Friday, July 12, 2019

U2 – The Unforgettable Fire and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (Album Review)

U2 continues its masterful vinyl reissue campaign that it started last year with another selection of mixed chronology releases. This time around they’ve paired 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire and 2004’s How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb together and pressed them both on sharply colored wax that evokes each album’s cover art. The Unforgettable Fire has been pressed on 180-gram “wine” (a rich, not too deep purple) and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb has been pressed on 180-gram red (an explosively bright variant shade). These two new entries in the vinyl reissue catalog are welcomed additions to the impressive rollout that has already featured Wide Awake in America, Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Pop, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and both “Best of” compilations.

While I may certainly be reading too much into the potential reasoning behind their choices for release parings, I really like this duo because both albums echo points in the band’s career where they wonderfully subverted the expectations of needing to follow their preceding albums. For example, the experimentally ambient The Unforgettable Fire was released about a year and a half after the far more bombastic rock of War. Likewise, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb really cranked the guitars and energy up a couple notches from what they merely hinted at with All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Both albums also contain some of U2’s most beloved hits and deep album fan favorites, including “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Bad,” “A Sort of Homecoming,” “Vertigo,” and “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.” Additionally, both albums have been certified 3x platinum in the U.S. alone, with The Unforgettable Fire notching over 8 million in worldwide sales and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb hitting 10 million worldwide.

For these reissues, the attentive touches go well beyond the cool aesthetics of the color wax choices. Both reissues are housed in standard single sleeve packaging with fantastic color work on the front and back covers. Inside, both releases feature two sleeve options: a black poly-lined paper sleeve and a thicker full color option. They both also contain a beautiful, full color 16-page booklet with lyrics, liner notes, and more. I must say, as a vinyl collector and a massive U2 fan, both of these releases not only check a variety of boxes on the high-quality reissue want list, but they also continue the trend of U2’s pitch-perfect campaign of reissuing their back catalog on heavyweight vinyl with sturdy packaging, brilliant artwork, and nice little extra touches that help make these reissues really standout from their decades-old vinyl pressings. Whether you’re upgrading your original versions or grabbing the albums for the first time, I highly recommend picking up The Unforgettable Fire and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb reissues (as well as their reissues from the last year and a half or so) for the superb audio quality and the beautifully well-done visuals.

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