That Pandora Thing: What’s a Mode?

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams / Micheal Lamuth (2021-10-14)

Earlier today, Pandora announced some new exclusive content from U2 pertaining to the first three albums, Boy, October and War.

But many fans found as they went to tune in, the content is not available outside of the USA.

The press release stated, “On U2’s Artist Takeover Modes on Pandora, band members share never-before-heard stories behind the making of each album, delve deep into the creation and recording of pivotal tracks, and share classic songs from the artists who influenced and inspired them — from The Ramones to John Lennon to David Bowie – all in one unique listening experience.”

Thanks to Michael, we have a bit more detail. There are three available programs currently, “Boy Influences and Inspirations”, “October Influences and Inspirations”, and “War Influences and Inspirations”. Adam Clayton opens the War program by introducing the album and appears to be the predominant host throughout. He talks about the band touring the album extensively “across the US back again” and then shares some of the music that the band played in the van on those trips. What follows is a curated playlist of songs where Adam Clayton talks about the songs and the artists he is playing. The War playlist includes “Beast of Burden” by the Rolling Stones, “Don’t Forget About Me” by Simple Minds, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, and “Are Friends Electric” by Tubeway Army. There are also some U2 tracks mixed in, and “Like a Song…” is heard, as well as a performance of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 with Springsteen. Some artists are being mixed into each program multiple times, and listening to the War program for an hour The Police, Sex Pistols and Human League have all been heard multiple times.

The Edge is the predominant host for the October program, although we have also heard Adam Clayton in a few places. Artists featured on the October program include The Jam, David Bowie, Suicide, The Clash, Wah! Heat, The Pretenders and Kraftwerk among others.

The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton are hosting the program for Boy and all have been heard introducing artists. Artists featured on the Boy program include Gang of Four, Echo & the Bunnymen, Television, Magazine, David Bowie and Skids.

One of Bono’s introductions for the Boy program is a short poem which makes use of a number of song titles and band names…

“U2 calling…Bono here.
Boy was built for 20 years.
Iggy and Bowie at the Wall
Joy Division…She’s Lost Control
Because the Night and Marquee Moon
In our safe European Home
Ramones sing ‘Glad to See you Go’
Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes
The Stranglers, Peaches, the sound of Wire
1 2 X U, and Outdoor Miner
Elvis can’t stand up for falling
Into the Valley, The Saints are Coming
I Will Follow
Electric Co
Into the Heart, Out of Control
Rage and Love
And Pain and Joy
20 years to build a Boy”

Only the three programs are available currently, although the press release mentions “Additional album Modes are expected to be rolled out on Pandora’s U2 Radio station in the coming months.” The image used for promotion by Pandora for the announcement includes an image taken from the Achtung Baby photo shoots, so expect that one will arrive soon.

The Modes as these programs are being called were launched on Pandora at 9am ET, on October 14, 2021.

The Edge stated, ““Pandora has given us an opportunity to tell U2’s story in a completely new way, weaving the music of our heroes together with our own using songs, memories, and inspirations,” said U2 guitarist The Edge. “Music is the most powerful storytelling medium, and Modes has created an incredible new way to share the sounds and experiences that made us who we are as artists.”

This programming on Pandora seems to be an extension of what the band is already doing in some cases through their SiriusXM channel, but with a focus on presenting the music that inspired each album. Pandora is owned by SiriusXM.

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