Friday, March 09, 2012

Blast from the Past: The Joshua Tree

Title:  The Joshua Tree (Amazon, iTunes, AllMusic, Wikipedia)
Artist:  U2 (Official, Facebook, MySpaceYouTube,, AllMusic, Wikipedia)

Twenty-five years ago today, U2 released what would their magnum opus The Joshua Tree.  I’m ashamed to admit it, but I actually didn’t get The Joshua Tree when it first came out.  Oh I remember seeing the video for “With or Without You” on MTV during the afternoon countdown show, but at the time I was more interested in the latest videos by Poison.  Now in my defense, I was in 7th grade and really didn’t know any better.  It wasn’t until a year later when U2 released Rattle & Hum that I actually got the band and what they were doing.  And while Rattle & Hum is my personal favorite, there is absolutely no doubt that The Joshua Tree is the best thing this band has ever done.   

In all honesty, The Joshua Tree is a perfect record.  There isn’t a bad or even weak song or moment on the record’s 11 tracks.  The record is inspirational and powerful, filled with anthems, love songs, and some of the most moving moments ever recorded.  With an album this perfect, it’s no wonder the band has faltered ever since.  Sure they’ve had some really good (maybe even great) moments since The Joshua Tree but those have been the exceptions and not the rule.  Prior to recording The Joshua Tree, U2 had produced four excellent records, each growing on its predecessor and, arguably, each better than its predecessor.  In The Joshua Tree U2 mixed everything that was great in Boy, October, War, and The Unforgettable Fire and then turn the intensity and emotion up to 11.  The result was rock ‘n’ roll excellence; one of the greatest albums ever produced.  

As mentioned, in the years after The Joshua Tree, U2 lost their way and became a bit of a farce.  Despite all of that, they are still one of the biggest bands in the world and play in front of thousands of people, but at this point they are a nostalgia band.  People go see U2 to hear the likes of “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and all of The Joshua Tree.  

I was once a U2 fanatic.  This was the band that opened me up to an entire new world of musical possibilities and because of that they will always hold a special place in my heart.  And no matter how many times I’ve heard it, The Joshua Tree never gets old.  In fact this record sounds as fresh today as it did over two decades ago when I first heard it.  The Joshua Tree is simply flawless.

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