U2 were waiting for this moment of commercial and critical success. It seemed as though they were getting better and better musically, with a unique mixture of different philosophical and musical elements to their sound. They were original all right. This is the first album that those who don’t know anything about U2 should check out. Let’s see how it fares over 30 years later.
We begin with Where The Streets Have No Name which has a ghostly keyboard intro, which sets the scene perfectly. It’s really very beautiful to hear. The Edge’s unique delayed guitars come through next, making this an intro to put a smile to your face. The whole group is as one with the sound here. Bono’s unique voice then enters the scene, making this a captivating listening experience. The whole piece is wonderfully crafted, and a great start to the album indeed. A great listening experience.
Next has the unusual intro to I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For enters a great pop song to listen to, even today. Bono really sounds supreme here, no other singer comes close to his sort of style, or delivery. There are some chiming Fender style guitars, pounding beats and a great sense of musical accomplishment here. It references to Christian ideals, but does so without sounding too overtly religious. Excellent song.
With Or Without You is a really sad song about losing a love that one had hoped to keep, but loses regardless. It is super sad and has some perfect lyrical imagery in it. The whole piece is one of the saddest songs ever recorded, it is difficult to not feel like breaking down and crying here upon listening. Still, it is a great listen on this album. Bono pleads for a lover to return, with no success. A great song. The outro is excellent, with some delayed chiming guitars by The Edge. Brilliant and heartbreaking.
Bullet The Blue Sky is another great song with a story about war. The intro is massive, with slide guitars and other elements that grab your attention immediately. The sense of rhythm and melody here is magnificent. With many discordant sounds in it, it sounds like a definite good antiwar song, with Bono as supreme leader of musical peace. The midsection is eerie, with assorted lyrics about the horrors that war presents. Great melodramatic song.
Next is Running To Stand Still which starts off with more precisely delivered slide guitar, before going into a love based ballad. The singing here by Bono is excellent, along with piano and muted electric guitar parts. This is really superb to hear, with some awesome harmonies as well. Some thunderous marching drums enter the scene. The whole thing is gorgeous, with some harmonica towards the end as well. Nice.
Following is Red Hill Mining Town which is an unusual story of rural adventure, with some visionary lyrics well sung by Bono. It also has some passionate singing about love as well. It seems more upbeat and positive than previous tracks, being a great piece of music. It is a great piece of musical accomplishment, being a more traditional U2 song. Good song, the harmonies are divine.
In God’s Country comes next. It’s a great piece of rhythmic story, with some great guitar melodies in it as well. It may be referring to the USA, but in any case, it is a catchy and moving tune. Perhaps inspired by their travels, it seems more fitting these days to listen to, as the air of melancholy about it makes more sense than it did in 1987. Great and short piece.
Trip Through Your Wires begins with some thunderous drum beats and harmonica. It’s another rural tale of delight, and is a great pop piece about pursuing love. It’s extremely catchy and another track that sounds like a 100% effort by U2. Mentioning thirst and other rural delights, it is a great song. “All I need, all I need, all I need” sings Bono towards the end. A great neo-country piece lyrically and musically.
Next is One Tree Hill which is a more subdued and settled musical piece. It may refer to the location of The Joshua Tree itself, but the lyrics are about romanticism, with more rural themes. There is a very tripped out keyboard sound in the middle of this song. A good and relaxing pop song. It sounds awesome. Towards the end, there is a false ending, with the climax occurring with a simple verse. Great stuff.
Following is Exit which is actually about suicide and what happened with a character who does just that. It’s extremely dark and morbid, showing U2 taking on a sort of Joy Division sort of musical piece. It goes into a moving quiet/loud set of dynamics that are quite interesting. It is disturbing, but intentionally so.
Mothers Of The Disappeared is last with some awesome electronically treated beats in the piece. The guitars and melodies are very sad sounding. Indeed, according to Bono this is about a specific set of events at the time. It’s a very sad and melancholy piece to end this awesome album. It ends a great album with a reminder of the horrors of war, and what it does to people. The drum beats at the end are awesome.
This is an excellent album and something that you should hear at least once in your lifetime. The four stars of U2 became instant icons after the release of this album. After all, it is a great one. The Joshua Tree is simply excellent listening, and a very humane one at that.