IT’S NO secret that I’m a fan of U2, but even I balked two years ago when I read that the band was going to reissue their mega hit of an album The Joshua Tree.
See, here was my problem: I already had The Joshua Tree. On CD and on vinyl. Plus, I already had all their singles. On CD and on vinyl. So really, I had no attraction to buy this new version of the album, re-mastered sound notwithstanding. (I mean really, how many people out there can tell the difference between anyway?)
Personally, I’m not a big fan of repackages or reissues, unless the repack came with some really, really, great stuff, a smorgasbord even, and not just two extra tracks. But in recent years, perhaps realising that they’ll probably never achieve their musical peaks of the past – I mean seriously, No Line On The Horizon got me nowhere – they’ve resorted to reissuing old material over the past two years. So no, I wasn’t impressed enough to buy another Joshua Tree album.
Then I read the limited deluxe edition would have a bonus DVD containing the rarely seen video to Red Hill Mining Town, an almost full-length concert shot in France, and a featurette called Outside It’s America, highlighting their earlier American jaunt on Joshua Tree tour which also included the video for In God’s Country and Spanish Eyes, a B-side track.
Furthermore, the bonus CD would contain unreleased tracks from those sessions, most notably a song called Birdland, to which Bono added lyrics to 20 years later and rerecorded, and the hard-to-find-but-infinitely-more-boring version of Silver And Gold recorded with Keith Richards and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones.
It cost a bomb and I had to sell off some of my old CDs to pay for it, but I was happy.
It wasn’t until later that I started wondering if I was becoming a hoarder. I mean, I have CDs from practically every genre of music – blues, classical, country, hip-hop, instrumental, jazz, metal, New Age, pop, rock, world and Zappa. I can say that I’ve only listened to about a quarter of them from start to finish. And I probably have about the same number still wrapped in the plastic.
But when it was announced last year that U2 would be reissuing their first three albums – Boy, October and War – which would come with a bonus CD each featuring B-sides, live tracks and rare singles tracks previously unavailable on CD. I knew I had to get them.
Along with this year’s Under A Blood Red Sky, reissued with a DVD featuring an almost full-length version of Live At Red Rocks (the now-infamous Send In The Clowns snippet in the middle of The Electric Co being edited out).
And then there was the reissue of The Unforgettable Fire. Like The Joshua Tree, this one came chock-a-block with stuff like a bonus CD, a DVD featuring snippets from their Conspiracy Of Hope tour, Live Aid and the “making of” documentary and accompanying music videos.
So why would I buy six albums I already have? I’d like to say it was for all the extras, but I’ve just realised that I haven’t heard the bonus CD from The Joshua Tree in its entirety.
Maybe I am a hoarder. But at least I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint or whatever it’s called, to restore the balance. Buy a new expensive limited edition; sell off 30 CDs to pay for it.
Except that it’s hard to figure out which to get rid of. Those still wrapped in plastic will fetch top resale dollar because they’re mint, but I haven’t heard them yet, so maybe I ought to, but if I tear the plastic then they won’t be mint and I have to sell more to make up the deficit.
I just hope U2 won’t reissue any more albums. I can’t afford to keep buying the same albums over and over again.