Friday, March 10, 2017

The Joshua Tree - Thirty years on

I don't recall the first time I heard The Joshua Tree. I have a vague recollection of hearing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For on my sister's radio. I have a stronger recollection of hearing the Rattle and Hum version during a car trip down to the South Coast. I know the first U2 album I bought was Achtung Baby. The first album I was really excited about was Pop. I know I explored the U2's back catalogue between the two albums, but I can't tell you when I first heard it. 

The Joshua Tree is an almost faultless album. I can't just listen to one or two songs, I have to play it right through, which is exactly what is intended

Where the Streets Have No Name is the best opening track to an (maybe any) album. The way it starts, builds in intensity before easing off is just magical.

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For is a great song, and in some ways became my theme song. I love the restlessness in the lyric.  I know that Bono talks of it being a song from doubt, but I've always seen it as a song of or from faith. 

Even though the album is now thirty years old, the themes the album wrestles with are still present today. One of my favourite lyrics is In God's Country, 'We need new dreams tonight'.  I can't help but look at Australia (and America) and say where are the dreamers, where are those who would lead and guide us to be all that we can be, as people or as a nation.

The other songs which have resonated with me Running to Stand Still (about Heroin), Red Hill Mining Town (feel this song is so relevant in Australia as our manufacturing industry suffers and the mining boom ends), One Tree Hill (on the death of a friend), Mothers of the Disappeared (political prisoners).

Listening to it recently, I am valuing Trip Through Your Wires more, it's the song that lightens the mood, and prepares you for the second intense wave of emotion.

Speaking of emotion - With or Without You is just a magical song, and it goes to another level when the band plays it live, with the 'Shine like Stars' and 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' snippets. 

The album's strength is show in the songs left off the album - Walk to the Water, Luminous Times (Hold on to Love), and Spanish Eyes. Each of these are powerful and emotional songs and deserve to be more well known. I'm hoping, but not expecting, we'll see and hear some of these in the tour later this year.

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