= BRIAN ENO and#38; U 2 ALSO FEATURING JAPANESE SINGER HOLI LARRY MULLEN JR-THE EDGE AND BRIAN ENO PROJECT TOGETHER WITH U2 MEMBERS BONO-A.CLAYTONDISC 11. UNITED COLOURS2. SLUG3. YOUR BLUE ROOM4. ALWAYS FOREVER NOW5. A DIFFERENT COLOUR OF BLUE6. REACH SEQUENCE7. MISS SARAJEVO8. ITO OKASHI9. ONE MINUTE WARNING10. CORPSE(THESE CHAINS ARE WAY TOO LONG)11. ELVIS ATE AMERICA12. PLOT 18013. THEME FROM THE SWAN14. THEME FROM LETand#039;S GO NATIVE
U2 should be celebrated for doing what so few major rock bands have managed: They broke the chains of their own stardom. For a while it looked like they'd carry the "monsters of rock" banner into institutionalized and calcified dotage like the Who and Pink Floyd before them. But with 1991's Achtung Baby
--and even more so on '93's Zooropa
--U2 made clear they'd not become so alienated from artistic motivation that they believed more in their own importance than in their continued ability to create. Thus they stopped waving flags and learned to laugh at their fame. The change, in effect, released U2 from its own image and allowed the band more creative elbowroom than ever before. Only in this context could U2 now allow their producer Brian Eno to assume virtual membership in the band, adopt the pseudonym Passengers, and immerse themselves in the anonymity of film music.
With Original Soundtracks 1, a collection of 14 compositions for imagined movies (and one performance piece), U2 accentuate the visual sense. Eno, who's done this sort of thing for decades, plays a defining role. Tracks like "United Colours" and "One Minute Warning," with their electronic pulsations and organic atmospherics, clearly fall onto his ambient/techno terrain. Even tracks more recognizably the band's are enriched by collaboration: The hilarious "Elvis Ate America" is even more absurd with Howie B's scratching and vocal calls, and the touching "Miss Sarajevo" is made infinitely more profound by Luciano Pavarotti's tenor. Passengers is more likely an inspired tangent than an indication of U2's direction, but it adds to the band's impressive--and constantly progressive--body of work. --Roni Sarig