Tuesday, September 09, 2014

U2, First Impressions

A full review of "Songs Of Innocence" is coming once I listen to the songs a few more times and once my brain is fully wrapped around the fact that a whole new U2 album just got released with about five minutes' notice.  (Ravi and I are tickled pink.)  My first listen came right here at my desk, right in the same place where I'm now typing this very post, and it was certainly the most unplanned "first U2 listen" I've ever had.  For the other albums, I've literally planned my day around my initial listen.

* For "No Line On The Horizon," I first heard it sitting on the couch in my parents' living room, after everyone else had gone to bed.

* For "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb," I'd picked up the album on the way to school.  I had about a three-hour break between classes that day, so I took the opportunity to load the disc into my car's CD player and then just drive around northern London listening to everything.  (This was, admittedly, not the most environmentally-friendly thing I could've done.)  Then it was back to campus for my last class, and if you suspect my mind was still on the music and I wasn't paying a cent's worth of attention to the lecture that day, you're right.

* For "All That You Can't Leave Behind," I bought the record on the way back from school, which was admittedly a much smarter move since I could focus on my classes earlier in the day.  (Why didn't I remember this three years later?)  The first listen came in what was then "the computer room" in my parents' house, a.k.a. our old guest bedroom after we moved out the bed and put in a spare desk.  Fun fact, the record was actually released on Halloween, so my first listen came while I was in the basement and my mom was facing an onslaught of trick-or-treaters upstairs.  A good son would've helped her hand out candy, but…uh…

The earlier albums were all initially heard in the same place: the "old computer room" of my parents' basement, roughly 10 feet away from the guest bedroom.  No doubt I was playing solitaire or freecell while listening to the CDs, so as to not clutter my brain with a less-mindless task when I needed to be focusing on the music.  Since I was playing catchup with U2's discography at this point, I don't remember the specific circumstances of each first listen though I do remember *where* I got some of the albums.  "Joshua Tree" I bought at a Sunrise Records in Masonville Mall.  "Zooropa" I bought at, of all places, a CD store on the New Jersey boardwalk when we were visiting the Jersey Shore for a wedding.  "Boy" and "October" I both borrowed from my cousin Steve, and I recall initially thinking that October was pretty terrible.  (My opinion has since softened, though not by a ton.)

Given how long it takes U2 to release new albums nowadays, I look forward to hearing their followup record for the first time when it's beamed directly into my brain by my household cyborg butler.

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