Thursday, June 08, 2017


I know it’s fun to slag them off these days, hell, I do it myself.  And when you do an “anniversary tour” of your 30 year-old album, you kind of seem to be negating everything you’ve done after.  And you know what?  They’re right to do so.  Even if I include Rattle and Hum, which was about 75% of a decent single album, I’d be hard-pressed to compile a quality cd of post-1987 U2unes.

Like a lot of bands (REM comes to mind immediately), once they lost that young, up&coming band hunger, they lost their way.  Bono’s pretentiousness, The Edge’s baldness-shame, it all just overwhelmed the music at some point.  Now they’re a shit-dull nostalgia act, like the Stones.

Still, though……

Boy was an amazing album by any standard.  Wide-eyed and filled with wonder, it was like an early-autumn trip through the minefield of adolescence.

October got shat on by a lot of critics if I recall, but I love it.  Darker than Boy, but with a more expansive musical palette, and who gives a crap if they were winging a lot of it because their studio notes got stolen?  GodDAMN it’s some powerful stuff.

And of course, War.  Much more direct and hard-hitting, much less echo and reverb, and still with room for incredible atmosphere pieces like “Drowning Man”.

I’ll admit, I was a teeny-bopper and I wanted more obvious hit-me-over-the-head stuff like “New Year’s Day” or “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, so The Unforgettable Fire was originally a disappointment.  I think hearing the non-album tunes “Boomerang I” and “Boomerang II” for the first time is what helped put everything into perspective for me, and make me realize how great the songs and production on this album really are.  “Pride” ended up becoming my least-favorite song here, simply because it WAS such an obvious tune.  Hell, I even love “Elvis Presley and America”, which seems to get singled out for scorn in almost every review I’ve ever read of Fire.

And then The Joshua Tree.  Good times, good times.  I think my first copy was one of those goofy long-box cassettes.  “Red Hill Mining Town”?  “Running to Stand Still”?  “One Tree Hill”?  Holy fuck, what tunes……  One of my first college-age records, I think the band played in Buffalo around this time, but I saw no attraction in watching a band on a jumbotron in a football stadium.  Ended up seeing The Screaming Blue Messiahs instead, still have no regrets.

And don’t forget all the b-sides and obscure tracks and quality bootlegs the band had between ’79 and ’87.  Always an important measure of how good a band is.

And now they just make me sad, like dead kittens or ice cream cones that have fallen on the ground.

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