U2 have been putting out Record Store Day releases for a while now, but does it matter? Let’s find out.
This is a slightly odd but intriguing release, the A-side of which replicates the opening of their recent tour, in which Charlie Chaplin’s final soliloquy from The Great Dictator segues into the opening chords of New Year’s Day. If you were lucky enough to own one of the 5,000 copies of this, you’ll see that the vinyl insert replicates that speech and it’s a thing of beauty.
It is a surprisingly moving piece of vinyl – which, although piggybacks on an already great piece of cinematic Chaplin, – is a needed and timely missive during this unending worldwide political hell. The rest of the release is a kind of mashup from Zooropa-era sessions, quite elegantly flanked by Jon Pleased Wimmin’s ‘Euromantic’ mix of Love is All We Have Left.
I’ll be honest, I wanted to review this so I could have something with the European flag in my office. I know it’s U2. I know I’m supposed to think it’s naff. I know I have a sound art doctorate, but I have a really soft spot for New Year’s Day. Those anthemic chords have stood the test of time and yes, they might be broad strokes, but I think we need broad strokes just now.
Note to UK rap fans of the 1990s – remember that Kiss AMC track, A Bit of U2? *that’s* what was bugging me all the way through this listen… Get that Youtube on. That’s remixes for you. There’s free lovely agit-prop stickers (that don’t feel rebellious really and have all the power of a focus group on here) and a messy design that was, in the 1990s, quite a nice (Neville Brody – no, I looked it up, it’s Brian Williams) assemblage. This version is from Shaun McGrath from Dublin’s AMP Visual. These folks don’t make it into reviews, so for the hell of it, here’s his LinkedIn!
Update. I’ve a cup of tea and some Solpadeine.
If U2 really wanted to make a buzz on Record Store Day, they’d go into their palatial studio, phone up Eno and make a four-track EP in a day and limit the release to 3,000 records, and distribute them for free in war torn cities. But they chose to outsource the work instead and so yes, I’m reading that I wrote it was ‘moving’ which it is, but that’s due to Chaplin and nostalgia, and not four men that need to get something out there, that have to do it.