New Release Oddities

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2019-02-17)

Update: February 17, 2019:

We’ve been able to confirm what version of Rattle and Hum is now shipping from Amazon in North America. If you read below, we recently were able to identify a new pressing of Rattle and Hum was being offered for sale at Amazon in the USA, at some local shops, and is also being offered on U2.Com. We believe these are all the same pressing.

The version now available at Amazon is definitely a new pressing of the 2002 release from Europe. This version was initially pressed in Europe and sold throughout Europe over a number of years. It has been repressed a number of times since the initial pressing, including pressings in 2015. The pressing carries the catalog number 842 299-1 (UPC 0 42284 22991 3). There is little text on the back except for the trademarks, and a note “Made in the E.U.” A sticker further identifies that this pressing was made in Germany.

How do we know it is a new pressing? Well for the first time since we’ve seen these vinyl start to appear, this version on Amazon currently has a download code included. That allows you to download the full album at in wave format like the other issues since the reissue program started in 2017. The download is available in Wave format like the other albums were.

This version is an updated pressing of the 2002 vinyl, and is not a remastered album. Rattle and Hum was part of series of albums remastered for Apple in 2017, but this vinyl contains the original mastering and not the newer mastering directed by The Edge. We were told that a new pressing of Rattle and Hum had originally been planned for last fall, and it was suggested that this would have been a remastered version. We are not sure what this new pressing of the 2002 release says about any future release on vinyl. We have reached out to Universal Music to ask if the remastered version will indeed be released at some future point, or if it is this version that will be kept in print going forward.

Many thanks to Zach for sharing photos and information on this one!

Original Story: February 15, 2019:

Lots of little bits of information coming out about various releases, so we’ve taken a few minutes to put together a little update here:

The Europa EP

Record Store Day is being held on April 13 this year. We are told that U2 will be releasing a special EP from the Experience + Innocence tour, featuring live tracks taken from shows in Europe, including “New Year’s Day” from one of the Dublin performances. This EP will be called The Europa EP. The opening music, a mix of “Zooropa” and “Love is All We Have Left” with Charlie Chaplin’s speech from The Great Dicator is also said to feature as the opening track of the EP. This EP has not yet officially been announced but we can now tell you when that announcement will happen. The announcement of the full list of Record Store Day titles will happen on Thrusday, February 28, and that announcement should be made at approximately 1pm Eastern. (Last year’s announcement was about 20 minutes early as the list had leaked onto the internet). The announcement of titles is done at the website Recordstoreday.Com as well as carried on country specific sites.

No Line on the Horizon Release

When the new reissues of No Line on the Horizon were first released some stores initially listed one or the other of the two releases as being on March 29. That confusion has been cleared up and both the black vinyl and the clear vinyl versions of the album should be in shops worldwide on February 22, 2019. (Except possibly Canada, see below.) All of the online shops we’ve checked are listing these dates now as well. Unlike the previous releases on coloured vinyl, which were only available in limited shops, the clear vinyl version of No Line on the Horizon will be available everywhere but only as long as initially pressed quantities last. It is now listed at various Universal store fronts worldwide, Amazon stores in most countries, available from and also will be available in local shops if they have ordered a quantity of these in. The black vinyl will not be as limited, and will be kept in print going forward.

There has been a delay communicated to shops in Canada, with stores last Friday being notified that both versions of the vinyl will be delayed. This has been reported mainly to shops in Western Canada, and they are being told that the albums will be available for March 1 instead. Canada has a long history of delays with U2 releases, especially with anything that has to be imported from outside the country. A number of box sets and deluxe editions going back to How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb have been fully released 1-2 weeks late, although there is always reports that a more limited release happens on time. The most recent delays were with the “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” vinyl that saw a very limited release on Black Friday, with the majority of stores getting their shipments two weeks later instead.

The Best of 1990 – 2000

If you go onto some digital services you will now see The Best of 1990 – 2000 as U2’s most recent release. In those shops they list a release date of February 6, 2019. However, this is not the new remaster of that album.

As time goes on Universal regularly refreshes content at digital storefronts. As new stores come online and more services are added, Universal will occasionally send out refreshed digital versions of some older releases, and pull the older digital versions from sale. Usually this is done with little notice, and in most online stores you would not even know this has been updated. But some stores do show the date an item is refreshed and this leads to the newest item being an older release. In 2018 they delivered new versions of U218 Singles (Deluxe, May 9), Boy (Deluxe, May 9), The Best of 1990 – 2000 & B-Sides (April 3) and the 30th Anniversary The Joshua Tree (Deluxe, March 15). These are indistinguishable from earlier releases, containing the same art, tracks, and are usually digitally exact copies.

But since the last time The Best of 1990 – 2000 was posted, there has been a new remaster of that album. In September the band released that title on vinyl, with remastering directed by The Edge. If you bought the album on vinyl, you also receive a digital download card that allowed you to download the remastered tracks in digital format. This has been the only way to get the remastered version to date.

So did they release this new remastered version on February 6 to online shops? The answer is no. The version that was released on February 6 is not the new remaster, and is just refresh of what was there before. The only way to buy the new version remains buying the vinyl itself.

How can we tell the new digital versions are not the remastered versions? One quick check is the track “Mysterious Ways” — back in 2002 when The Best of 1990 – 2000 was initially released one line was changed in the lyrics. The original version on Achtung Baby goes: “She’s the wave, She’ll turn the tide, She sees the man inside the child, yeah” but the version on The Best of 1990 – 2000 has always been “She’s the wave, She’ll turn the tide, And no question she knows why” using a different vocal track. The new remastered version of The Best of 1990 – 2000 on vinyl last fall reverted back to the original lyric of the song. These newer digital versions still have the altered lyric, which means they are not from the new 2018 remaster.

No, we do not know if the remaster will ever be made available outside of the vinyl pressing that was released last fall. This latest refresh of digital storefronts however suggests it won’t happen that way.

Rattle and Hum

Another weird one has been brought to our attention by a number of people including Michelle and Albie. Many thanks!

Last week U2.Com started offering copies of Rattle and Hum on vinyl for sale in their online store. Anyone who’s followed us for a while knows there was a new remaster of that album released in 2017 in the iTunes MFiT program. The other two albums remastered as part of that program, All That You Can’t Leave Behind and Pop have both now been issued on vinyl as well. And we have been waiting for the release of Rattle and Hum on vinyl as well, we were even told that it was originally planned for last fall, to coincide with the album’s 30th anniversary, but that the coloured versions of Zooropa and The Joshua Tree replaced it in the release schedule.

So what is this vinyl that U2.Com is offering in store now? We aren’t entirely sure, as we’ve yet to find anyone who has ordered one and has received one, and our own order has yet to ship.

But we do know that in 2002 there was a pressing of Rattle and Hum for Europe. The pressing was given the catalog number 842 299-1 (UPC 0 42284 22991 3). There is little text on the back except for the trademarks, and a note “Made in the E.U.” The labels list rights societies BIEM and MCPS, which usually suggests a release for Europe including the UK. A sticker on some early copies of this release reads “180 GRAMM Vinyl Re-Release mastered from original tapes” and includes a Universal logo. This version has been reissued a number of times over the years, first in 2004, and a number of times since with a repressing in 2007-2008 and another around 2015. It has been relatively easy to find over the years in Europe. This version is not the remastered audio version of the album, and uses the original audio version.

It appears that this one has just been issued again and we suspect this might be what U2.Com is offering for sale at this time. We have not been able to confirm this but other evidence suggests its a new version of the 2002 pressing. A listing on Amazon.Com that was showing a release date of February 13, is now showing multiple copies available, and is using a picture that is the same as the 2002 issued vinyl. My local store has also gotten a supply of these in fresh just this past week, and its an updated version of the 2002 pressing, and appears identical from the outside. A discussion with one of the distribution houses for Canada confirms that the only version they have available to order and supply to stores is listed under the same UPC / Catalog number as the 2002 release, and they do not have a listing for a newer version that is available at this time.

And this listing has shown up on U2.Com at the same time. It has not been announced as a new release, and it is not listed as a pre-order. So I expect in all cases its the same item being offered.

We are told that some shops are able to see a new listing for Rattle and Hum listed…possibly the expected remaster, but the release date listed is 2039. (A common practice for listing items with no available release date is to list them with a far-future date.)

If anyone has ordered a copy of this vinyl from U2.Com and can confirm for us what version it is we would appreciate your help in identifying exactly what is being sent out. But we do suspect it is just the latest reissue of the 2002 version produced for Europe with a wider distribution this time.

To sum it all up:

  • “The Europa EP” should get released on Record Store Day, April 13, 2019. The official announcement of items available on Record Store Day will happen later this month on February 28, 2019.
  • No Line on the Horizon in black and clear vinyl should be available worldwide next Friday, February 22, 2019. Everywhere except Canada that is, where delays have been communicated to retailers (Expect the releases on March 1 instead in Canada.)
  • Although listed as a new release on online services, the recent digital release of The Best of 1990 – 2000 is not the newer remastered version.
  • Rattle and Hum is listed for sale on U2.Com but we suspect it is a new pressing of the 2002 version.

As we get additional information we will pass it along!

Thanks Agustin, Michelle and Albie for some of the information used throughout the reports above.

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