CD Review: U2


U2
The Joshua Tree
Island/Interscope/UME
By David Chiu

Released in 1987, The Joshua Tree was the album that put U2 on the worldwide map. Typical of U2’s music, the album has a heartfelt passion and sincerity–writer Bill Flanagan perfectly sums up the album’s sentiments in his liner notes on this 20th anniversary reissue: “What came out were songs that dealt less with America the country than with a mythic America of the imagination.” Produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, The Joshua Tree is best known for three of U2’s most famous hits: “With or Without You”; “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For; and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” But don’t overlook the other songs on this classic record: the fiery “Bullet the Blue Sky,” which sounds like an extension of the War album; the soulful “Running on Stand Still”; the folkish and bluesy “Trip Through Your Wires”; and the haunting “Mothers of the Disappeared,” a reference to the tumultuous times in Argentina during the late ‘70s. This 20th anniversary reissue contains a second disc of rare tracks and B-sides from the period, including “Silver and Gold”; the original mix of “The Sweetest Thing”; and “Wave of Sorrow (Birdland),” a song that U2 never was able complete until now.

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