On which U2 songs does Eno shine through?
December 9, 2011 5:11 AM   Subscribe

Which U2 songs best demonstrate Brian Eno's influence?

I am just now discovering the genius of Brian Eno, going back to his time in Roxy Music and his solo work. As producer on several U2 albums, which of their songs do you think best show off his skills?
posted by punkfloyd to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Miss Sarajevo?
posted by TheOtherGuy at 5:15 AM on December 9, 2011

The whole Passengers album.
posted by gauche at 5:43 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The obvious starting point are the Zooropa and Passengers albums, simply because they're the most experimental, but I don't think it's really fair to look at those as the most Eno-ized albums - his skill as a producer is more open ended. Here's a great clip that illustrates how a very small contribution of his turned into something larger. He's smart enough to know when to just let something happen.
posted by davebush at 5:45 AM on December 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

"Fourth of July" off of The Unforgettable Fire - the first album in which they employed Eno (and longtime collaborator Daniel Lanois) as a producer - sounds like it could have come straight off of Eno's Music for Films. That was the moment that I knew Eno was having a major impact on the band.
posted by googly at 6:40 AM on December 9, 2011

The best demonstration, I think, would be to listen to War from 1983 and then listen to the Unforgettable Fire from 1984.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 6:43 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

joshua tree is a totally solid album from start to finish, and the whole thing really sounds like eno is a fifth member of the band - it's all very ambienty and lush, and much reflecting the style of eno's solo work up until that point. at the time it really represented a 180 not only from u2's previous sound, but as a counterpoint to all the spare, angular new wave bands/albums that preceded it. the unforgettable fire and zooropa embraced eno's love of experimentation, but i always thought that that album sounds particularly eno-esque, in the best way possible.
posted by messiahwannabe at 6:58 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

As mentioned above, "Fourth of July" from Unforgettable Fire. Other songs off that album that have a strong Eno-esque quality to them include "Promenade," "Elvis Presley & America" and "MLK." Singles/B-Sides from album that weren't on the original album but have since been reissued in the Deluxe Edition of the album that are particularly Eno-esque are "Disappearing Act," "Love Comes Tumbling" and "Yoshino Blossom." Honestly, you can't go wrong with this whole album if you're looking for Brian Eno's strongest influence on U2. Some fans consider this album as over-produced by Eno, but I like to think of it as a Daniel Lanois production of a Brian Eno & U2 collaboration.

Messiahwannabe makes a good point that on The Joshua Tree (and even more so on Achtung Baby), Eno had integrated his sound into U2's so that it sounds like he's a member of their band, rather than a collaborator. The most Eno-esque song on The Joshua Tree proper is "Mothers of the Disappeared." "Luminous Times," "Walk to the Water," "Deep in the Heart," "Beautiful Ghost/Introduction To Songs of Experience" and "Wave of Sorrow"(all found on the Deluxe Edition) also have a strong Eno influence,particularly the last two.

nthing the entirety of Zooropa & Passengers as well.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2011

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