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Rattle and Hum

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Album Review

Functioning as both the soundtrack to U2's feature film documentary and as a tentative follow-up to their career-making blockbuster, Rattle and Hum is a bit messy. A mix of live cuts and new studio tracks, the album finds U2 running wild in the aftermath of The Joshua Tree, continuing their embrace of America to the point that they adopt several classic rock moves. Specifically, they dabble in American roots rock, something they ignored before. These experiments sometimes work: "Desire" has an intoxicating Bo Diddley beat, "Angel of Harlem" is a punchy, sunny Stax soul tribute, "When Loves Come to Town" is an endearingly awkward blues duet with B.B. King, and the Dylan collaboration "Love Rescue Me" is an overlooked minor bluesy gem. These are paired with some affecting laments — the cascading "All I Want Is You" and "Heartland," which sounds like a Joshua Tree outtake — but Rattle and Hum is by far the least-focused record U2 ever made, leaving it to the listener to mine for the Silver & Gold within its sprawl.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Through a combination of zealous righteousness and post-punk experimentalism, U2 became one of the most popular rock & roll bands in the world — equally known for their sweeping sound as for their grandiose statements about politics and religion. The Edge provided the group with a signature sound by creating sweeping sonic landscapes with his heavily processed, echoed guitars. Though the Edge's style wasn't conventional, the rhythm section of Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton played the...
Full bio