Masterful and Defining
Dave_42 | Australia | 05/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After its release, Bono was quoted as saying "The Joshua Tree is the best record we've made to date, but it will not be our best record by a long shot." People may argue about whether or not it is their best record, or even was at the time, but I think it would be difficult to support the second half of the statement. "The Joshua Tree" was released on the 9th of March, 1987 and was a critical success, and a sales success as well as it reached number 1 on the charts in over 20 countries. It was U2's fifth studio album, and with it the group explored different genres, and in particular blues, than they had in their previous albums. At the same time, the album also builds on their previous release, "The Unforgettable Fire", both in sound and with their decision to stick with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois as producers.
The album opens with the brilliant "Where the Streets Have No Name", the third single from the album, and a piece which sets the tone and the style for the entire album. The second track is "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" which was also the second single from the album which brings forward the religious aspect of the album, both in lyric and in gospel influence. "With or Without You" is next, and it was the first single from the album. A song dealing with internal conflicting feelings and desires. "Bullet the Blue Sky" brings in a different sound, and yet works well with the rest of the album, this is the first political song from the album.
"Running To Stand Still" brings some blues into the album, with its acoustic interaction between guitar and piano. The lyric refers to the heroin epidemic in Dublin during the 80's. "Red Hill Mining Town" is next, a song which had been planned to be a single, but when they had difficulty with the video they released "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" instead. That problem aside, this track would have been a good single. "In God's Country" is the shortest piece on the album, and probably the highest energy one as well. It was released as the fourth single for the album in the U.S. and Canada.
"Trip Through Your Wires" is next, a piece with a different feel than most of the rest of the album, with Bono playing Harmonica, and a lyric which plays with good vs. evil and the path which our desires lead us down. "One Tree Hill" was released as a single in New Zealand and became number one there. The song was written about Greg Carroll, to whom the entire album is dedicated. Greg was Bono's assistant, and died in a motorcycle accident during the period when the album was being recorded. "Exit" is another interesting piece, which appears to be dealing with suicide or perhaps murder, as it starts soft and builds to a heart-racing crescendo, and then jumps between the two contrasts. The album closes with "Mothers of the Disappeared", a final political statement about the civil war in El Salvador and the people who "disappeared".
"The Joshua Tree" took U2 from an internationally known and respected group, to the status of one of the greatest groups in existence. They broadened their sound by exploring different genres, yet maintained their own identity. It may or may not be your favorite U2 album, but it is one of those albums which is known by even the most casual fan, and it is one of the defining albums of the period.
Achilles Last stand | 08/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In twenty years I have worn out 2 Joshua Tree tapes and one CD. This CD doesn't not have a single bad song on it. Probably their best work."