U2 on "The Unforgettable Fire": "You Have to Take Risks."

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By Christopher John Farley, Wall Street Journal Blogs (Speakeasy)

The boys from U2 have been marking the 25th anniversary of the release of "The Unforgettable Fire" with a series of re-issues of the album. There's a new remastered version, a vinyl version, a "Deluxe Edition" and even a "Super Deluxe Edition" for $54.99 on Amazon with two CDs, a DVD and a bunch of other extras.

Speakeasy is hoping that they come out with a "Super Mega Magnanimous Deluxe Edition 2.0″ with plane tickets to Dublin, a pub crawl with Bono and guitar lessons from The Edge. We can only hope.

"The Unforgettable Fire" is an album worth celebrating. U2 fans and critics can debate which album is the group's best-"War," "The Joshua Tree," maybe "Achtung Baby." But "The Unforgettable Fire" deserves to be part of the conversation.

Released in October 1984, and recorded at Slane Castle in Ireland, the release was the first U2 album to be produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois and it took U2 in a more experimental direction. When you see the 1984 video "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and see all these largely-forgotten European pop-rockers with questionable haircuts, one reason why U2 transcended all that is that they took an artistic leap like "The Unforgettable Fire." U2 didn't just take risks with their hair-they took chances with their music.

"Unforgettable" songs like "A Sort of Homecoming" combined poetic lyrics with nakedly emotional performances, pulling the listener in and keeping them there as they tried to figure out what it all meant. Other songs gave up their meanings more readily: "Pride (In the Name of Love)" eulogized Martin Luther King, Jr.-a challenging subject for a rock song. The track "Bad," also off the album, explored heroin addiction in terms that were both evocative and abstract.

U2 provided Speakeasy with an exclusive clip of the band talking about the making of "The Unforgettable Fire." You can watch it below. Feel free to sound off on what you think is the best U2 album in the comments section.

Copyright © 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on November 12, 2009 8:45 AM.

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