The cooks are back in the kitchen

As anyone knows, I am an unrepentant U2 fan. It is a sickness that has provided years of enjoyment. Having seen the band live a few times, also some of the best concert moments ever. The last show that Laura and I saw on the Elevation tour was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, despite how crappy the seats were.

I checked the website, not something I do much these days after the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album. There are possibly three redeemable songs off of that album, and one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard.

It appears that the band is in Fez, Morocco working on new material. I think it is probably more proper to say, I am unrepentant fan of all U2 music where Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois are involved. Lanois in particular is a favorite of mine. It is one of my missions in life to see him live before too long. I somehow missed his Shine album tour. His solo albums, Acadie, For the Beauty of Winona, Shine, the soundtrack for Slingblade, and now his new instrumental stuff, Rockets, and Belladonna, are always in heavy rotation.

I think it very very possible that really that my heart’s deepest desire is for Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois to become members of the band so that I am guaranteed high quality material. But I think that may be short sighted.

There seems to be a pattern since the first collaboration back in 1983 -84 on the Unforgettable Fire. The band does a few albums with Brian and Danny, and then breaks away thinking they’ve got to try something new, and low and behold the crap generator churns loose. Note this sequence:

The Unforgettable Fire
The Joshua Tree
Both produced and engineered by Flood, Lanois, and Eno.
Both amazing albums with heavy contributions from Brian and Daniel.

Then comes Rattle and Hum, produced by Iovine. Hmm crap by most people’s meter, I think there are two really great songs on there, All I Want is You, and God Part II.

Ok so they go away to dream it all up again, this time with Eno and Lanois at the helm of Achtung Baby, arguably (arguing with myself mainly) my favorite album.

Then they travel on to Zooropa with just Eno, for a fairly good return, The First Time and The Wanderer are both great tunes from that album. Stay Faraway So Close is a killer tune.

Then comes Pop, produced by Howie B. Crap for the most part, some managerial problems in terms of booking the tour before the album was done, but oh well.

Then some time later, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, terrific album, produced by Eno and Lanois.

Then the bummer of all bummers, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, jack knife lee and steve lillywhite who produced most of the band’s early stuff, Boy, War, October. Daniel helped with one of the album’s only listenable songs too. And the big number, City of Blinding Lights is an Eno hopeful, that could have used some editing and some real Eno magic.

So I think the pattern is pretty clear that with the dynamic duo back, the band may find it’s stride again. For the love of peter, I hope so, because I can’t take another stinker.

And from the picture above, a careful observer will notice the bald white guy surrounded by keyboards to be Brian Eno, and the man at the bottom of the photo with a guitar is Daniel Lanois. Bono seated on the couch, edge top left, Adam Clayton to the right of Danny, and Larry Mullen curiously not behind the drums, but perhaps his legs are just above the drum kit there.

One Comment

  1. I’m a huge U2 fan as well and I also got to see them during the Elevation Tour in Chicago. I loved The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree and in turn loved All That You Can’t Leave Behind because after a few more “experimental” albums (Rattle and Hum and Zooropa), they were finally returning to their classic sound that I had grown to love.

    I actually don’t think that How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was that bad and there were a few tracks on that album that I still listen to regularly. However, it’s not like All That You Can’t Leave Behind which played on repeat in my stereo for weeks on end. Here’s hoping this next one is a more complete album.

    (I’m not gonna hold my breath either way because I’m still absorbing the new Shins, The Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, and Aimee Mann albums which all rock.)