Sunday, September 18, 2005

CD Review: U2 - Wide Awake in America

Rating: ***

I first bought this EP, in tape form, from a used record shop for about $3.00. I wore the sucker out playing on my way to and from high school.

It is really more of a CD single than any real album. Though the sticker price would have you wish for more. It has two live cuts, and a couple of B side singles.

The first track, a live cut of Bad, from the newly released (back in 1985) album, The Unforgettable Fire, is tremendous. It has a real laid back feel to it, with a nice groove running throughout. Adam Clayton's bass moves the song along while Bono is at his best as front man.

Bono sings the song like a preacher at the apocalypse. You can almost see him standing on the edge of the stage, thousands of fans reaching out to him in front, while fires ablaze from behind.

Another live track comes next, A Sort of Homecoming. It doesn't have quite the same magical feel of Bad, but is still played quite well, and is actually quite fun. What with the bouncy chorus, sing along chanting, you actually forget the darkness of the lyrics.

The final two cuts, Three Sunrises, and Love Comes Tumbling are studio offerings that didn't make the cut for The Unforgettable Fire. It is easy to see why. They are slower ballads, with little passion of delivery.

But if you can find the album in the bargain bin, the live version of Bad is more than worth a listen.

To read an essay I wrote on U2 featuring some stories culled from this album click here.

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