Sunday, November 25, 2007

Joshua Tree at 20, plus a rant

Wanna feel old? It has been 20 years since U2 released their landmark album The Joshua Tree. That's right, 20 years! To commemorate the anniversary, the album has been remastered and reissued, and now includes a second disc with all of the B-sides from the original singles. Also included is "Wave of Sorrow," a song written during the Joshua sessions and recently completed for this set (Bono added the vocals to the existing music).

In case you just woke up from a two-decade-long coma, The Joshua Tree is one of THE classic rock albums of all time. Occasionally you'll even catch it topping a list of "Greatest albums of all time," though usually that slot is reserved for the Beates' Sgt. Pepper. So if you don't own the album, wipe the 20-year sand from your eyes, stretch those coma-tight muscles, and find your way down to Best Buy (don't bother looking around for a record store—they don't exist anymore) or hop onto iTunes and download the deluxe version for $16.99 (single disc version is $9.99).

Now that the plug is done, it's time for me to rant. U2 has long been my favorite band (besides the Beatles, who are in another league. Basically it's the Beatles, then everyone else. Oh, and Bjork is a close second behind U2). So, on to my complaint.

I own every U2 album, some of which I've even bought in multiple formats—CD, cassette, vinyl, download. I have their DVDs, their CD singles, I've bought concert tickets for more than twenty years, I've bought t-shirts, calendars, books. Everything. I've given them a lot of my hard-earned mooluh. A lot. And they've earned it by working hard, touring for every album, pushing themselves to do better; it would have been easy for them to just do Joshua Tree part 2, part 3, etc. But they are true artists—they're not Bon Jovi. They've experimented, expanded their sound, took some risks. And they haven't spent their (my) money foolishly, landing in rehab, or packing a gun like Puff Daddy. And we all know of Bono's humanitarian acts.

So. I wonder why I still can't buy the two new songs that were included on last year's "best of" collection U218. See, I already have the first 16 songs of that collection. Multiple times. All I want are the two new ones (the excellent "Window In the Skies" and the raucous collaboration with Green Day "The Saints Are Coming"). But if you go to iTunes and look it up, those songs are only available if you buy the whole 18-song package. Do I really need to spend $15.99 just to get two songs? I wrongly thought that when the album was released in Nov. 2006, that after some time they would make the two songs available individually. Here it is a year later and you still can't download those songs. Who is the greedy party here? Is it U2, or is it Apple? Why can't I spend my money to legally download these two songs?! I want to give U2 another $1.98 of my money, but I guess they don't want it.

This harkens back to the pre-Apple iTunes era when people were forced to illegally download songs because there was no alternative. Music fans were ahead of the curve then; the record companies had no clue what to do. They were still pumping out those CDs, spending money on printing, packaging, shipping, warehousing. But the people spoke and wanted to download! And idiots like Metallica complained and sued, instead of giving the people what they wanted. The people wanted to buy the music—just not in an outdated format. Then Apple came along to save the day, and get the money back into the hands of the artists. Everyone was happy.

But now I can't buy those two frigging songs that I want. So, I'm going old school. If anyone wants to send me those two songs as MP3s, please let me know. With all the money I've given U2 over the years, I won't feel guilty about a couple of freebies.

1 comment:

SusanD said...

watch it with those Bon Jovi cracks, pal. ;)