1981's October is widely viewed as something of the weakest link in the original trilogy of U2's early albums, and for the most part I'd have to agree with that assessment.

Still, when reconsidered on this newly remastered version, it becomes apparent that maybe October should have gotten a fairer shake. For one thing, "Gloria" is nearly as powerful an opening track as "I Will Follow" was for Boy. On the remastered version of October, Bono’s voice leaps out of the speakers with righteous indignation on this great opener. If the group’s second album is regarded by many in hindsight as the illegitimate bastard son of the family, or in any way the product of a young band which hadn’t yet quite found itself, it certainly doesn’t show here.

A deeper listen also reveals that songs like "I Threw A Brick Through A Window," "Rejoice," and "I Fall Down" all hold up remarkably well. Since these songs, unlike their counterparts on Boy, and especially War, haven’t been played to death by rock radio (alternative and otherwise), it’s easy to forget just how good some of them were. Edge’s deep resonant sounding guitar tone on “I Threw A Brick Through A Window” comes across sounding particularly fresh here.

For the bonus tracks on October, they wisely focus on the live stuff, as this was the period where U2 began to really gel as a live band with some very powerful performances. So you've got some great concert stuff here, including "I Will Follow," "Gloria," "The Cry/Electric Co.," and "11 O'Clock Tick Tock." There's also some rarities like "J.Swallo" and "Trash, Trampoline, and The Party Girl."

As with Boy and War, the packaging here is likewise top-notch. You’ve got the hardbound case, the new liner notes, and the booklet with all those purdy looking pictures of a much younger U2 than the one we know today – including Bono in all of his wide-eyed and innocent mulleted glory. All in all, not a bad repackaging of an album that in retrospect may have been sadly overlooked.

Nope. Not bad at all.

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