Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No. 26: The Joshua Tree

Band: U2
Album: The Joshua Tree
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: This is the album that really changed U2 from a Euro lite punk/New Wave band into one of the world's most popular rock and roll acts. The first three tracks were all top 15 singles and the videos for "With or Without You" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" are considered iconic by many.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: The more famous U2 becomes, the more insufferable Bono becomes. You know my biases.
Best song: I don't like U2, so I find the whole album to be pretty crappy.
Worst song: "Bullet The Blue Sky" is awful.
Is it awesome?: People love U2. I don't.

U2 recorded "The Joshua Tree" in an attempt to Americanize their sound. The album is thematically a tribute to the United States and include varying different songs about the American experience, presumably through the eyes of Europeans.

The record's sound is very American. Bono's lyrics reference the great wide skies of the West, as do the novella-style storytelling about mining towns and "God's Country." Like many Europeans, the American West clearly fascinated U2.

Supposedly, the band befriended the likes of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Keith Richards before they recorded this album. The influence towards a more soulful, blues and rock-based record shows. Clearly, this was U2's most rock and roll record at the time and it became their most successful.

Look, I'm not going to lie, I hate U2, but mostly because of the accolades placed on them. I don't think their music (or any music, really) is god-awful or worthless. I just don't like it. It bores me and I find it to be meaningful only to people who can't bother to change the radio dial. "The Joshua Tree" is like that. It's Tocqueville for retards. That's not America, Bono. That's cowboy nonsense.

The singles were huge. It was a turning point for the band. The album still stinks.

1 comment:

bob_vinyl said...

While I find the Joshua Tree to be pretty overrated, I'm not with you on U2. They're one of the truly great rock bands who, like the Beatles, were able to innovate and re-invent themselves rather than growing old and cold. That being said, I think Joshua Tree wasn't a perticularly strong effort beyond the singles. "Bullet the Blue Sky" was one of their best though. They also had a fine b-side in "Silver & Gold." I could never figure out why that one didn't make the LP.