"Tokyo Drift" (1995)

Demo Song

Background Information

Brian Eno published his diary from 1995, called A Year with Swollen Appendices. It was published as a book in 1996 by Faber and Faber in the UK. That was the year that Eno worked with U2 on Original Soundtracks 1, and the book makes mention of a number of demos and working titles throughout. “Tokyo Drift” is one of the songs included in the book.

On June 6 he wrote a list of progress off songs, and in that list “Tokyo Drift” needs ‘string parts?’. “Tokyo Drift,” “Tokyo Glacier,” “Antarctica” and “Ito Okashi” are all listed as different songs in this list. “Tokyo Drift,” “Tokyo Glacier,” “Antarctica” and “Ito Okashi” are all listed as different songs in this list.

On July 4 he speaks about it again, “Then onto ‘Tokyo Drift’, which really started to wear thin after 87 or so hearings. But I have faith in it – somehow it needs some other energy source: something to undermine its glib pastorality.”

On July 12 he mentions “Disappointed hearing ‘Tokyo Drift’ again – finding myself embarrassed by my voice. So English and analytical – like Radio 3.”

The track became “A Different Kind of Blue” towards the end of the album sessions. This is confirmed in issue 23 of Propaganda magazine in an article called “All Passengers Present and Correct”:

A track called “Tokyo Drowning” is being rubbed off the main whiteboard, no longer featuring in the future of U2, the future of Brian Eno, maybe the future of anything. It has been played twice to the general lack of enthusiasm of the Passengers and it has been found wanting.

A track called “Davidoff” goes the same way: “Can we say the same for this old stodge?” asks Eno, not particularly mincing his words.

“Tokyo Drift” metamorphoses into “Different Kind of Blue,” a memorable song with the refrain, With the twilight breaking through, It’s a different kind of blue.” It’s a low-key, laid-back number, riding on a smooth bass line, but Captain Eno is characteristically unsentimental in his judgement: “I have to say, I think it’s a weak track…”

Bono: “I disagree, I really like it…”

Edge: “It’s got that lazy, lounge lizard feel, the only phrase I can think of.”

Bono: “I like that lounge lizard thing.”

The comments go round the room. Adam can live with it. Larry is less sure, wondering how it will fit in the context of the whole album. Bono wants it played again. This time round there is a slightly stronger feeling that it is not quite there, but that it is only missing something special from being something special.

Captain Eno would be happy to lose it, but concedes that if it had a more “inter-planetary” feel (Bono’s phrase) then it could work. A “Different Kind of Blue” has hovered within an inch of the studio floor, but has miraculously survived.

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