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U2

October [Deluxe Edition] [Remastered] [Expanded Edition]

Release Date: 07/22/2008
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Price: $34.99 $25.98

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Compared to the gangly, green early songs that comprise the bonus disc of Boy, the bonus disc on October is a great leap forward -- which is a bit ironic, as the album proper is often considered a holding pattern for U2, containing the great "Gloria" but finding the group uneasy in the studio. Based on this bonus disc, the place where U2 was growing with leaps and bounds was on the stage, as this 17-track collection contains no less than 13 live cuts (including three tracks from Richard Skinner's BBC sessions), eight of them reprising songs from October that all sound bigger and better on-stage. They have muscle, might, and majesty, the earliest indications of U2 developing their seemingly effortless command of melodrama. That illusion of effortlessness is of course merely a mirage. It took them a long time to sound so at ease, but their constant road work in the wake of Boy not only tightened them up, it gave them focus, something that's evident here on the clutch of live material from Boy. Just over a year after the album's release, U2 sound vigorous and dramatic with these song and this authority helps give the non-LP single "A Celebration"/"Trash, Trampoline and Party Girl" intrigue. U2 could still stumble into the ridiculous, as on the "Fire" B-side "J. Swallo," but overall they were beginning to gel, to learn their strengths and how to use them. That gives October the best bonus disc out of this trilogy, even if Boy remains the most fascinating and historically relevant. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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