Friday, February 29, 2008

Music Notes 2/29/2008
U2, Supertramp, Noe Venable, and One from the Heart

Borrowed a copy of the remastered edition of The Joshua Tree by U2.

This is one of the few instances I've run across where remastering didn't really improve the sound all that much. It's a scootch louder, but not really any clearer or with any more dynamic range. (Bass response is usually the biggest winner in remastering, but here it sounds the same.) Merely turning up your volume makes the old sound identical to the new. I wonder if I'm missing something or if the commentors on Amazon who mention how good the remastering have compared it to the original.

I was especially disappointed (I will forever hear Kevin Kline saying that word in my head) in the sound of the song "One Tree Hill." It's a hidden jem on the set, and it's always sounded muddy. I was hoping a dust-off would clean it up, but alas, they must've recorded that one on crappy tapes or machines.

I've always had a love/hate thing with The Joshua Tree, because it's an achingly beautiful album. But it's aches just a bit too much for my tastes, and I've never been able to just slap it on the music machine and play it through. It's like watching Sophie's Choice after you've had kids - too much to endure, on purpose.

Still, I look forward to the deluxe set of Achtung Baby. Besides being their best album (no arguments folks - it just won't help), the extra songs and remixes they did at the time were as good as anything on the canonical set. They were really mining a rich vein at the time.

Speaking of classic albums, I had the happy accident of slapping on Supertramp's Breakfast in America this last weekend, and was re-blown away by how good it really is. Every song on it is fantastic, and it has not only aged well, but has become even more relevant.

These lyrics from "The Logical Song" are more meaningful today then they were at the time:

Now watch what you say
Or they'll be calling you a radical
A liberal, oh fanatical, criminal
Oh won't you sign up your name
We'd like to feel you're
Acceptable, respectable, oh presentable, a vegetable

If you've not heard it in a while, or have never heard it, go hunt down this slab of fab and get your jollies on.

Memo to the fans.

I keep being amazed by what slowly creeps onto the list of available songs on Amazon's MP3 site.

I was thrilled to find, just today, "Tinkerbell" by Noe Venable - a lovely dark song where the fairy we all need to believe in finds hope after she "busts her brains bashing into window panes."

It wasn't there a week or so ago because I've been trying to get my hands on the tune since I heard it in my daughter's dance troup's recital of "Peter Pan." I knew via previews I wouldn't like the whole album, so was holding out for just this moment where I could snag the single.

If you've got those elusive songs you've been hunting for forever, make sure you swing past Amazon every couple weeks.

While the movie was a magnificent failure, I really liked the music to One from the Heart. Also, now available in MP3s.

I'm a few years behind the times on this, but jeebuz crispies, have you seen this?


Whisky Prajer said...

No argument from me, re: Achtung Baby, but I'll add my two cents for Zooropa. I always thought of those two albums as being a double album -- I can't listen to AB without cuing up Z hot on its heels.

I also think I'm probably one of the few people who found something to enjoy on Pop. Shortly after they released the next album, I had A Moment: getting out of my car in a googolplex parking lot, I heard Bono keening earnestly through public parking lot speakers. And I was done. Done listening to Bono, done throwing away money on U2 ... done. I'm not sure what exactly happened, but the hatch certainly got welded shut that day.

Yahmdallah said...

Hmmm. thought I left a comment earlier.

But here goes again.

I, too, stopped buying U2 stuff, until "All that you can't leave behind" came out, which to me was their 2nd best album ever. But then "how to dismantle an a-bomb" was very average, so I'm back to test-driving new U2 before I lay down the cash.