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Old 07-25-2008, 01:13 PM   #1
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Remastery Reviewed: Marketing or Magic?

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<p class="MsoNormal"><strong>By Tracey Hackett, Contributing Editor</strong></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><strong>July 25, 2008</strong></p>
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<p class="MsoNormal">With this week’s release of digitally re-mastered versions of <em>Boy</em>, <em>October</em> and <em>War</em>, it may seem like Christmas in July for many die-hard U2 fans.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Each two-disc set of the Irish rock ‘n’ roll band’s first three albums also includes “b-sides, live tracks and rarities” that take listeners back to the beginning of U2’s professional career more than 25 years ago.</p>
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<p class="MsoNormal">While many of those bonus tracks are simply live versions of some of the earliest U2 standards or remixes of classic singles, the true rarities provide listeners with insight into the band’s technical and stylistic evolution. A song titled “Speed of Life” on disc 2 of <em>Boy</em>, for example, undeniably showcases bassist Adam Clayton’s emerging musical talent. Likewise, drummer Larry Mullen Jr.’s talents are clearly illustrated in the song “J. Swallo,” which is included on disc 2 of <em>October</em>. And “Angles Too Tied to the Ground,” on disc 2 of <em>War</em>, is an auditory gem that resonates with the beauty from the Edge’s keyboard.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Although the live tracks and remixes might, on the surface, seem too repetitious for all but the most serious U2 fan, their merit shouldn’t be categorically dismissed. <em>Boy</em>’s “Cartoon World,” recorded at a National Stadium show, serves as both a rarity and an example of the band’s talent at presenting live performances. And listening to <em>War</em>’s nearly epic-length vocal extended mix or the more abbreviated vocal radio mix of the classic “New Year’s Day” is like hearing the song with new ears.</p>
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<p class="MsoNormal">Many of the bonus tracks presented on the trilogy are significant enough to keep serious U2 fans from seeing the re-releases as simply “everything old is new again.”</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Updated liner notes with full lyrics, explanatory notes and never-before-seen pictures also help to provide more than just a welcome revisit to this period of rock ‘n’ roll history.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the re-release of these classic albums, however, is following so closely on the tail of last year’s re-release of<em> Joshua Tree</em>, considered by many to be U2’s masterpiece. Simply following the re-mastering of that breakthrough album almost guarantees a handicap on the reception of any subsequent re-release.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">The July 19 issue of the <em>Belfast Telegraph</em> reports fans’ discontent. Some speculate that the re-releases are simply repackaging and marketing ploys meant for U2 to garner maximum royalties for minimum work.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">“If you’re sitting in Windmill Lane studios and you have the speakers at full blare, of course you’re going to hear a difference, but if you play it on the car stereo or at home, the average Joe won’t know the difference,” the newspaper quotes an anonymous U2 fan.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">An assistant manager of a Dublin music store, however, said it’s not uncommon for artists to re-release their greatest hits that include a bonus track or two. Referring to the U2 album trilogy, Chris Keena said, “Combined, the three albums are our best seller today.”</p>
<p class="MsoNormal">For those who prefer to listen before buying, the entire six-disc album trilogy is available online and can be downloaded from the band’s profile at: <a href=""></a></p>
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:32 PM   #2
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Wrong. I'm an average joe who is a huge U2 fan and I noticed immediately the difference in clarity and subtle things that weren't heard before. The bass is now on par with recent records by U2 and the discs sound fantastic. Don't go in with the preconceived notion that these are "remastered" because they simply jacked up the EQ like other crappy remaster jobs; but they remastered so that these older songs have more depth than before.


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Old 08-01-2008, 01:13 PM   #3
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These three albums are the three I listen to the least, In fact I rarely listen to them at all, but I noticed an immediate difference in quality from the originals, particularly the clarity of the songs.
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