Irish rockers, U2, have been around for 37 years now after the release of their debut album, Boy. Irish rock was their prominent overtone and they were heavily loved for it. Breaking out from Ireland the band have seen Global success to the extent where they could be regarded as the biggest band in the world. A few missteps along the way, but they still are as big now. Many regard the pinacle of their music as The Joshua Tree, but there's a large group who do regard that as Achtung Baby. But as Joshua Tree is 30 years old this year, I thought I'd celebrate that by doing my first classic review on the undeniably classic album.
The album opens with Where the Streets Have No Name, my favourite U2 song of all time. Such a heartwarming and powerful song. What the song does is build up through the first minute where it then breaks out and Bono can really display his vocals. Bono has such a rare voice where he pushes it to it's limits but when it reaches its limit it harnesses such a unique sound, with an Irish twinge. This is such a fantastic opener to the album because it immediately catches your attention and rocks straight in. Not to mention, U2 really harness the mix of Irish-inspired folk and mainstream rock on this album that it undeniably shaped their whole career. If not for this album, which effectively "completed" this entire type of sound, U2 could possibly still be trying to perfect this sound even today. But, what this album allowed them to do was put this genre to bed, and move onto experimental projects such as Achtung Baby, Zooropa and even the terrible No Line On The Horizon. And I respect that massively, U2 are always trying to break a mould and crack down their own barriers. Sometimes, however, this does go terribly wrong as all of you who have Songs Of Innocence burned into their phone will know.
What makes this album so great for me though, is Bono's voice. This album was the best it ever has gotten. Songs like With or Without You and Bullet The Blue Sky really evident this. Not to mention, this was really, with the exception of Rattle & Hum, Bono's last chance to take those Irish Folk Rock influences and showcase what he could do with it. I think what also astounds me about this album is how it sonically regresses yet in a positive way. You're given all of the singles immediately and then it's into the non album tracks. What I mean by this sonically regressing is how barebones some of the tracks are towards the end of this album. But what we are giving about halfway through the album is Red Hill Mining Town, a stunningly produced song, with Bono showcasing those unique vocals we all love and The Edge performing absolutely incredibly on the guitar. There's such raw emotion on the track showcased through the phenomenal guitar strings, let alone the vocals. And this is the case for much of the album, U2 bat and never miss their home run.
This album defined a genre and U2's career, and rightly so. It's such a perfectly structured work of art, that you'd be hard pressed to find a greatest albums of all time list without this sitting pretty in there somewhere. But what makes this album so special for so many, is that it was the end of an era for U2 because not long after this release they moved away from all that made them what they were and ventured into new areas like discotheque, funk etc. But perfection incarnate lies right here. If you've never heard this album then you must do that immediately because you're missing out, big time.