"This is Red Rocks!...This is The Edge!"
Coolfer featured an amusing article today about a new "limited edition" black and red iPod featuring faux autographs of the four members of U2 its back. It costs $350, has 20 gigs, and each purchase supposedly gives you an extra $50 worth of iTunes cash with which to spend exclusively on some upcoming U2 "digital box set." (set to list at $150) Limited edition poster too.
Allow me to go all Annie Lennox on you for a 'sec..."tell me why?"
I don't mind U2 teaming up with Apple for those ubiquitous advertisements featuring the iPod and new single "Vertigo" because I think the latter is a great song, and I was more than happy to use iTunes to download it far in advance of the release of their new record. The iPod is a fantastic device, and using a U2 song to sell it is as good a method as any, even if I highly doubt that Bono and Co. need the cash.
But who exactly is the limited "U2" edition of the iPod supposed to appeal to? My guess would be mid to late 30-somethings a little slow to the digital revolution and feeling nostalgic for their college days. Maybe those folks are willing to kick down $450 for an ugly, Bono-endorsed, iPod and the roughly 400 U2 songs that the box set is supposed to contain (this is all according to the article....they have 400 songs?). Then again, I know a handful of people who would probably trash their current iPods in favor of a new one if it featured Thom Yorke's John Hancock on the back....
If nothing else, all of this U2+iTunes=$$$ jazz got me thinking about their older records, and I recently spent four dollars downloading 2 songs each off of the Boy and October records, both of which I've heard several times, but don't own.
Looking back, it's incredible how advanced U2's earlier material sounds. None of the band members were out of their early 20's at the time of Boy, and yet that record features a level of songwriting and sonic advancement that most bands could never hope to acheive in their lifetime.
Of the two songs I downloaded from Boy, "Electric Co." is every bit as anthemic as the better known "I Will Follow," and the oddly titled "An Cat Dubh" is an epic six minute ballad reminiscent of a caravan slowing creeping through the desert (not to mention megamegamega's pick for 'best U2 song of all time').
October has always been the red-headed stepchild of the U2 discography; none of its songs remain in U2's current live show and its singles never made much of a splash, but the record deserves a second look. "Gloria" was always one of U2's better 'Song #1/Side-A's' (esp. the live version from Under a Blood Red Sky) and the Asian hued "Tomorrow" is downright creepy; supposedly one of the only songs Bono ever wrote about his mother. The title track is featured on the U2 1980-1990 hits compilation, but its actually one of the weaker tunes on the album.