Tag Archives: The Joshua Tree

Rocks In The Attic #257: U2 – ‘The Joshua Tree’ (1987)

RITA#257I’ll always prefer The Unforgettable Fire (and War, for that matter), but this is the album that turned U2 into a household name, with the band’s obsession with America finally paying off. I wouldn’t say that U2 broke America with talent and hard work – it feels more like they got lucky with their sycophantic pandering to the country. Whenever I see Bono or The Edge in a cowboy hat, a little part of me wants to vomit.

I don’t enjoy U2 after this album. Right from the self-indulgence of Rattle And Hum, they’ve gone from bad to worse, and only now over their last couple of albums have they seemed to realise what a group or earnest cunts they turned into in the 1990s.

The Joshua Tree is very much their high-water mark. Where The Streets Have No Name specifically is a flash of brilliance they’ve never been able to replicate – and only a few of their singles since have come anywhere close. I’ve seen U2 twice now – once in Manchester and once in Auckland. They’re a great band live, but I have to admit I always switch off whenever they play anything post-Achtung Baby.

One Tree Hill will always mean something special to New Zealanders – it’s a tribute to Bono’s PA, a New Zealander, who died in a motorcycle accident in Dublin. When I last saw the band play in Auckland, they played One Tree Hill, dedicating it not only to Greg Carroll and his family, but also to the victims of the recent Pike River mining accident. Earlier in the night, support act Jay Z had also dedicated a song to the Pike River miners but – in an act typical of the infantile and limited world view of rap – diluted the gesture by also dedicating the song to “Biggie and Tupac”.

Hit: Where The Streets Have No Name

Hidden Gem: One Tree Hill

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Rocks In The Attic #45: U2 – ‘War’ (1983)

Rocks In The Attic #45: U2 - ‘War’ (1983)Alan Partridge: ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’. What a great song. It really encapsulates the frustration of a Sunday, doesn’t it? You wake up in the morning, you’ve got to read all the Sunday papers, the kids are running round, you’ve got to mow the lawn, wash the car, and you think “Sunday, bloody Sunday!”.
Aidan Walsh: I really hate to do this to you, Alan, but it’s actually a song about…
Paul Tool: Yeah, bloody Sunday is actually about a massacre in Derry in 1972.
Alan Partridge: A massacre? Ugh. I’m not playing that again.

I have four favourite U2 songs. Two of them are on this album. Both times I have seen U2 play live, I have been willing them to play Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Year’s Day – and both times they’ve played both songs. My other two favourite songs are (Pride) In The Name Of Love, which they only played the first time I saw them, and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, which they only played the second time I saw them.

I really wish they had kept making albums like this and The Unforgettable Fire – they lost something (their sense of humour?) from The Joshua Tree onwards.

Hit: New Year’s Day

Hidden Gem: Drowning Man