Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The New U2 Reissues

So, no doubt you've seen the press, blogs, and whatever else about the new U2 reissues. If not, a quick sum up: on the heels of the definitive remastered Joshua Tree, the band decided to remaster their first 3 studio albums, plus the live disc Under A Blood Red Sky. Each is a "definitive edition", with a second disc of live and bonus tracks, and in the case of the live disc, a DVD of the performance.

At first, we here at H.A.D. had been hesitant to pick up these releases, as the press kind of reeked of "record company bid for money" vibe. Moreover, most of the material on the second discs we already had in some form, whether it be bootleg or mp3. However, today we decided to pull the trigger, and for a few (we think) pretty solid reasons. Here's a rundown:

  1. The Edge was involved in the remastering from the original tapes. This means that the quality will a) be high, and b) has band buy-in, rather than record-company decision making.
  2. The second disc. Yes, we already have a lot of this material, but a lot of it is shoddy quality, sourced from radio, tape cassette, or vinyl. Having it remastered in one place in high fidelity is a nice upgrade.
  3. The material. This is seminal U2. We've been a bit jaded after the band's heavy exposure of late, but this is the foundation that U2's greatness is built upon. It's nice to revisit.
  4. Packaging. We admit it, we're a sucker for nice packaging. These records were all originally issued in the 80's era generic Island Records format. To have original album art is really nice.
  5. The video. This is the first and only DVD release of Under A Blood Red Sky, and it has added bonus tracks. The video is source material of the band totally on the brink of complete stardom. If you haven't seen it, (or even if you have), it's fantastic.
So there you have it: good rationalization for going and dropping close to $100 on U2 reissues. You can buy it where you want, but if you get the first three packaged together at Amazon, it's a hair cheaper and you get a free poster. Also of note, the remastered albums are also available in single disc versions.