October is the second album by Irish rock band U2, released in 1981. The album featured spiritual themes, inspired by Bono, The Edge, and Mullen's memberships in a Christian group called the "Shalom Fellowship", which led them to question the relationship between the Christian faith and the rock and roll lifestyle. The album received mixed reviews and limited radio play.
The album's recording was complicated when the briefcase containing Bono's lyrics was stolen by fans after a show. The band already booked studio time and thus had to continue recording in spite of this, even improvising lyrics on some songs. Bono said of the recording process of October, "I remember the pressure it was made under, I remember writing lyrics on the microphone, and at £50 an hour that's quite a pressure. Lillywhite was pacing up and down the studio...he coped really well. And the ironic thing about October is that there's a sort of peace about the album, even though it was recorded under that pressure. A lot of people found October hard to accept at first, I mean, I used the word 'rejoice' precisely because I knew people have a mental block against it. It's a powerful word, it's lovely to say. It's implying more than 'get up and dance, baby.' I think October goes into areas that most rock 'n' roll bands ignore. When I listen to the album, something like 'Tomorrow,' it actually moves me. The briefcase was eventually recovered in October 2004, and Bono greeted its return as "an act of grace.
Influences, primarily Joy Division, Invisible Girls. A great example of how you can write a song and not know what you're writing about. A song called 'Tomorrow' is a detailed account of my mother's funeral. But I had no idea when I was writing it.
The songs mainly refine U2's formula of riff-rockers with songs such as "Gloria" and "Rejoice", but the band also expanded its musical palette in a few ways. In particular, guitarist The Edge incorporates piano in songs such as "I Fall Down", "Stranger In a Strange Land", and "October". "Tomorrow", a lament to Bono's mother, who died when he was young, features Uilleann pipes. "I Threw a Brick Through a Window" was one of the band's first songs to highlight drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., while "Gloria" highlights bassist Adam Clayton as it features three styles of playing in one song (using a pick for the most part, playing with fingers during the slide guitar by The Edge then a "slap & pop" solo towards the end)
Album sales indicate that October is the least popular of U2's studio albums, and it is frequently at the bottom of many U2 fans' lists and polls. Only one of the songs from October, the title song, was featured in the band's Best of 1980–1990 collection, as a hidden track at the end of the album, although both it and "Gloria" (which, despite mostly poor album reviews, became somewhat of a hit) were staples of the band's live set throughout the eighties. On the other hand, October was ranked as #41 on CCM Magazine's 2001 list of the greatest Christian music albums of all time, one of only two U2 albums to make the list, the other being The Joshua Tree.
October was the start of U2's vision of the music video as an integral part of the bands creative work, as it was released during a time that MTV was first becoming as popular as radio. The video for "Gloria" was directed by Meiert Avis and shot in the Canal Basin in Dublin.
"Fire" and "Gloria" were released as singles. "Is That All?" borrows the riff from "Cry", an older song the band previously used as an introduction to "The Electric Co." live. Bono said of the song, "That's the point I'm trying to make - is that all? I can sing you a song to make you happy, I can sing you a song to make you angry - but is that all? I think music can be more than that, it can be more than the sum of its parts.
1. Standard format: A single CD with re-mastered audio and restored packaging. Includes a 16 page booklet featuring previously unseen photos, full lyrics and new liner notes by Neil McCormick. The 11-tracks match the previous release of the album.
2. Deluxe format: A standard CD (as above) and a bonus CD. The bonus CD includes five live tracks from Hammersmith Palais, three live tracks from the Beeb, the "A Celebration"/"Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl" single released after October, the two b-sides from the album's singles, four additional live tracks from the Boston Paradise show and two other rarities. Also includes a 32-page booklet with previously-unseen photos, full lyrics, new liner notes by Neil McCormick, and explanatory notes on the bonus material by The Edge.
3. Vinyl format: A single album re-mastered version on 180 gram vinyl with restored packaging.
|1981||Billboard Pop Albums||104|
|1981||UK Albums Chart||11|