A few days ago, someone posted a Tweet about U2 covering The Stranglers. It piqued my interest as I have been a fan of The Stranglers since their rise in the punk world in the 70s. At the time, I was living outside of London, in Reading, while my parents were on sabbatical leave from their university life in Champaign, Illinois. I did not become a full fledged punk enthusiast until years later, but that year in the UK made a huge impression, even if I was still under the influence of KISS.
Anyway, the Tweet sent me doing some research. I knew that The Hype, U2’s previous incarnation, was a cover band. The bands they covered were their modern day heroes, including David Bowie, The Eagles and surprisingly, The Beach Boys, but nowhere is there a mention of Strangler’s tunes they covered. However, Adam Clayton mentions that he was influence by Jean-Jacques Burnel bass line on The Stranglers’ tune Hangin’ Around, which gets me thinking that this is the tune that the Hype covered. So, let’s say we uncovered the much talked about mystery tune.
The Stranglers and U2 are no strangers to one another. The up and coming Irish rockers were an opener, for at least one night in Ireland, when The Stranglers were out on the road promoting their LP Black and White. Altercations between the young U2 and the established Stranglers from that night are well documented. Bono used his tough Irish street sense to let Jean-Jacques Burnel and company know that our favorite Irish lads weren’t going to be treated as second class citizens even though they were the opener. It begs the question, “What happens when you meet your heroes and are treated like shit?” When you’re a punk band, it should’ve felt like home, but to U2, it obviously wasn’t. When Bono and company weren’t given a dressing room nor much stage room to perform on, the band took it on their own to pillage The Stranglers’ dressing room while they were on stage. A brash U2 wasn’t going to go easily.
Although they have been through a couple incarnations, The Stranglers are still together. I finally saw my punk heroes a year ago in a club here in Chicago promoting their latest disc, Giant. Even though they didn’t have founding drummer Jet Black, they’re still the punk band I remembered from my youth. Going on 40 years together, scoring some 23 UK top 40 singles and 17 UK top 40 albums they still have it. Surprisingly, they are the top selling band of their punk generation, which include The Sex Pistols and The Clash. And yet, not too many know their story and I hope from this blog it gives you the impetus to give them a spin.
While U2 fans around the world are waiting, with the utmost patience for a new full-length album release, the band gave us a soundtrack single, recorded for the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. The song I am speaking of, Ordinary Love, has been floating around the Internet for the past few weeks in various incarnations and now, we can finally put it on our record players while comparing it to other U2 one-offs in a very open light.
Before I proceed, we need to look at other soundtrack songs that U2 have created for movies, most notably The Hands That Built America, for the movie The Gangs of New York and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, from Batman Forever. Each of these tunes were released between albums, but I’m not sure either had the anticipation level as Ordinary Love has in concern to their long absence of from a full fledged release. Why you ask? Each of these songs wasn’t caught in the mix of the band trying to flesh out new material. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me originated as an idea during the band’s Zooropa album sessions and then later became a song for the movie when asked to score a song. The Hands That Built America, on the other hand, was actually scored for the movie Gangs of New York, much like Ordinary Love, because it gave them an opportunity to work with Martin Scorsese, which brings us to the discussion of how U2 formulates score material.
If we took both compositions, Ordinary Love and The Hands That Built America, and listen to them back-to-back, they would seem to be one in the same. Both use a three-chord melody intro that ignites the tune and start the ignition switch to Bono’s lyrics. One solid note on both songs is that Edge has abandoned the guitar in both songs and supplanted himself behind the keyboard as musical director. Now, I know that these are soundtrack tunes and there really is no area for them to push beyond the creative scope as they would for album work. However, U2 has found a formula and are milking it while we gaze at their wonder, hoping for anything new from the band.
What I want to do to prove my point about U2 soundtrack formulation by visiting The Hands That Built America’s album companion Electrical Storm, from U2 – The Best of 1990-2000 release because we will see a common theme in lyrical narrative and composition to Ordinary Love even though Electrical Storm isn’t a movie soundtrack tune, but could easily apply for one.
Let’s review the opening verses below:
The sea it swells like a sore head
And the night it is aching
Two lovers lie with no sheets on their bed
And the day it is breaking
The sea wants to kiss the golden shore
The sunlight warms your skin
All the beauty that’s been lost before
Wants to find us again
As we see, Bono sets the narrative in both songs, using the sea as a metaphor. We know he comes from Ireland where the sea has played a vital role in many an Irish literary work, yet he seems to re-examine it as though he is drawn to it whenever melancholy is needed. In the case of Ordinary Love, Bono’s rehashing of the aquatic metaphor is laughable because we know that the city of Johannesburg, where Mandela grew up, is land locked and nowhere near an ocean, which is where I make my stand on this song not being a stellar U2 track. Even more important is how the melody tends to take the same navigational map in Ordinary Love as it does in Electrical Storm. There is no triangle being played in Ordinary Love, but there is syncopation in the background, that is setting the song up for the Bono’s spoken lyrics, is much like melody, which exists in Electrical Storm. In my mind, and I am sure you will agree once you listen to them side-by-side, that the U2 xerox machine just hit copy.
I know it’s hard for this long-time fan to make these unsympathetic statements about a band we all like, but it is an honest critique. What really scares me is how U2 dialed this song in as they were in the midst of working on a comeback album. An album that I hope has a new sonic vision, such as what was delivered to us on Achtung Baby or Pop. Harsh as I sound, U2 needs a kick in the creative ass and needs to release us something that trumps the last three projects. As I have said before, All That You Cannot Leave Behind was a way to bring back those they left behind after Pop and subsequent releases have failed to bridge significant sea change in the U2 aural/narrative creation (Sorry for the pun, but if he can use it, so can I). However, the argument can be made that they can still fill stadiums and I agree, but by the third leg of the 360 tour, only a few songs remained from the No Line On The Horizon release, a telling tail that this band has to create an album that needs to revolve at least 180 degrees from the previous.
Yesterday, I finally received my U22 booklet and discs. It came to me late because I was moving residences when it was shipped, but I had no fear it would eventually find me. And when it did, I was excited to open it up and start playing the discs.
As Edge’s wah pedal effect on Even Better Than the Real Thing was wondering out of my speakers, I began to cruise some U2 forums in order to see what others were saying about U22. I, obviously was late to the show, but decided not to do this until I had my prized copy in hand. One such forum had conversations that covered the gamut from what we deserved from the band in our membership to U2.com to songs that were not chosen for the final product. I read deeper as the conversations were becoming more catty than analytical. My saving grace from this school-yard behavior came when I fell into a forum in which someone mentions a printing error he caught in the booklet. My eyes took a double take. I turned around in my chair and retrieved the U22 booklet out from of its protective mailing sleeve and searched for the mistake. As you may not know, I am a graphic designer and searching for printing errors is a hobby. The statement, made in the forum, refers to the printed date next to Even Better Than The Real Thing, which states that it was recorded in Mexico on the 15th of November in 2011. The date doesn’t jive. U2 played Mexico in May of that year and the tour’s completion was in August of 2011. The band was on vacation by November so something was wrong.
I am not here to criticize the proofreader or the designers because these things happen all the time. Trust me, it has happened to me on a few occasions. Luckily, some of my mistakes were caught as we were going to press, but in this case, it wasn’t. So, I ask is this a collectable, such as Billy Ripken’s 1989 baseball card with the expletive written on the bottom of his baseball bat? Probably not, as I do not seeing this piece being reprinted for the masses. Instead, U22 is a collectable for all of us to cherish, regardless of the printing error or not. The booklet, and discs, commemorates one of U2’s finest achievements in touring, next to ZOO TV, which non-U2.com subscribers can admire from afar.
In closing, we live in a fast paced media world in which mistakes like this happen more often than not. Grab any magazine as you are checking out of the grocery store and look at all of the syntax errors in the headlines of advertisers. That alone would drive any English teacher absolutely crazy. In our case, it probably was human error and I forgive the oversight. Instead, the two discs of live tunes included in U22 will forever remind me how I went from the back row on the Joshua Tree tour in Iowa City in 1987 to the pit on the 360 tour. It took me 22 years to get there and that is why I will cherish U22.
It’s a good question and one that should be thought of in the realm of today’s brand and image. Think about it, who cannot go without having their image taken? Not many, except for Christ, maybe. However, if you saw a swoosh, you would identify it with Nike. Therefore, brands don’t need images. However, for brands to sell to people, they need imagery so we can buy in. So, they seek someone out who fits their brand, sports or otherwise, and then get into bed and marry.
Why do I bring this up? Because, if I put a U and 2 together on a page, you got a pretty good picture who this is. You would at least put Bono in your head. Will that number and letter sell an album? Probably not. However, when you are a designer, such as myself, and you take on a project that needs to be pushed, you turn it up a notch. And that is what I did for this U2.com challenge. I took pictures that were the essence of the album and didn’t recreate the albums images in order to mimic what had previously been created. Not that I am knocking those, but this is what happens when you crowdsource.
I know this is a competition, but companies and brands are moving towards crowd sourcing and that is not fair to the creatives, who are thought leaders and branders. I feel U2 isn’t doing this, but they probably want to see who is out there pushing the envelope. I say I did, but I will let you decide.
A few weeks ago, a phone call came into the office of 822design. I picked it up and spoke to a band manager, looking for me. He told me that I came recommended as he was in need of a new look for the band he represented. I said I was open to a meeting and we set up an appointment. Without really thinking about it, I went about my day, working on my existing clients’ creative gladly knowing that I had another project on the horizon. I did not know who the Buzztown Boys were, but they found me.
On the day of meeting, I cleaned off the office coffee table and laid out some of my previous creative for the band to review. As I fired up my trusty laptop with some web creative, the doorbell rang. Our dog began to bark. I quieted him, buzzing in my new clients. Radar, our pooch, wouldn’t give in. You thought we were being robbed, but we weren’t. This is his greeting call no matter who is at the door. So, I grabbed his collar and held him while I opened the door.
Up the stairwell arrived a well-dressed gentleman followed by four men whom I recognized immediately. This was not the Buzztown Boys, as they were presented to me over the phone. This was U2. I let Radar’s collar go and put out my hand in welcome. Each was given the once over by the dog. Larry, the shyest of all, crouched down and made an immediate, friend while the rest of the band were taking in my home.
We said pleasantries as Larry came back to reality and eventually sat down at the table. Without any moment to waste, the band began flipping through my book as their manager was describing why they chose me to design their next album cover. I looked at Bono, who went on to explain that the album is nothing like what I have heard previously released from U2. He tossed me an iPod and said, “hit play.” I did.
Of course, this didn’t happen, but this is how you have to think when you enter a competition, like I did, designing, or redesigning, an epic album cover like Achtung Baby. I knew when U2.com posted the competition that there would be a lot of entries trying to emulate the cover in that mosaic composition. I did, but I took it a step further. I looked at the world through the album’s eyes and not a reflection of the band. You will see there is no band image in my design because I wanted you to question the images and then listen.
Trust me, it’s hard to try to recreate an epic piece of art, especially one that has stood the test of time. And that my friend, is where the challenge is and how I challenge you as a viewer. These are not pretty pictures. They are images over images telling us a story about the fragility of life just like the album. Don’t believe me? Take a look. I’ll see you on the backside.
And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on…
At the beginning of every October, I play this track. I don’t know why, but I just do. The song is a haunting song, consisting of 26 words and two themes.
The first theme has to do with death. Obviously, it’s Bono’s reflection of a tree losing its leaves, which I think is a metaphor about losing his mother. The mother I feel he is speaking of is Mother Nature, stripping us bear of our emotional being as we take on winter. As I listen to the track, I envision a heavy, grey sky above me, almost suffocating. A lone tree, away from the forest on the horizon, stands naked before me. The image is not in color but in high contrast black and white. The starkness reminds me of those days trekking across the University of Iowa campus as fall slipped into winter. Harsh wind, howling through the through the streets flanked by buildings made of brick and limestone, wisps dry leaves from unsecured spot to another.
The second theme spoken here is one of kingdoms and very little has been said about this other that it may be a reference to the Russian revolution. It’s interesting how these two themes meet in this song, especially when the band was still in their religious phase as the album October was being worked on. Kingdoms could also loosely refer to the Kingdom of God or Jerusalem or Babylon or Rome for that matter. Yet, it is has been said that Bono was reflecting on the Bolshevik October uprising and how that intertwines with the emotions of losing a mother is the biggest mystery here.
I will say this, October, for this U2 fan, has been the biggest month of my life. I saw the Irish quartet in concert for the first time on October 20th, 1987. I was just a sophomore in college at the University of Iowa when Bono et al came to Iowa City to play on the Joshua Tree tour. Our campus wasn’t on the initial tour schedule. We got the show by default thanks to the University of Northern Iowa not allowing the band to set-up their outdoor stage. It was a stroke of luck that they came and played Carver Hawkeye Arena on that foggy night where trees were stripped bare of all they wore much like in the song. A year later, I relived my Joshua Tree tour experience when the band released Rattle & Hum on compact disc. It would be another three Octobers before their next release, Achtung Baby, and I waited them out – patiently and impatiently.
In this celebratory year of U2’s 20th anniversary release of Achtung Baby, I wanted to focus a couple blogs on songs that sit under the waterline on the record. The first of which is the song So Cruel. As most U2 fans know, this song is about Edge’s divorce. It’s probably the most gut-wrenching lyric ever written in any U2 song. The funny thing is that Bono, who has the most long-standing relationship with his own wife, probably wrote it. However, he gets it right when it comes to love falling apart.
Pretty much anyone can identify with this song. We have all been in relationships that have fallen apart or have come to a close, whether we wanted the finality or the other person wanted to call it quits. So Cruel gets it right. It speaks to the human frailty of relationships. Once one gets into a lovers bond, you give of yourself. You sort of melt into the other person whether you want to or not. It’s that self-extraction, when the relationship ends, that makes it very difficult and painful to move on.
What I like about So Cruel is its simplicity. The song rests in the middle of an album filled with texture, loops and newfangled sounds. The opening piano lulls you in to Larry’s drum tapping. Bono begins, almost in a spoken word style, about the recognition by the protagonist that something has gone wrong in a relationship. It is an amazing set-up as we move into the second stanza where Bono begins to lull us into the story. Much like the Siren’s song, we want hear more. Sirens usually sing songs of beauty yet this is not beautiful song, however Bono makes it that way with his new found falsetto. When he mentions wearing “love like a see through dress,” we can identify with the pain because love is suppose to be thick and in this situation, it’s painted thin.
As the song closes out in the third stanza, the orchestra crescendos there’s no turning back. The relationship that was splitting at the seams at the beginning of the song has now come to an end. Bono speaks that “in love there are no rules.” He verbalizes the harshness of love and not the beauty of it. Bono brings us to the finality of this relationship by ending the song with “Sweetheart, your so cruel.” The shattered glass of a relationship can never be put back together. It’s time to move on. So ironic, on this unrelenting emotional roller coaster of an album, that the next song on the record is “The Fly,” which has it interpretations in some corners as a “Bar Fly.”
It’s interesting, as one’s career moves on, where the accolades come from. For instance, if you are a thespian, the Tony award, in the United States, is the highest achievement an actor can get. Same goes true for film actors with such awards as the Golden Globe or the Oscar. In music, there are a bevy of these awards and U2 has scooped up more than a handful multiple times in multiple years. Now, they are rewarded again, but this time, it is outside music as GQ magazine has honored them “band of the year.”
I’m not sure how this ranks amongst the pantheon of other awards. It may be one step above the American Music Awards or VH-1 Honors. I’m not sure. We’d have to ask the band this question. What we do know is that it keeps them in the spotlight for one more news cycle in our ever-overwhelming media onslaught, which is good since they are a “do good” band for the world whether it is filling our ears with great tunes or focusing on the plight of starvation on the horn of Africa. However, like an overexposed piece of film, U2 has to be careful how they handle themselves and not lose the mystique that makes them special. Yes, I know they had no choice in being chosen by GQ because honors such as these come with the territory. What they were awarded is an achievement and I’m not taking it away from them.
In recent weeks, I have been coming down from a great summer of U2, reading blogs and taking in their U.S. trek, which has been exciting, but now my life has to move on and get back to a little reality – back to the passion of life and being creative for clients. Is suspect U2 are doing the same thing as they take in the end of summer and doing things they haven’t done for a while. We all need to rest and get motivated again after we have created something great or just made the client happy. Yes, the Gentleman’s Quarterly accolade is nice, but will there be a U2 song written about it. I don’t think so. However, it’s nice to see our guys dressed in their finest and accepting an award. You will notice that the founding member is nowhere to be seen, probably coming up with new drum tracks or better yet, taking time off from band responsibilities.
Well, I didn’t skip it. I just didn’t go home to visit the family for one reason – U2’s Zoo T.V. Zoomerang pay-per-view concert from Sydney, Australia. My parents had basic television with rabbit ears and no cable. I had no chance in hell of seeing this in Iowa. I would’ve been stuck with no connection to the outside world for six days. Luckily, my aunt and uncle graciously let me stay at their place and have a run of the house just so I could tap into U2’s event. Thanksgiving Day of ’93, the day of the broadcast, had been almost a year and a new album since I’d seen U2 play live. Well, I did get a chance to tape the live broadcast of their final Dublin show a few months prior off local radio station WXRT and I was familiar with the set list, including Bono’s McPhisto character. Curiosity was killing me to see how the show had changed visually with the new additions. I was not disappointed.
As the concert rolled on that evening, I was on the edge of my seat, actually end of the bed, watching with glazed eyes and reminiscing about the show I had seen four times, one indoors and three outside. The Zoo T.V. tour, U2’s two-year road show for Achtung Baby, kept evolving as it hit different continents, which made the whole tour a very cool thing. The opening video montage focused on the EU, not George Bush, with the brilliant clips from Leni Reifenstahl’s Triumph of the Will film along with a cricket match, which got the crowd roaring leading into Zoo Station. We were on for a ride through one of the greatest touring spectacles ever produced for a stadium show and one that has been copied, in parts, by several other touring acts. Near the end of the concert, McPhisto’s, Bono’s devilish character created for the Euro part of the tour, spews a ranted recount of all that had happened during Zoo T.V.’s lifespan of 2 years was the way for the tour to go out in style. His poetic spilling of headlines such as Bill Clinton coming to power, Yugoslavia’s turmoil and the NEO Nazis rise in Germany was in step with all of the video bombardment that hit us at the opening of the concert. It was if I was watching the curtain call for a long running Broadway show. Bono, actually McPhisto, tied it all up in a nice bow by telephoning a taxicab company for a ride home from Sydney’s football stadium. It doesn’t get any more rock n’ roll than that at the end of the tour.
The Sydney concert couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My spending Thanksgiving alone with U2 was going to aid me getting through one of my toughest parts of my life. I was battling depression set on by a girlfriend who left me flat added to the fact of my frustration of still working in a retail environ 3 years after college. They say rough times happen to all of us but I was hit hard and in the gut. I looked to my band, as I usually did back then, to help me through this traumatic time. My aunt and uncle were also there as well. They knew I was fragile when it came to relationships because they both witnessed my parent’s divorce when I was three years of age. I was now 25. In all fairness, I was getting back at my ex who had pulled the rug from underneath my life five months prior. My pair of custom painted U2 jeans was sitting in London waiting for U2’s return. The band requested my work in order to make a decision about a merchandising venture with me. I was a day late and a dollar short on tying the idea into this tour but still my work was in their hands and it was comforting.
In retrospect, the Sydney show truly was the end of the yellow brick road of this adventure U2 took the world on. The Zoo T.V. tour was so far ahead of its time that in this day and age of Twitter, Facebook and media blitz, simpler is better. Actually, the tour was a forecast of what was to come. Today, we are living inside Zoo T.V. as we were then watching it. It is strange how that happened but I feel that there’s a disconnect in life just as it was portrayed on those television screens and vidi-walls oh so long ago. In U2’s terms, it was a bookend of genius and something we will never see again. The band was on rare form. Not that they have not been recently but creatively, this was their apex. For Bono to come out in costume would be to fill his prophecy of “I’m a tired old pop star in platform shoes.” Which is a fitting way for him to look at himself in the mirror long before reality told him. As for the history of this show, it will stand the test of time because it not only showed the passion of U2 but also gave light to their fans down under.
I remember November 19, 1991 as if it were yesterday. The day was a cold and wet welcome to U2’s newest album Achtung Baby. It was near the middle of the afternoon when I went into Rose Records with a mouth full of Novocain from the dentist. Jamie, my African American Iowa alumni and fellow U2 drug pusher pal, had decorated her store with U2 on one side and while the other side was plastered with Garth Brooks, the hottest thing in country music at the time.
As I went to the rack to get my disc, I had no idea what I was in for in the coming evening. The crackle of flipping the CD cases made my nerves burn even harder with nervousness. I got to the new release and looked at the album cover, plastered in a patchwork of Technicolor like images, with a hint of skepticism. I had hesitation of spending my hard earned cash on the newest release as I knew this wasn’t our familiar U2 anymore. I grabbed it and headed to the counter to pay.
Jamie and I chatted as I made my purchase. She read me the riot act for showing up late in the afternoon on a new release day for U2 as shoved some leftover U2 schwag into a poster tube and sent me on my merry way into the very overcast late afternoon. I let the comments roll off my back as I left the store with my purchase. The graying sky above me began to collapse around me as Achtung Baby was burning a hole of curiosity in the bag I was toting to Davis Street “L” stop just a few blocks away.
As the “L” train tracks rolled underneath me, I pulled the new-fangled digi-pak CD case, which was still wrapped in cellophane, out of the shopping bag. As I panned all of the images on the cover again, I was searching for clues for what lie beneath. I flipped the CD case over to read the song titles. I was familiar with The Fly but not the others. I mulled the images over and over until my eye caught one of the band dressed in drag. It intrigued me. I was not shocked but curious. Where were U2 going to take me this evening was the real question I wanted answered?
When I entered my studio apartment, I didn’t put any lights on. I let the lack of daylight from the day’s gray sky settle around me. I threw my coat on a chair and shoved the CD into the stereo. I then laid down on my futon with one arm outstretched to the CD player hitting the play button. I wanted the album to roll over me and that is exactly what happened. The open grittiness of Zoo Station took over my every sensation. It was as if I could hear The Joshua Tree being chopped down in the background screaming “OOUCH!” After Zoo Station, I blindly skipped to the only tune I knew, The Fly. I loved it. It was the epitome of the new U2: foreign, scary and hypnotic. That clamoring guitar at the beginning of The Fly was the drug I was looking for in the album. I had heard the Achtung Bebei outtakes a few months earlier and I knew what I was in for or at least I thought so. Bono’s falsetto voice he found in Cole Porter’s Night and Day came to the forefront of The Fly as Edge’s guitar rips the riff apart. As usual Larry was holding down the song down with the steady beat. Adam contained us in his bass line. I was hooked.
After The Fly was over, I started the album from the beginning in order to listen to it in its entirety. By now, my apartment was dark with the faint glow emanating from the CD player. I started Zoo Station again. The love fest was beginning. As I moved through the album, I felt the transformation of U2 was right. Not only was there this new heaviness in U2’s sound spilling out of my speakers but the lyrics were really well crafted. The metaphoric prowess didn’t sink the songs but were polished to the point where they were original. The images created within the narrative were darker. Until The End of The World, a prime example of this great change, has Edge dancing through a chord progression while Larry keeps his standard marching drumbeat and Bono cries out his heart as he visits a very deep seeded religious narrative. It is the track of no hope at all and the darkest of the tracks of the album. However dark the album goes there is a light of optimism. Achtung Baby’s brilliance is in finding balance. The tracks Mysterious Ways and Ultraviolet (Light My Way) put hopefulness back into play. It’s this up and down roller coaster of emotion, which is where the genius of Achtung Baby lies. Anchored by Bono’s tug on your heartstrings lyrics, U2’s new found musical sound scapes are pushed further to the foreground, more than ever before, for a very in your face record.
I revisit Achtung Baby, like War and The Joshua Tree, on occasion in its entirety. I have lived with this album for close to two decades and find comfort in the album. The tracks take me back to a very tough part of life when I moved out on my own and discovered that having trust in friends, family and lovers was tough. When I listen to the record today, it still fits like a comfortable pair of blue jeans and it is that return to the albums last three tracks that gets me every time. I know the album is coming to an end with a hint of hope after Mysterious Ways. Ultraviolet (Light My Way) offers the beginning to the road to redemption, which is found near the launch of the record. Acrobat has this tough punk ending line “Don’t let the bastards get you down” which leads to haunting love song Love Is Blindness. I will say it is the best ending of any album U2 has created. The revisiting of Ultraviolet (Light My Way) on the 360 tour is a testament to this fact that U2 in fact unearthed a gem from a grand album and it has stayed with us as others, much shorter, have passed their shelf life.