- Helter Skelter (Live) (3:07)
- Van Diemen’s Land (The Edge) (3:05)
- Desire (2:59)
- Hawkmoon 269 (6:22)
- All Along the Watchtower (Live) (4:24)
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Live) (5:53)
- Freedom For My People (Satan And Adam) (0:38)
- Silver and Gold (Live) (5:49)
- Pride (In the Name of Love) (Live) (4:27)
- Angel of Harlem (3:49)
- Love Rescue Me (Featuring Bob Dylan) (6:24)
- When Love Comes to Town (Featuring BB King) (4:15)
- Heartland (5:03)
- God Part II (3:15)
- The Star Spangled Banner (Live) (Jimi Hendrix) (0:43)
- Bullet the Blue Sky (Live) (5:36)
- All I Want is You (6:30)
Only a band like U2 would even contemplate an album like Rattle and Hum. Rattle and Hum wasn’t just an Album, it was movie slash quasi-documentary concept packaged all-in-one. Incorporated in the mega-bundle of an album are 17 songs, 2 of which are covers and 4 previous songs from The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree which are now live. We also get 2 songs which aren’t even written or performed by the band chucked it. This still leaves 9 original songs- enough to make an album. At first impressions this album seems a particularly pretentious and egoistical concept. But does it make the grade? It sure does! Rattle and Hum is U2’s tribute to the Blues, Gospel and Soul God’s of America, and it’s a concept which works particularly well.
This is an album with a lot of variety. The Beatles’ cover, ‘Helter Skelter’ is done particularly well with tremendous energy, but conversely ‘All Along the Watchtower’ struggles to really make much of an impact. Live versions of ‘Pride(In the Name of Love)’ and ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ are quite effective and go well with the flow of the album. The live version of ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’ manages to be even better than the studio version and is a highlight. ‘Silver and Gold’ is a ‘Where the Streets Have no Name’ B-side and is well done. However the best parts of this album are the original tracks, which once again sound like nothing U2 have done in the past, showcasing their wide musical influences.
The second track, ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ features Edge on vocals for the very first time and is a lovely song. This kind of makes us wonder why Edge doesn’t take more lead singing duties. ‘Desire’ is a great energetic song and wildly fun to listen to and is nothing like U2 have done before. U2 go pop for ‘Angel of Harlem’- it’s a nice song, bit of trumpet here and there and like many of the songs on this album, U2 certainly feel comfortable playing the new styles. BB King joins U2 for ‘When Love Comes to Town’ for a soul session, and while it’s a little predictable, it’s also a lot of fun. ‘Love Rescue Me’ is neither interesting nor enjoyable and never reaches any great heights- even Bob Dylan can’t save this song. However, the three original songs to end the album are undoubtedly sensational.
‘Heartland’, ‘God Part II’ and ‘All I want is You’ are all different songs in their own right, and each showcasing the band’s skill in writing well-built and structured songs, which prior to The Joshua Tree was never their forte. ‘Heartland’ is a wonderfully haunting song capturing the beauty of the American landscape. It is quite an underrated song, something very unlike U2, venturing into Bruce Springsteen territory. ‘God Part II’ features an energetic Larry Mullen drumming and a passionate Bono telling us nothing matters, but love. It’s a very sexy and masculine song and gives us a taste of Achtung Baby. The album ends appropriately with ‘All I Want is You’, which is the best song on the album and is deeply engrossing- it has a very cute video clip too.
Rattle and Hum at times sounds like a little bit of a lovefest. U2 certainly seemed to enjoy themselves making this album which was particularly big on love- they sang about love and they certainly loved themselves. Who would have thought a little post-punk band from Dublin would venture into and embrace the USA like they did. This album is a dedication to American Blues, Folk, Soul and Gospel music- but the band never seem to lose themselves. Despite venturing into the mainstream, they still sound grandiose. The familiar elements are still there- the ringing edge guitars, energetic drumming, atmospheric Bass and passionate vocals are prevalent throughout. This is definitely a fun listen despite being a bit cliché and slightly too long. Nothing is loss and musically, Rattle and Hum is a step forward. 8/10
How would you rate U2′s Rattle and Hum album? Rate and leave a comment below.