Sunday, September 28, 2008

More on U2 remasters

I have had a chance to spend more time with all four of the U2 remasters that have come out in the past year (and I’m anxiously waiting for the fifth to arrive this week) and I realize that these are pretty much everything I’d like to have in a remaster series. Here is why.

  1. Don’t mess with the album. Good albums have a flow to them that, while it could theoretically be improved on, generally I get used to the album the way it is and I want to experience the original. By all means, improve the sound, but don’t add tracks. That just messes up the end.
  2. Add tracks to a second CD. What I really want is a second CD full of cool stuff like EVERY non-album single and b-side that connects to the album and unreleased live tracks from the era. I am a completist and I expect a good remaster to help me complete. I’m not looking for demos (although they can be fun,) I’m looking for something that I actually will want to listen to, not just have for historical purposes.
  3. Make the art count. I want to have the original album art but also let me see the covers of all the singles and what else was on them. Basically I want the complete story of this album and this era in the band’s life.
  4. Add cool liner notes. Include a critical essay, complete credits and a description, preferably by a key member of the band, of the b-sides. Lyrics are a nice touch too.

The U2 remasters delivers on all counts. And here’s what else they did to make it cool. The Joshua Tree has an extra deluxe edition that includes a video of a concert from that era. Since Under a Blood Red Sky is already a live album – and a really really good one – more live tracks aren’t really called for so they leave the album just as it is but added tracks to the live concert video, which has never been released on DVD. Yeah, U2 got it right with The Joshua Tree, Boy, October, War and Under A Blood Red Sky.

1 comment:

Julianne said...

Hey Bob,
I completely agree with your opinions about re-masters. There's nothing worse than having a remastered album that's not as good as the original. I'm with and I would love to talk with you about working together to promote their new DVD and remastered live album, Under a Blood Red Sky. Email me at, if you'd like more information.

- Julianne