epworth, and Tedder to complete Songs of Innocence. Thematically, it revisits the group members’ youth in Ireland in the 1970s, touching on childhood memories, loves, and losses, while paying tribute to musical inspirations Ramones and the Clash. Bono described it as “the most personal album we’ve written”.
After the relatively lukewarm commercial performance of their previous record, No Line on the Horizon (2009), lead singer Bono expressed uncertainty about the band’s ability to remain musically relevant.
The band still fills massive stadiums as we witnessed last year 2019 in Melbourne and Auckland.
So when you’ve reached the heights of global stardom and your back catalogue is being re-released on vinyl and available at JB-Hifi how do you reconnect an audience with the music?
The songs of the U2 Daniel Lanois / Brian Eno period are my personal favourites and it turns out are often top on super fan’s recommended must own albums. The Joshua Tree album is a major milestone in the bands journey and probably my pick of the entire work.
However, some songs never ended up on the Unforgettable Fire / Joshua Tree sets and were relegated to B-Sides on 12” singles.
Why they ended up on a B-Side is anyone’s guess.
On such track is Love Comes Tumbling off the Wide Awake in America EP. It also ended up on an Aussie pressing of The Unforgettable Fire as a 12” EP.
It’s one of the most soulful songs by U2. This song is simply magical and highlights the bass guitar of Adam Clayton.
Now for a bit of fun if you can don your headphones and play the following versions of the Love Comes Tumbling track. Make sure you don’t look at the visual elements and instead close your eyes and only use your ears to try to discern the subtle differences in each rendition.
Which one is your favourite? Did you notice Version 1 and 2 had similarities vs Version 3 and 4?
If you detected a slight Latin influence in Version 1 and 2 you are listening to Lemon Chile, an amazing U2 tribute band hailing from South America. Sometimes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I was mighty impressed how good these guys are (all their covers are excellent).
The originals have stood the test of time and it looks like we’ll be able to enjoy “U2” live for many years to come. I hope these guys tour and play smaller venues with excellent acoustics to let these more soulful tunes from U2 shine without bombast.
There’s a lot of music in B-Sides from many artists. As artists get older and travel less and lose their once strong voices we can hold out hope for younger artists to carve out a following for fans in remaking these songs as the classics they are.
It’s not about karaoke or wrecking something by re-interpreting an original (which can happen). I think it’s more akin to a new playing of a classical work. Do we shun von Karajan for playing Beethoven? No.
I like having the originals and when worthwhile adding these new flavours to appreciate the incredible work of the original artist in the first place.
Both can co-exist in my musical library. However I’m also cool if you take the counterpoint view of The Who in 1977 .
A1 The Three Sunrises 3:52
A2 The Unforgetable Fire 4:56
B1 A Sort Of Homecoming 4:06
B2 Love Comes Tumbling 4:45
B3 Bass Trap 5:17