Over the counter with a shotgun – Rattle And Hum (1988)

The best parts of Rattle And Hum show U2 at their high point, a band who has reached the mountaintop and are using their platform to reach as high as they possibly can. There are some amazing moments on the album that will not be denied. Unfortunately it also contains moments of U2 at their absolute worst. All of the accusations of pomposity, sanctimonious posturing,and arrogance that defies explanation, all of those are on full display here. There aren’t many albums from well-regarded artists that sold so well (14 million copies!) that are regarded so poorly. It’s a strange beast indeed. Continue reading

Games Of The Years

I got involved in this hobby seven years ago, and I’ve been writing about it pretty steadily for about three, with occasional pieces before that. At some point every board game writer will have to deal with the expectation to crown their “game of the year.” This is tricky for a lot of reasons. Continue reading

Tear down the walls that hold me inside – The Joshua Tree (1987)

The Joshua Tree is not only U2′s defining moment as a band, but one of the defining albums in rock history. It was a perfect storm of every element peaking at the right time, a culmination of experiences from four studio albums and relentless touring. It’s hard to overstate just what a big deal it is for the band. If you asked someone to name five U2 songs, there’s a good chance at least three of them would be from The Joshua Tree. Nearly thirty years later, its shadow still looms over everything the band has done. They would reach these heights again, but they have never been able to top it. Continue reading

Silken skies and burning flak – The Unforgettable Fire (1984)

The Unforgettable Fire is a strange beast, as U2 albums go. Despite possessing one of the greatest of all U2 singles, it is generally not as radio-friendly as other U2 albums that are normally thought of as being great. Some of the songs still deal in big soaring melodies, but have hooks that are more subdued. Still other songs function only as mood pieces, soundscapes that set up atmosphere more than anything else. It would be easy for such a work to be almost unlistenable, especially given how the moodiness of October resulted in a rather half-baked album. Continue reading

The Group Of Ten

Count ‘em.

Once you have been in the hobby five years, you begin to look at your game shelf and say, “I have too many games.” This doesn’t actually mean you’re going to get rid of any of them or that you will stop buying new ones. Mostly it’s just an acknowledgement that, hey, space is getting a little tight, and that you’ve spent a considerable amount of money on all the games you have. Continue reading

This song is not a rebel song – Under A Blood Red Sky (1983)

I’ve heard it said that great rock bands all need one really good live album. I’m not sure I agree with that, since a lot of bands like the Beatles never really had one, and because live performance is becoming a little less relevant as a way to gain notoriety. But U2 is the sort of band whose live shows are even enjoyed by people who don’t like them, so it seems like a very strange oversight that they don’t have a proper live collection. They have released DVDs of their last several tours, several live EPs, and a sort-of-live album in Rattle And Hum. There’s also a little known album called Hasta La Vista Baby, which is an edited portion of the Mexico City live show from the Popmart tour, itself already on DVD. But that one is mostly a fan club offering, so the closest we have to a proper U2 live album is Under A Blood Red Sky, and even it’s just an EP. Continue reading

A Marvel-ous World

If you have any kind of nerdy interests at all, you have probably already seen the announcement about the next five years of Marvel’s cinematic universe. They announced a whopping nine movies in that time frame, culminating in 2018 and 2019 with an enormous two-part Avengers movie adapting the Infinity War arc. The release schedule is as relentless as it’s ever been, dropping two movies in most years. The announcement didn’t even include Ant-Man and The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which are both bowing in 2015. Continue reading


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