What are your three favorite studio songs off the album Rattle and Hum, and how do you feel about the album in 2018?

Van Diemen's Land
2 (1.2%)
20 (12.2%)
Hawkmoon 269
27 (16.5%)
Angel of Harlem
17 (10.4%)
Love Rescue Me
4 (2.4%)
When Love Comes to Town
8 (4.9%)
30 (18.3%)
God Part II
16 (9.8%)
All I Want Is You
40 (24.4%)

Total Members Voted: 54

Author Topic: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective  (Read 671 times)

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Offline Vox

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Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« on: July 17, 2018, 07:21:01 AM »
This is the sixth part of the U2: Retrospective.  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login 

After listening to the album now, in the present day, the main part of each post will be to vote for your three favorite songs from each album.  The next parts can be optional (well, the whole thing is “optional”), but I’ll structure my posts like this:
•   When did I first listen to that album?  What is my history with the album?   
•   How do I feel about the album when I listen to it today, versus how I’ve felt about the album in the past?

Top three songs (studio):  “God Part II,” “Desire,” and “Hawkmoon 269”  NOTE:  since this is a double, live/studio record, I’m going to refer to only the studio versions of songs.

Rattle and Hum was the first U2 album I picked up around the time of its release.  In the late ‘80s, my older sister was dating a super-cool guy.  He had the greatest mullet, wore the sweetest clothes, drove a Fiero…  He also listened to some cutting-edge music, and it was he who got me into the band U2.  I distinctly remember the first time I saw Rattle and Hum (the movie) with him.  I was mesmerized.  I must have watched my VHS copy of that movie once or twice every month for a couple of years before Achtung Baby was released.  And I loved this album back then.  But a strange thing happened in the ‘90s and ‘00s – I began to disregard it.  I’m not really sure why.  It’s not my favorite U2 sound…  Maybe I was swayed by public and band opinion of the album…  Since the early ‘90s, I’d list it as my 2nd or 3rd least favorite U2 album. 

But occasionally, in the past couple years, I’ve found myself going back to it.  And when I started to listen to it earlier this month, preparing for this retrospective, I found myself bringing up certain songs again and again.  “God Part II”…  wow…  I always understood how thematically this song is considered a herald to ’90s U2, but I never realized how much the Edge’s guitar squawks and “solo” (for lack of a better word) were such a genetic ancestor to the buzzy and clangy guitar sounds of Achtung Baby.  I loved “Desire” when it was released, but I really haven’t sought it out much for a couple decades.  Listening to it now, though – I’m very thankful that U2 went through a period like this.  It’s a solid, dirty little pop song.  I used to disregard “Hawkmoon 269” until a summer or two ago when it came up on the radio out of nowhere.  I was driving down into a valley with thunderclouds overhead and I had “one of those moments” while listening to it.  It’s a damn fine song…

I’ve never really cared for “Angel of Harlem,” or “When Love Comes to Town.”  Never really enjoyed “Love Rescue Me,” though listening to it again recently, Bono’s unrestrained part at the end is something to behold.  I’ve always loved “Van Diemen’s Land” and “Heartland.”  It seems that I should like “All I Want Is You” more than I do… 

Anyway, I feel that I’ve unfairly maligned this album, which is my wife’s favorite U2 album (though she’s not a U2 fan, by any stretch).  And though it’s not my favorite version of U2, in retrospect, I’m glad they went through this period and I have this collection of songs.  I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot more play than usual from me the rest of the summer. 

Offline ShankAsu

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 11:02:54 AM »
AIWIY, LRM and Heartland
Love this album and the film (and also the doc that came with the JT deluxe edition which i think is a companion piece to it).  Probably my 4th of 5th favorite album by them.

Offline miracle_al

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2018, 03:48:53 PM »
Heartland is so great.  Quite possibly Bono's best-ever lyric, and one of his best vocal performances, IMHO.  That song has such a great feel to it.  It would have fit right in on TJT.

Offline dirtdrybonesandstone

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2018, 05:35:45 PM »
Heartland by a long shot.   Too bad it didn’t get a deserving spot on TJT.    There are others that are first rate U2 (Desire, GP2, AOH).    Definitely didn’t care for Helter Skelter though, nor the live versions from TJT.   Makes it hard to listen to.

Offline benpoke

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 07:59:09 AM »
I love this album.  I said my bit here: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 12:03:59 PM »
When Love Comes to Town
Angel of Harlem

One day, while I was 11 years old and still obssessively immersed in The Joshua Tree, my mom suddenly had a new tape in the car. It was Rattle and Hum. I was not the type of kid to listen judgmentally. U2 had already won me over, so it was just a matter of listening to this new gem.

This album probably has the biggest gap between how I experienced it then vs. now. Then, it delivered on the promise of "a musical journey" and gave me my first taste of live U2. Now it's a weird live-studio mash-up with a crappy opening track and wtf moments. But also, still, some really good stuff.

I can't vote for my actual favorite, which is a weird choice, I know: Silver and Gold. That song always took me someplace else. Today the lyrics make me cringe in places. But those opening notes - most people wouldn't hear anything there, but I feel this excitement, anticipation like they just walked out on the stage and just started playing.

My favorite two are Love Comes to Town and Angel of Harlem. I know now U2 tried to wear a mantle they certainly didn't inherit - but I didn't know that then and I always love when they do blues and soul (and love that feel in parts of Lights of Home, for example). Honestly, I half agree with Bono. I legit think he has soul. (I don't know where the "I can't sing" part came from). And I love B.B. ("Where's B.B.?"). I should be happy with what I got but I would have loved another U2/B.B. song, love his guitar.

Some comments about some other studio songs:

Why can't we have an Edge song every album? At least a bonus track? Or just a damn verse? I know we got a verse in YTBTAM but Moar Edge Pls.

Better than I remembered. It's a Bono and Larry song. The drums are friggen awesome. The singing is terrific. But "like a sheet stain" - what in the actual f***?

Also better than I remembered. I was struck - really, really struck - by how evocative the music and lyrics are of the American heartland. I swear I could smell the swampland off I-10, that warm, dank, sour-sweetness, in the opening notes. All my life I'd think about those gold and silver veins when looking down from an airplane window at night - every damn time. Haven't heard this in a while but I'll be giving it some more listens now. So it got my third choice for fave here.

It's hard to talk in detail about Rattle and Hum without at least mentioning the film. When I was a kid, I didn't see (or maybe just didn't care) how far Bono's head was up his own ass here. I guess I got some glimpses but I figured I'd think I was awesome too if I were Bono. Or something like that.

I finally got to see these guys, until then in my head a strange Mount Rushmore, in motion. It was glorious.

I haven't seen it this century except clips of 2 or 3 songs off YouTube. I would want to get rid of literally everything that isn't on stage. And that probably includes All Along the Watchtower, not because I can't appreciate the song, but Bono's personality had gone on a detour. (Thank god we got him back).

But, those glorious moments. Streets: the red. Larry. Edge. Bono just strolling out like a mofo. The house lights and the 63 million screaming people. Bono dances with the mic stand. Edge Takes a Walk. Adam spins out of the way. Adam leans. Bono walks on tip toe. God, that's just one song. I wouldn't be able to explain it but I don't have to.

Offline miracle_al

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2018, 03:43:34 PM »
With all of this talk about 'Heartland', I just went back and listened to it.  I am pleased to report that it is still great.  Man, U2 was on a songwriting roll during the J-Tree sessions.  The album tracks plus 'Heartland' plus the various B-Sides....absolutely incredible. 

Offline SwimmingSorrows

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2018, 07:50:02 PM »
I kind of got into U2 through the movie.  I knew and liked a few U2 songs, but I wasn't really a fan of them yet.  What pushed me over the edge was a video by a music YouTuber I really like called Todd in the Shadows.  The video is called "The Top 5 Awful Moments in U2's Rattle and Hum."  Here's a link to it:

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The guy who made it is a U2 fan despite the title, and he praises the live version of Sunday Bloody Sunday in Rattle and Hum.  After seeing this video, I went and watched that performance several times.  Soon after, I listened to The Joshua Tree, and then then everything else fell into place.

Offline Chip

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2018, 01:24:34 AM »
I saw R&H the movie first, sometime almost certainly in the summer of '89 (or even late spring) after it came out on video, which back then of course meant VHS. I was still not a fan at that point (that would come later in the fall) but thought it was artistically near-masterful as a concert film; I thought Jouneau did a great job as director. I would rent the movie again after I became a fan, but it would be another three-and-a-quarter years before I would finally get the album. Of the new songs, I remember noting "Heartland" as standing out during that first viewing, and the scene of the band sitting on the hill above the Mississippi is still my favorite one in the film.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 01:26:45 AM by Chip »

Offline zoo adam

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2018, 11:55:21 AM »
U2 were riding high after TJT. At the time no U2 fans were complaining about a new 1988 album & film.

R & H was not a classic as TJT was, however the songs were not a 'Passengers' esq departure in style & the short wait negated any drop in quality. 

The live songs padded out the album. Great if you like live songs. I don't, but enjoyed 'All along the Watch Tower' & the different version of ISHFILF.

The film was criticised. Not sure why, it was a rockumentary. If you like U2, it will be interesting.

As of now, I still enjoy the new songs & not a 'Boots' anywhere.

Offline mrsamrocks2

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2018, 06:55:46 PM »
There are some great songs on it like AIWIY and Heartland, but overall, this is not the U2 I like and I tend to listen to R&H the least out of all their albums.

Offline U2alwaysforever

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2018, 08:05:22 AM »
to me, its the America album, I love Rattle and Hum but I'm more of a new U2 fan, so it will likely never hold top 5 for me, but absolutely love it.

Offline rlabs19

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2018, 03:27:39 PM »
R&H is a personal favorite of mine. As an album in totality, it is not their best work; the live/studio combination really does not work. However, if you separate out the studio tracks (like in the poll), I think it is an extremely strong album. I never understood the hate for it, but to each their own.

Angel of Harlem
When Love Comes to Town

Offline A_Fly_On_The_Wall

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 04:55:12 AM »
1. All I Want Is You
2. Angel Of Harlem
3. Desire

I first started listening to U2’s music in detail shortly after NLOTH was released in 2009 so had purchased the album “Rattle & Hum” as part of wanting to get to know the band from their early beginnings.

“All I Want Is You” is an absolute beast of a song on record. The entire performance just encompasses everything that was magnificent about U2 in the 1980’s. Soulful vocals from Bono accompanied by fantastic musical prowess by Edge, Adam and Larry, plus the addition with the string section towards the end of the song, makes this a truly wonderful record!

“Angel Of Harlem” has always been a firm favourite of mine. I’ve always loved how Bono wails on this track and I love the lyrics as well. Larry’s beat is also infectious and carries the song well. I’d love to hear them play this regularly on tour as I’m sure it would sound fantastic!

“Desire” has always sounded like the definitive song from this album for me. It sounds like the direction they wanted to aim for with the album and it includes everything you’d need from a typical bluesy-rock song - even a harmonica at the end! Great tune and always gets the crowd pumping when played live!

“Rattle & Hum” ended U2’s first decade well, even if it wasn’t as well received as it could have been. Some great songs throughout and a bold move to go with a part-studio and part-live recorded album as well.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Rattle and Hum: Retrospective
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2018, 07:20:46 PM »
The movies fine.  The album, as a snapshot of where they were at live at the time (with some studio tracks thrown in), is fine.  Don't overthink it.