“Desire” by U2 (1988)

Rattle & Hum was supposed to be the “U2 Discovers America” album and movie, following their official breakthrough into superstardom. The Joshua Tree, Rattle’s predecessor, sold millions, beat Michael Jackson & Prince (undeservedly) for Album Of The Year at the Grammys, and spun off two #1 pop hits. Sure, there was a little bit of hubris on U2′s part when this record was released (and come on, this is Bono we’re talking about), but I also remember some unnecessary critical slagging of the record as well.

I’ve still never seen the movie. And I’m okay with that.

At any rate, “Desire”’s a blues/rock gem, complete with multiple harmonica solos, a chugging guitar lick, and some of Bono’s most impassioned (and sexy) vocals. It’s also a refreshing blast of brevity just when it seemed like U2′s sound was about to get super-epic. It’s quick, dirty, makes its point in less than three minutes and leaves. Plus, that opening blast of guitar, followed by Bono mumbling “yeah”? Chills, even after thirty years.

NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…

“Deep Cover” by Dr. Dre Introducing Snoop Doggy Dogg (1991): Best producer in hip-hop history? Dre’s name is definitely up there (other names I would submit: The Bomb Squad, Organized Noize, Just Blaze, DJ Quik, Marley Marl, DJ Muggs, Q-Tip, Large Professor, and of course Pete Rock.) The “Deep Cover” beat is one of his best. It just bangs. And it manages to be menacing even as an instrumental. You don’t need that catchy-as-hell chorus to get stuck in your head to appreciate the song. You don’t need the Dre/Snoop tag team (a combo platter that went on to define The Chronic). Hell, you don’t even need Snoop when he was just trying to rhyme his skinny ass off and not be a multi-media personality (seriously- everything the man has recorded for the last 20 years has been AutoPilot.)
You don’t need those things, but if you’ve got ‘em, why not keep ‘em?

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