Song of the Day #3,417: ‘The Wanderer’ – U2 feat. Johnny Cash

Today’s Random Weekend selection had twice the chance of showing up because I have it on two different albums. Originally released as the final track of U2’s 1993 album Zooropa, it was later selected for Johnny Cash’s compilation album The Legend of Johnny Cash.

It’s the Cash album version that popped up when I spun the old iTunes wheel, but the two are identical (save for a minute of silence tacked on to the end of the U2 track).

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Song of the Day #3,242: ‘When I Look at the World’ – U2

One interesting aspect of U2, one of the most popular rock acts of all time, is that they’re essentially a Christian rock band.

Most Christian rock bands explicitly market themselves as such, rather than seeking a wider audience. Presumably, they see their music as a form of proselytizing. U2 doesn’t do that. But so many of their songs are about a relationship with God that they certainly could have gone down that path.

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Song of the Day #3,231: ‘With Or Without You’ – U2 vs. David Bowie

Our next Montauk Madness matchup pairs two legends, one who sadly (and triumphantly) passed away last year and another struggling to remain relevant after spending the better part of four decades as the world’s greatest rock band. David Bowie vs. U2.

Had I faced this decision before Bowie’s passing, I likely would have gone with U2. Apart from the hits, I knew Bowie’s work mostly by reputation. Of course, Bowie’s hits alone put him in contention, but I own almost all of U2’s albums and consider them at worst enjoyable and at best masterpieces (The Joshua Tree remains one of the seminal listening experiences in my life as a music fan).

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Song of the Day #2,991: ‘Promenade’ – U2

u2_unforgettable_fireWell, here’s a somber opportunity for the old “Is today’s Random iTunes selection appropriate for the occasion?” game. Today is the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

So let’s spin the wheel and see what the Random iTunes Fairy comes up with to acknowledge the milestone.

OK. A deep cut on U2’s fourth studio album, The Unforgettable Fire. Could be better, could be worse.

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Song of the Day #2,904: ‘Indian Summer Sky’ – U2

u2_unforgettable_fireU2 is indisputably one of the most successful and respected rock bands in music history. But they were knocked from their lofty perch two years ago after giving a free copy of their album to 500 million iTunes customers simultaneously.

Funny how a generous gesture can backfire. Apple users who either didn’t know or didn’t like the band ridiculed the unwanted intruder that popped up in their music library. Even some U2 fans thought it was kind of creepy that a company could just download music for you (and make it rather difficult to remove).

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Song of the Day #2,364: ‘Every Breaking Wave’ – U2

u2_songs_of_innocence

Best Songs of 2014 – #14
‘Every Breaking Wave’ – U2

I owe U2 an apology. When Songs of Innocence was creepily uploaded onto my phone, along with that of every Apple customer in the country, I initially panned it.

I don’t know if, like millions of others, I was turned off by the marketing ploy and held that against the record. Or maybe it’s just a grower. But I’ve come around to viewing it as a great late-career addition to their already impressive discography.

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