When the weather starts to cool down, the women stop wearing skimpy clothing and the leaves on the trees become prettier, it’s the end of the silly season. Replacing it is always a more serious period, a three-month span of deeper thoughts, higher risks and hopefully, more enduring fare. It’s the busiest time of the year for the music business as big names and aspiring newcomers all vie for their slice of an ever shrinking revenue pie heading into Christmas.
Rolling Stone Magazine recently unveiled its Fall Music Preview, a list of the more anticipated titles due to be released before the end of the decade. My list is way shorter. Here are the only upcoming CDs I’m looking forward to hearing:
The Unforgettable Fire (Deluxe Edition) by U2
A number of veteran alternative rockers have seen their past glories remastered and expanded in numerous updated releases this year. Morrissey’s Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted. The Stone Roses’ self-titled debut. Radiohead’s Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK Computer.
Once again, U2, the best of all of these acts, have dipped into their vaults to offer fans a slew of new versions of one of their more respected early releases. Their fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire, the first to be produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno back in 1984, is the fifth U2 studio effort to be rereleased as part of its terrific reissue program.
Like The Joshua Tree in 2007, and Boy, October and War in 2008, Fire will be available in numerous forms: a single-disc remastered edition, a vinyl version, the 2CD Deluxe Edition and a limited edition box set that is essentially the Deluxe set with a bonus DVD. All I’m personally interested in is the Deluxe Edition, particularly the second disc of bonus material.
U2 announced on their website the complete track listing for that part of the release two days ago. As expected, all the B-sides from this period are here. The two Boomerang instrumentals, Sixty Seconds In Kingdom Come and Bass Trap plus long versions of 4th Of July and early single 11 O’Clock Tick Tock (a rare take that was only available previously as a 7" vinyl giveaway in a British music magazine). The complete Wide Awake In America EP, which featured two rejected Fire tracks, Love Comes Tumbling and The Three Sunrises as well as live versions of Bad and A Sort Of Homecoming, has been included, as well. There are a couple of Wire remixes, another version of Homecoming, the single version of Pride, plus two new recordings of songs that weren’t finished at the time of the original album sessions. Bass Trap and the two Wide Awake studio cuts were originally part of the second disc of The Best Of 1980-1990 & B-Sides back in 1998 but, like all the previous U2 reissues, it’s nice to have all the B-sides in one place here.
Fire had been rereleased before back in 1994 in a special Gold Edition which then-Toronto Sun music critic (he works for The Star now) John Sakamoto praised for what he felt was its improved sound, despite the lack of bonus material. Curiously, the B-Side extended version of 4th Of July replaced the original album version on that release. The Deluxe Edition restores the original edit for disc one and offers the long version on disc two. Having heard the Boy, October and Joshua Tree reissues, I’m really looking forward to this new, expanded release of Fire. (I’d like to get the Deluxe Edition of War, as well. Too bad it’s so goddamned expensive.)
All reissued versions of The Unforgettable Fire are out October 20th, according to Amazon.ca.
Raditude by Weezer
You never know when this Rivers Cuomo-fronted outfit is going to be ready to release new material. There were two years separating the arrival of "The Blue Album" (1994) and Pinkerton (1996). Then, after a five-year hiatus, there were two back-to-back comeback albums in 2001 and 2002, "The Green Album" and Maladroit, respectively. Three years later came Make Believe and last year, there was "The Red Album".
Now, on October 27th, Weezer unveil Raditude, their seventh studio offering. The goofy title is courtesy of actor Rainn Wilson. According to Cuomo (as reported on RollingStone.com), he asked The Office star for the coolest word he could come up with for an album title. Wilson’s suggestion was to combine "radical" and "attitude" into the aforementioned Raditude. Cuomo was sold and the rest is history.
Even more amusing than the title is the album’s cover. Spotted by the Weezer frontman in National Geographic Magazine, it features an adorable pooch named Sidney leaping for joy in his owner’s living room. (Check out the very funny parodies of that image in that link.)
Hopefully, the music will be as entertaining as the band’s past two releases. Like The Red Album, Raditude will be available in a standard 10-song edition and a limited Deluxe Edition that features 4 bonus tracks. (If you order on iTunes, you get two more cuts on top of the 14.) Both are available, as noted, on October 27th.
Swords by Morrissey
After a seven-year exile, the mopey one returned in 2004 with some of the best material of his underappreciated solo career. Three studio albums, a live record and a Greatest Hits package later, Morrissey will end the decade with a B-sides collection called Swords. Comprised entirely of songs recorded during sessions for You Are The Quarry, Ringleader Of The Tormentors and Years Of Refusal, it features most of the tracks that were originally released as bonus tracks on smash British singles like Irish Blood, English Heart and You Have Killed Me.
With titles like If You Don’t Like Me, Don’t Look At Me; It’s Hard To Walk Tall When You’re Small and Children In Pieces, how can one resist? The collection also includes a live cover version of David Bowie’s Drive-In Saturday. (The original is on Aladdin Sane which I highly recommend.)
Like the original release of Greatest Hits, the near 70-minute, 18-track compilation will be packaged with a limited edition concert disc. It’ll feature eight songs recorded during a 2009 gig in Poland.
Both versions of Swords will be out November 3rd.
Greatest Hits by Foo Fighters
Three years ago, I wrote two pieces (here and here) about musicians who had earned the right to put out a greatest hits package. Since then, acts like Garbage, The Goo Goo Dolls, Sarah McLachlan, Radiohead and Sum 41 have done just that. On November 3, you can add Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters to that list.
Two years after the successful release of their Grammy-winning 2007 effort, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, the band is finally getting around to releasing a singles collection. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news. It’s a single disc, not a double, and a good number of key singles are not included. Where the hell are I’ll Stick Around, The X-Files movie version of Walking After You, The One from Orange County, Darling Nikki (the Prince cover), Low, Next Year, DOA, Let It Die and No Way Back? None of these rock radio staples made the cut. Ridiculous.
Thankfully, tracks like Learn To Fly, My Hero and This Is A Call are among the hits that did make the album which also includes two new songs plus an acoustic take on Everlong, which I’m hoping is the version Grohl recorded live on The Howard Stern Show many moons ago. (It’s one of the longtime New York broadcaster’s favourite all-time tracks.) Finally, there’s Skin & Bones, the only non-album B-Side included on the record.
The 16-song collection (which should’ve been a double) is out November 3rd.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, September 29, 2009