MARK'S NOTCAST Ep. 47 : U2's "PopMart" - a band in crisis? 17 January 2021
Mark's Notcast Episode 47 : U2's "PopMart" - a band in crisis? Here I talk through U2's bonkers, bold and batty PopMart Tour - from the early days of an under-rehearsed band playing rough shows in half-empty stadiums to the final show in Johannesburg a year later, the way the band structured the narrative of the show to reflect upon themes of death, sincerity, conflict and resolution, the medium of the band as brand selling music as a product, the use of pop and art in the tour, high ticket prices (I paid less to see them in 2015 than I did in 1997!), The Instagram Moment, and how "The Best Of 80-90" was a moment of consolidation and regrouping after the perceived failure of the tour and album.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 46 : U2's "Pop" ... (or "Shouting At God").15 Jan 2021.
Mark's Notcast Episode 46 : U2's "Pop" ... (or "Shouting At God"). This time round a deep dive into U2's flawed, fascinating tenth studio album*, the failure of selling 7 million albums, mid-life crisis, the use of classic Pop/Art imagery such as Warhol, Munch and Lichtenstein, the lyrics and narrative structure of the album, CD Bloat, Directors Cuts, why the worst songs of every U2 album are named after places or countries, "The Crunch", music as a brand, the McDonalds Arch of Pop, Pop/Mart, the premature nostalgia of "Discotheque", the greatest U2 gif on the Internet, the remixed/re-recorded and revised versions on the singles and the compilations, and the best Jarvis Cocker quote there is.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 45 : "Passengers"... when the going gets tough, U2 go weird. 14 Jan 2021.
Notcast Episode 45 : In which U2/Passengers release their only album with Brian Eno as "Original Soundtracks"... when the going gets tough, U2 go WEIRD, and record an album of mostly instrumental experiments that are soundtracks to imaginary films that were - mostly - never made. If you want to hear a strange record of Zooropa/Pop-era b-side type songs, this is the one for you! Also I touch upon "In The Name Of The Father", Batman movies, soundtrack albums, and the lead into the 1997 Pop/PopMart era. 14 January 2021.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 44 : Suede's "Coming Up" 25th anniversary episode. 10 January 2021.
Episode 44 sees a continuation of the Suede series, where we revisit Suede's "Coming Up" album on its 25th anniversary, the end of the "Dog Man Star" tour (and subsequent 2011 and 2014 reissues), the live shows including the secret fanclub gig in January 1996, as well as shows in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Newport, Watford, Kentish Town and Ilford, the singles - "Trash", "The Beautiful Ones", "Saturday Night", "Lazy", and "FilmStar" and the "SciFi Lullabies" release, as well as the 2016 2LP coloured vinyl reissue with the B-sides, and the 2019 HMV Neon Vinyl edition, as well as the 2011 and 2016 reissues. 10 January 2021.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 43 : "Everything Counts". How To Buy The Depeche Mode Back Catalogue. 09 January 2021.
Notcast Episode 43 : "Everything Counts". How To Buy The Depeche Mode Discography. 09 Jan 2021. Depeche Mode have released 107 live albums, 67 singles, 14 singles box sets, 14 studio albums, 8 live films, 4 compilations, 2 remix albums, 1 CD/5.1 DVD reissue series, and a LOT of stuff. And 15 solo albums. Where do I start? What versions do I get? Here, I spent 42 minutes talking about 42 years of Depeche Mode and what to spend your money on. 09 January 2021
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 42 : "Dead People Can't Say No" : David Bowie's Ouija Board Years 2016-2021. 08 January 2021.
Notcast Episode 42 : It's David Bowie's 74th birthday, so what better way for the Estate Of David Bowie to mark it by releasing a limited edition cream 7" that sold out from his website before they even officially announced it? Here I take a tawdry tour through Augmented Reality Video Game of "Try To Buy Every Limited Edition Posthumous David Bowie Release", the dark world of random coloured vinyl in gold, white, red, and blue (maybe?), the many live albums released in 2017-20, the many 7" demo box sets, the 'demo' box set LP's, the Brilliant Live Adventures "Empty Box" fiasco, and all the other tacky, pointlessly limited, reputation-harming releases. Here's their marketing strategy in five words : "Dead People Can't Say No."
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 41 : U2's "Zooropa" and the ZooTV Tour 1992-93. 05 January 2021.
Notcast episode 41 : U2's "Zooropa" and the ZooTV Tour 1992-93. I put it to a vote, and survey says... MORE U2. Sorry people that don't like U2. Democracy and all that. Today I talk about the ZooTV Tour, the "Zooropa" album, U2 tattoos, "Numb", "Lemon", "Stay", "Zoo TV Live In Sydney", the Dublin show, bootlegs of Michigan, Rotterdam and Houston, the "Melon" remix album, the Peoples Republic Of Zooropa, and the album as a transmission from a confused alien to their mothership about these weird human creatures.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 40 Part 1 : U2's "Achtung Baby" is a masterpiece... pt1 : 03 January 2021
Notcast Episode 40 Part 1 : "Achtung Baby" is a masterpiece... part 1. 03 January 2021. Today I talk about U2's seventh studio album, "Achtung Baby", the album, recording at Hansa, the production, the singles "The Fly", "Mysterious Ways" and "One", and talk in depth about the albums lyrical content and depths, and how U2 were able to change step with the times at the same time that Nirvana's "Nevermind" conquered the world. This video has an abrupt end as I accidentally switched it off.... so follow up Part 2 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnXxk... where I discuss "Even Better Than The Real Thing", "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?" and the 2011 SuperMegaBoxSet Edition.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 40 Part 2 : U2's "Achtung Baby" pt 2... the SuperMegaBoxSet.. 03 January 2021
Notcast Episode 40 Part 2 : "Achtung Baby" pt2.... The SuperMegaBoxSet. 03 January 2021 Following on from the accidentally-shortened Part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMdXK...) here's Part 2 where I discuss the singles "One", "Even Better Than The Real Thing", "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?", the 2011 Super Mega Box Set, the 1992 Zoo TV Special and the 2011 documentary "From The Sky Down".
MARK NOTCAST Ep 39 : U2's "Best Of 1980-1990" and those dodgy bootleg LPs. 03 Jan 2021.
Episode 39 : It's a New Year now, and technically a new decade, so we're in the Roaring Twenties (or something), and what better way to start it by talking about U2's "Best Of 1980-1990" that marked the bands first decade on the high seas of rock'n'roll? (I'm sure there are many better ideas, but this is the best one I had). Today I talk through The Best Of 80-90, the singles that are - and aren't - on it, the limited edition B-sides CD, "The Sweetest Thing" single, the promo "Night And Day" release, the 1991 bootleg demos albums (in 4 x LP and 3 x CD form), and the circumstances that lead to the release of "The Best Of 1980-1990". Also, all hits albums should be in chronological order of release and that is a Hill I Will Die On.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 38 : Joy Division 1977-1980. 30 December 2020.
Notcast Episode 38 : 30 December 2020. Today I intended to start talking about Joy Divisions Early Years, but I ended talking about their entire body of work - the two studio albums, six singles, the 38 bootleg live recordings, the posthumous "Still", the 7 issued live recordings, the "Here Are The Young Men" video, the 2007 documentary and reissues. I also talk about how Joy Division were the sound of a suburban, industrial town ignored by London, and how Joy Division were as much the sound of the Birmingham I grew up in as the sound of the Manchester they lived in.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 37 : Every Pet Shop Boys album... ranked! 29 December 2020.
Notcast Episode 37 : Every Pet Shop Boys albums... ranked! I bet you really really want to know my opinions on Pet Shop Boys album, and where I would rank them. Your questions have been answered : I discuss, in reverse order, each album, EP, collaboration album, remix album, live release, soundtrack, compilation and so on at a rapid-fire pace - giving each release about a minute each. (and.... breathe). 29 December 2020.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 36 : Suede's "Dog Man Star" and its role in a very traumatic event. 28 December 2020.
Notcast Episode 36 : 28 December 2020. 45 minutes about Suede's "Dog Man Star". This one can get heavy going, especially at the end so Trigger Warning here : grief and death. Here I talk about Suede's "Dog Man Star", the name change to The London Suede, "Stay Together", Live in Blackpool 1994, "We Are The Pigs", Richard Oakes, "The Wild Ones", "New Generation", how Britpop was a bit rubbish - sorry, I was there and it was shallow and often stupid -, and live shows in Brighton, Leicester, and a very, very traumatic night in Blackpool/Birmingham where I watched someone come very close to death. The last 10 minutes or so are very heavy viewing, so I won't mind if you make an exit before then at all.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 35 : U2's "Rattle And Hum"... or U2's worst mixtape? 27 December 2020
Notcast Episode 35 : 45 minutes about U2's "Rattle And Hum" - the film, the album, the documentary, and the live and studio albums that never were. Two episodes in ONE day? What fresh hell is this? Look, it's 2020 - and nothing is normal now. Here I discuss the film, the album, the VHS, the VCD, the DVD, the Blu Ray, the non-existence of a Deluxe Edition or reissue, the singles, the B-sides, the "U2-3D Dance Mixes" 12", The Lovetown Tour, the "U2 2 Date" promo LP, and briefly "The Best Of 80-90". My alternate tracklisting for the live and studio albums are listed in the comments. Also, thanks to everyone on Twitter who gamely discussed the album without knowing I was going to use you as fuel for this! Next episode :...... Not sure, maybe Suede, maybe Pet Shop Boys, maybe Joy Division? What do you reckon?
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 34 : "Revenge / Return Of The Jedi" (1983). 27 December 2020
Notcast Episode 34! "Return Of The Jedi" was the final film in the narrative of the George Lucas era Star Wars films, and here I talk about the film, "Yub Nub", the soundtrack album, novelisation, comic book adaptations, "Yub Nub", the changes between the 1983 and 1997/2004/2011 releases, The Most Complicated Effects Shot In Practical FX History, the use of Mattel Toys on screen, The Sarlacc (A Beak? Why?), "Yub Nub", the change of the ending song, My Favourite Star Wars Character, the triple narrative editing trick, Inception, The Phantom Menace, "Yub Nub", my moving to London, HMV Sales in the Year 2000, Soundtrack box sets, and how The Empire needs to sort out its HR department. Next episode? U2's "Rattle And Hum".
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 33 : U2's "The Joshua Tree" 22 December 2020
Notcast Episode 33 - 22nd December 2020, in which I talk about U2's "The Joshua Tree", Island Records, the singles, US and Australian/NZ only singles, cover art, the album, the 2017 Gold vinyl release, the CD release, the Chicago, Rome, Birmingham, Dublin, Paris, Cork and Syracuse live shows, bootleg LP's, CD's, and DVD's, tour programmes, and there's still stuff I forget I've only just remembered! I'll also post up my alternate tracklisting in the comments.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 32 : "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980). 21 December 2020
Notcast Episode 32 : "The Empire Strikes Back", 21 December 2020. In which I talk for about 35 minutes about the second (or sixth) - and best - Star Wars movies, Christmas Annuals, comic book adaptations, the NPR Star Wars Radio Dramas, Special Editions, Darth Vader as Deputy Evil Space Bastard Wizard Overlord, how the Emperor isn't *that* clever, Jaws 2, terrible franchise movies that don't make sense, The Star Wars Holiday Special, "Does Han Have The Force And Just Not Know It?", and the unmade sequel to The Italian Job.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 31 : U2's "The Unforgettable Fire". 19 December 2020
In which I talk about U2's 1984 album "The Unforgettable Fire", the single "Pride", "The Unforgettable Fire", the 4-Pac 7" set, picture discs, an Australian 12"with some mistakes and accidental mixes on it, the tour, "Wide Awake In America", Band Aid, the 2009 reissue, Kevin Keegan's hair, bootleg CD's, live shows from Nantes, Bologna, Dortmund, a Clannad single, the very drunk TV appearance in Dublin, Self-Aid, The Conspiracy Of Hope tour, remixes, The Edge's little known solo album "Captive", Live Aid, and the artistic "The Leap Of Faith". Next episode is *highly* likely to be about The Empire Strikes Back.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 30 : "Star Wars" (1977) 18 December 2020
NOTCAST Ep 30 : 18 December 2020. In which I talk about the original 1977 "Star Wars" movie, the novelisation by George Lucas/Alan Dean Foster, the 1977 / 1997 / 2014 graphic novel adaptations, George Lucas' First Draft that is utterly a Jive-Bunny-Mash-Up of all Star Wars Ever, Star Wars Annuals, soundtrack albums, the Empire's supply chain, How Star Wars Was Saved In The Edit, Darth Vader as a Bristolian, the 2019 Blu Ray - and how you can now see Darth's eyes! -, how Star Wars is a crap sequel to "Revenge Of The Sith" (what are these new characters? Why does Chewbacca get such a big role? Is the Emperor camera shy and always just out of shot / leaving the room when a scene starts?), and how people growing up in the Seventies learnt their approach to office politics and promoting staff by i) killing the nearest guy standing to you and ii) promoting whomever was walking past. Pretty sure this is how the Government manage their Cabinet as well. "Apology Accepted, General Gove".
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 29 : U2's "War"/"Under A Blood Red Sky" 17 December 2020
Today on NOTCAST 29, I talk about U2's 1983 period, particularly "War" and "Under A Blood Red Sky", the singles "New Years Day" / "Two Hearts Beat As One" / "Sunday Bloody Sunday", NO MORE!, late night TV, concerts, the two officially released U2 records I don't have [can you guess what they are?], the vital importance of pointing out Any Factual Errors On The Internet, lyrics, I SAID NO MORE!, the bands touring, did God write the lyrics for "40"? ... and if so, would he sue Bono? ..... Red Rocks, how live shows were adverts for the album but now the album is the advert for the live show, What Would Have Happened If The Record Had Flopped, if Adam would have become a dot-com millionaire, and well, anything else I think of!
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 28 : Star Wars Prequels. 14 December 2020.
Here I talk about the Star Wars prequels 1999-2005, the brief 2003-2004 Clone Wars animated series, the First Time I Saw The Phantom Menace (on a camcorded VHS smuggled into the UK two months before European release), immature, petulant, childish brats, Star Wars : Dark Forces, the Hunt For The Intergalactic Sparkplug, Visual Poetry - IT'S SO DENSE -, spoilers on the soundtrack albums, novelisations, many of the tie-in books, Barry Norman, a brief bit on the Original Trilogy, and The Lord Of The Rings.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 27 : Star Wars on VHS, DVD and BluRay? A buyers guide....
"Star Wars" has been released on VHS, Laserdisc, VCD, DVD, BluRay, about a gazillion times. Here I walk you through the 1995 Executor VHS Box Set, the 1997 Special Edition VHS Box Set, the 2004 Original Trilogy DVD box set, the 2006 Theatrical Version DVD releases, the Prequel Trilogy DVD's, the 2011 Blu Ray Box Set, Rogue One (yay!) on Blu Ray, Solo: A Star Wars Story, the 2015-19 Sequel Trilogy, and The Ewok Movies, with a guide to special features - which if you want to keep / own them all, you have to have each movie on standalone DVD and both BluRay BoxSets if you gotta catch them all! Also detours into the world of ignorant Podcast hosts who rank movies without seeing them (grrr), Michael Stipe's ability to throw vinyl around a room, the best DVD commentaries (and worst), Some Dude Who Always Downvotes Everything I Do, and my erratic release schedule for these i.e. I do them whenever I feel like it on whatever I want! Have fun.
MARK'S NOTCAST Ep 26 : U2's "October" 02 December 2020
02 December 2020, in which I revisit U2's second - and in my opinion, worst - album "October", the bands crisis of faith, the hurried recording schedule, playing most of the album live for the first time in front of much less than 50,000 people at Slane ("One of our worst gigs, ever" - The Edge), the cover photo of 'four people with bad haircuts', the associated singles "Gloria", "Fire" and "A Celebration", the 2008 2CD reissue, and the 2019 cream vinyl repressing. Non U2 stuff will be uploaded in future. I also discuss English/British exceptionalism, why do most Brits only speak one language, and forget to mention a whole bunch of stuff I later thought of.
My preferred running order :
01. I Threw A Brick
03. I Fall Down
07. A Celebration
08. With A Shout
09. Stranger In A Strange Land
11. Is That All?