What are your three favorite songs off the album The Unforgettable Fire, and how do you feel about the album in 2018?

A Sort of Homecoming
27 (20%)
Pride (In the Name of Love)
22 (16.3%)
8 (5.9%)
The Unforgettable Fire
30 (22.2%)
4 (3%)
4th of July
0 (0%)
32 (23.7%)
Indian Summer Sky
3 (2.2%)
Elvis Presley and America
5 (3.7%)
4 (3%)

Total Members Voted: 45

Author Topic: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective  (Read 983 times)

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Offline Vox

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The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« on: June 18, 2018, 07:01:49 AM »
This is the fourth 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:  “Bad,” “A Sort of Homecoming,” and “Pride (In the Name of Love)”

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when I was first listening to U2’s records and getting myself familiarized with their older stuff, this album was the most difficult crack.  In retrospect, it may have been a bit too mature for my immature musical tastes.  But I clearly remember the exact moment I finally GOT IT, which was at least a year after I “got it.”  I was on a family vacation and giving this cassette another shot on my off-brand Walkman.  We were driving somewhere in the upper Mississippi bluff/coulee region.  It was sunset, and the sky was the color of the album cover.  And suddenly, all at once, it washed over me.  I “got it,” and I fell in love with it.  It was instantaneous, and it was deep.  Today, I consider it one of my favorite U2 albums.  It oscillates somewhere between #3 and #5 on my U2antheon, predominantly sitting firmly at #3.       

“Bad” is my favorite song by anyone of all time.  Some find it strange that I can clearly identify a favorite song.  But I have known that song to be “Bad” since I was a teenager, some 25-30 years ago.  The song has always struck something deep inside me.  How it affects me depends on if I’m happy or sad, celebratory or exhausted, sober or messed up.  “A Sort of Homecoming” is a top 10 U2 song, though like the album, it took me time to fully appreciate.  “Pride (In the Name of Love)” is the first U2 song I was able to identify as a U2 song.  My first conscious experience with U2 was listening to the beginning of that song at the swimming pool in the summer of 1985 and being struck by the unique way the song began.  “Wire” is another favorite, with The Edge’s guitar riff, like a snake eating itself.  “Promenade” has always been beautiful and moving, like a dream right before awakening.  And I LOVE “Elvis Presley and America,” though it took some time as well.  Listening to that song on good headphones and hearing the slowed down bass line from “A Sort of Homecoming” slowly march in and move to the front with 1:30 left is still a spine-tingling experience.  I love the whole damn record, with the only possible exception of the title track – I know that puts me in the minority – I’ve just never fully “gotten” that song, no matter how hard I try. 

Listening to this album again for this retrospective, front-to-back, wasn’t a groundbreaking experience.  I’m assuming it’s because I listen to this album front-to-back quite often.  It’s amazing.  As I usually do for these retrospectives, I try to think about the time it was released.  It was a 180-degree change from U2’s last album (released only a year prior), both of which sounded like nothing else going on at that time.  It’s such an amazing, special album.   

Offline zoo adam

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 11:08:28 AM »
Two members have voted for the exact same three songs. One was obviously me.

A hard choice for me as there were other contenders.

Offline zoo adam

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2018, 11:10:59 AM »
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I already posted 11 reasons why it is my favourite U2 album. Nothing has changed in the last two months.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 03:54:48 PM »
Love the story about *the exact moment*, in the car in Mississippi, with probably the same off brand Walkman I killed with The Joshua Tree (RIP tape player).

My choices:
The Unforgettable Fire

I listened to TUF in the spring of 1990. It was my first stop in the back catalog after exhausting TJT and R&H. I probably played through each of the albums once or so before settling on studying TUF, which makes sense because it is most similar to the albums that hooked me.

This album was very easy for me to get into; there were no difficult songs. I'm hearing impaired, and there were no lyrics with the CD, so my mom transcribed the lyrics to most songs on the album for me. Thanks, mom. The cover was pretty but not amazing, nothing to stare at (or the pic was too small), no goodies in the CD cover.

The title track and Promenade, which always felt like a pair to me, were the first songs I played a lot. Edge created a beautiful soundscape in TUF and I really like the rhythm, especially the parts where Adam left empty spaces - those spaces, and him coming back in are the best. It's a sonic experience for me, not the greatest vocals or lyrics but can really transport me.

A Sort of Homecoming is pleasing to the ear. I think this song fits Bono's range so well it's probably an easy song for him to slam dunk.

Pride, on the other hand, seems like a difficult song to sing. I don't know anything about singing, but it tops out the register - quite - without moving into falsetto. I can't sing a damn but I like to croak along, but this song, damn, it's hard work without even trying to sound decent. I already knew this song from R&H and liked the live version better, which is not an unusual position for a U2 fan. Today I still like the energy of liv vrsions of Pride better, and how much thicker the sound is, but I now also see how good a vocal performance the album version was.

I like Wire, a little bit of their old sound blended with the new. A bit of a rap at the end, lol. Sort of the precursor to Exit in its themes.

Bad, I also knew from R&H, and like Pride I found the original thinner. No matter, I listened to this over and over (but Wide Awake even more). What a monster of a song.

I know that some people can't "hear" it. It's repetitive, the guitar notes feel really simple. It's loooooong, too long if you can't hear it. For us here, though, we hear it. It's the emotion. It's epic, like The Odyssey, and you will feel either drained and wrung out or euphoric and uplifted at the end of your six minutes, depending on where you are when you start.

This song feels starkly different in time in terms of how the general audience changed. U2 played this song to a billion people at Live Aid. They had their hard core fans but the vast majority did not know them or Bad. Now, Bono's antics are what came across, but I see an audience who liked the song even before he went off script. I feel like today, you play this song to 100,000 people there to see someone else, everybody is going to fo "booooring" and hit the line for the loo. I am NOT a critic of younger generations, believe me, but I do feel society has changed. You have to be patient for this song. You have to do a little work to follow along. You have to walk with the singer on the journey. You have to feel the pain and you have to feel the incredible love. I know there are younger people who can still hear this, but a mass audience of non fans, I think they don't have the patience anymore.

Like many of you, I listened to this song over and over. A simple melody, maybe, but a gold mine of the range of human emotion. I also feel like they managed to find something new in it every tour. Probably only we can hear it, it's not a massive reinvention of the song, but it's totally worth it to me to hear versions over time.

Offline hollywoodswag

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2018, 01:14:25 PM »
I tend to look at this album in sort of a similar way to how I look at War: some truly stand-out hits surrounded by...eh. That said, I put this album well above its predecessor because there are more of those powerhouses, and they all sit high up in my rankings. I wish I could've picked four from this album so I could have added the title track, but I went with A Sort of Homecoming, Pride, and Bad.

I sense a bit of roughness over the album that I understand given the band trying out ambient sounds for the first time, but I feel like it prevented some songs from really coming alive, Bad especially (though it was essentially fixed live). It's still a good listen with hints of things to come, but I feel like it missed those finishing touches that could have made it a truly spectacular album in an overall sense.

Offline rlabs19

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2018, 06:29:50 PM »

Cannot understate how much I love this album. Truly experimental, yet with that U2 sound we all know and love. I honestly love every track. Elvis Presley and America is genius, and I get why they never did it live--it cannot be recreated. To me, it is a Top 3 U2 album.

Offline scott7

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2018, 04:04:25 AM »
It's their greatest album. Most atmospheric and creative they've ever been. Their greatest poetry and emotional connection through songs I think. ASOH, TUF and Bad for me with Promenade in fourth. Love it. on borderland we run.

Offline DK46

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2018, 11:20:15 AM »
A gorgeous piece of art. Daring, atmospheric and just beautiful. The beginning of the Eno/Lanois partnership and quite a journey it has been. Some fabulous b-sides from this era too. Perhaps their most unique sounding record (and they've got a few).

Apparently Miles Davis was a fan too, as he reportedly requested it while on his deathbed. High praise indeed (if this is indeed true).


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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2018, 05:07:01 PM »
I can't pick one particular song from this album to say it's my favourite. All I can say is that of everything U2 has ever put out - this album is by far my favourite. Each song has a specific important deep meaning to me.

Offline A_Fly_On_The_Wall

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2018, 04:35:46 AM »
1. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
2. The Unforgettable Fire
3. Bad

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

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this album before I first heard it as I was of the understanding it was completely different to their previous three albums. I needn’t have worried though as the album proved to be a real treat from start to end!

“Pride (In The Name Of Love)” is my favourite song from this album. You cannot deny how good this song is (even if you’re sick of hearing it live over and over again!). It’s a true 80’s classic and the message behind it is absolutely brilliant as well. Musically great and lyrically great as well - still relevant in today’s day and age also which makes it timeless.

“The Unforgettable Fire” is a mesmerising sonic soundscape of music from start to finish. Completely different to any song on any of their previous albums, this song was part of the transition into a different kind of U2 as they headed in the direction of “The Joshua Tree” and the bluesy rock of “Rattle & Hum” - and what a transition that was!

“Bad” grabbed my attention immediately from first listen and I still love it as much today. It seems as if every little emotion went into making this song incredibly grandiose, yet it started with such a distant-sounding, high-pitched riff from Edge that you would never have thought the song would end up where it does. Another quality example of U2 at their finest and it’s always a great live song as well!

A great album used as a prelude of what was to come next in the timeline of U2. Overshadowed by its successor but still isn’t prepared to be forgotten entirely - a truly unforgettable fire  ;)

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2018, 07:21:48 PM »
It's a great album, but it's not one I return to often.

Offline 73October

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Re: The Unforgettable Fire: Retrospective
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2018, 06:59:54 AM »
Not an easy one.
I accidentally missed off Bad.  So that's 4 tracks (ASOH, Pride, TUF being the other three)

Very mid 80's sound and feel.  Album hasn't stood the test of time as much as War due to the over production on it.  But still for its time a brilliant album which was contemporary sounding but not contemporary in terms of feeling.
It makes me think of bleak Irish and American landscapes and not making money in sophisticated London.