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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Brian Eno & U2: Passengers - Original Soundtracks 1 (OST) CD (album) cover


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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Theme from an imaginary western, sci-fi, thriller, etc.

I wonder how many people realised this album was listed on this site! I certainly did not until I tripped over it while browsing Eno's entry.

"Original soundtracks 1" was originally intended to be a U2 release, until the record company got cold feet. It was therefore credited to Passengers, which is effectively U2 plus Brian Eno. While Eno's influence is clear to see right from the opening instrumental "United colours", the album would have sold infinitely more copies had the U2 name been retained.

Ostensibly, the tracks are taken from various film soundtracks. The fact is though that just three of the 13 films listed in the accompanying booklet actually exist. The rest are figments of the fertile imagination of those involved. The joke extends to the writers of the film details in the booklet where Ben O'Rian and C S J Bofop are an anagram of Brian Eno's name, and an encoding of it (work it out) respectively. The actors and other cast members are created in the same way, Tanya McLoad for example is Adam Clayton. The three genuine films are Beyond the Clouds (2 tracks), Miss Sarajevo, and Ghost in the Shell.

As to the music, most of it is indeed soundtrack material. Eno's penchant for such music takes a firm grasp, with U2 being kept unusually downbeat. Tracks such as "Always forever now" and "One minute warning" are primarily drum and bass exercises with repeating themes, the string arrangement on this particular track being all but indiscernible.

There are some notable highlights though. "Your blue room" is a lovely relaxed song, with a rare narration by Adam Clayton and some effective organ by The Edge. The undoubted highlight of the album and by far the best know track though is "Miss Sarajevo". This wonderful ballad features a sublime vocal contribution from Luciano Pavarotti which complements Bono's vocal superbly. Holi adds some fine female vocals to "Ito Okashi" and speaking on "One minute warning". The final notable guest is Howie B, who co-wrote as well as performing on "Elvis ate America".

It seems even U2 have mixed feelings about the album, Larry Mullen being particularly unimpressed. While some of the tracks are eminently forgettable, there are enough decent selections to make the album worth at least one listen, and Miss Sarajevo is a classic of modern pop.

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Posted Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permalink

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