Wednesday, July 4, 2012

u2: "promenade", "4th of july", & "the three sunrises"

"I will never get tired of this track. I enjoy it the most listening to it on a warm summer day with a light breeze, watching a light wind in the trees and just letting the music take me anywhere at that point in time." -MrNotbadforyou referring to the song "4th of July", via YouTube

Recently I was hanging out at a local bookstore when I overheard a conversation between a younger couple and a woman who was probably my age or a year or two older. The older woman was going off on how much today's music stinks, blah blah blah, and how the music from her day was so much better. In a way, I understood this woman's sentiment but also couldn't relate to the "her day" thing, which made her seem old, in a bad way, and out of touch. I mean, your time is YOUR time up until you die, right? Plus, there's a ton of great music being made today, if you just had somewhat of an open mind. Anyhow, the woman mentioned U2 as a favorite from when she was growing up, and the couple said something to the extent that they thought Bono had "too big of a personality" for their liking. I thought, well, it's rock and roll, and isn't it kind of the thing for the lead singer to have a big personality, especially for one of the biggest bands of all time? Then I thought, these kids probably aren't even familiar with most of U2's music, and if they got past the Bono thing, they might just discover something good.  As for myself, growing up, U2's 1984 album "The Unforgettable Fire" changed how I heard music, and became an instant favorite. It marked their first time recording with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, and a more mature, introspective move away from the spirited post punk heard on the band's first three LPs. Perhaps the uplifting, anthemic "Pride, In the Name of Love" was the most popular song from this album, but there were some real, subtle gems hidden somewhere in the middle, holding it all together, including the short, poetic "promenade" which leads into the floating instrumental "4th of July", strongly reminding me of summers, both past and present, and of course the U.S. Independence Day.  Around the same time this album was released, a five-song EP was put out, also called The Unforgettable Fire, which my brother bought on cassette at a record store in Canada. Apparently, it was an import only, but there was also a very similar four-song EP put out in the states called Wide Awake in America. Both EPs had a standout track that might have been a bit too cheery and out of place on the (Unforgettable Fire) album, however was recorded around the same time, and had that pioneering, wonderfully distorted, soaring guitar-style The Edge became well-known for. That song is "The Three Sunrises" and for many is a personal favorite from the vast U2 catalogue. I included these songs here for your listening pleasure, so enjoy and happy Independence Day!