The jungle drums are beating about U2's new and eccentric album Original Soundtracks1 due out on November 6, and the consensus is either you love it or hate it. No make that like it or hate it. Those who have heard it, say what marks it as a U2 album are the industrial rock grooves and electro dance experiments that hearken back to the band's last two albums, Achtung Baby! and Zooropa. But this is no ordinary U2 album. Rather it's a high concept collaboration between Eno and U2, who are calling themselves "Passengers," with an appearance on one track by opera great Luciano Pavorotti.
Bono has revealed that the fourteen tracks on the album are intended for backgro
und or thematic use in films, and should not be mistaken for a regulation U2 album--although some of the songs feature lyrics and vocals by Bono. Bono and the Edge team up with Pavorotti on "Miss Sarajevo" the title tune from a TV documentary about a beauty pageant held in war torn Bosnia. Other vocalists on the album are Japanese singer Holi and dance maven Howie B.
This week NME asked Bono whether it excites him to confound people's expectations. As always, the well-adjusted and self-absorbed frontman answered the question with his typical aplomb, explaining that "I think it's really important to keep things interesting for yourself. It's a selfish record in that sense. But there's a few songs on itas well as the instrumentals."
Bono also revealed how incredible it was to work with Pavorotti, who phoned Bono every day for weeks before finally persuading U2 to take part in his Bosnian War Child benefit concert that was held in Modena, Italy on September 12. Bono told the NME, "I'd come into the studio and tell the guys, ' been on they phone again,' and they'd just go, 'Fuck off, let's just get on with this.'" Bono said the reason the band finally agreed to work with Pavorotti was because of pressure from both his and The Edge's fathers, who are both operatic tenors, and were both incensed that their sons would consider turning down the chance to work with Pavorotti.
"It's extraordinary to have been around as long as we've been around and still find music with people we want to play with. With Passengers we have a vehicle to do collaborations with whoever it is we want to play with...Howie B. Pavorotti or anyone. It's great. I think the only limit is our imagination and I think U2 are fairly kind of desperate in that regard." Desperate. Who would have thought.
A track listing for Soundtrack's 1 (Does that mean there are more to come?) is as follows: "United Colours," "Slug (Bono lyrics)," "Your Blue Room (Bono sings on this one in falsetto)," "Always Forever Now (Bono sings)," "A Different Kind Of Blue," Miss Sarajevo (Edge, Bono, and Pavorotti vocals)," "Ito Okashi (Holi vocals)," "One Minute Warning," "Corpse (Those Chains Are Way Too Long)," "Elvis Ate America (Howie B., Eno and Bono chanting)," "Plot 180" "Theme From The Swan," and "Theme From Let's Go Native."