Alex Descends into Hell for a Bottle of Milk / Korova 1

October 21st, 1991. Three years on from Rattle and Hum, the casual U2 fan has barely heard anything but a dim silence, rumours of U2’s demise, of U2’s resurrection, of U2’s not-actually-being-that-different-from-before. The European or American fan may have heard of strange projects in far-off places – the Lovetown Tour trekking across Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, and a musical project to do with a stage adaptation of “A Clockwork Orange”. But it’s now that the truth is revealed.

Exhibit A is “The Fly”, a song that was sure to be on the album. Exhibit B is an odder affair; it has the chiming U2 delay effect that seems familiar, but a female voice operatically intoning the curiously ominous lyrics – Daes irae, that day of wrath. And then that long sustained tone that brings the whole song around to a hip-hoppish stomp, sounding vaguely tribal, wordless vocals amidst it. Overall, as puzzling and strange as exhibit A. The fan is thus left thinking that they’ll have to wait until the forthcoming album’s November 19th, 1991 release date; but they’re somewhat mistaken – the true date to wait for is November 6th, 1995. What they’ve heard is really the predecessor to the Passengers album. Where the A-side would show a more aggressive rock side, that would echo down the years in “Last Night On Earth”, “Elevation” or “Vertigo”, here we have that cinematic side, the end result being Original Soundtracks 1 and Million Dollar Hotel. “The Fly” single, then, is not so much an effective release for its content so much as what it suggested –  the next decade of U2.

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~ by 4trak on June 4, 2008.

One Response to “Alex Descends into Hell for a Bottle of Milk / Korova 1”

  1. Great write up, I didn’t spot those links but they are dead on.

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