U2 Discography: In God's Country

Previously: Stories For Boys

The Unforgettable Fire (1984)

The evolution of the classic U2 sound took a big leap forward, due in large part to the band's first collaboration with experimental producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Layered with atmosphere and texture, the widened sonic landscape helps this batch of songs to transcend pretty much everything from their first three albums. The Unforgettable Fire is not without a misstep or two—I'm docking a half point off my rating for the meandering "Elvis Presley in America," which goes absolutely nowhere for 6 minutes and 23 seconds. They should move that song to October so I never have to listen to it again.
Highlights: Pride (In The Name of Love), Wire, The Unforgettable Fire, Bad
My Rating: 8.5/10

The Joshua Tree (1987)

As the final step in their initial ascension to biggest band in the world, U2 tethered the atmospherics of The Unforgettable Fire to the ironclad anchor of American roots music, and tada, a timeless masterpiece was born. The Joshua Tree has been there for as long as I have been into music. I got my first cassette player when I was 12, and this was one of the first albums I copied from my sisters' tape collection, via the wonders of high speed dubbing. When I got a CD player a few years later, this was the first CD I bought. It is instant nostalgia—the rare album that manages to be celebratory yet contemplative, euphoric yet forlorn. Music just doesn't get much better than this.
Highlights: The whole thing
My Rating: 10/10

Rattle and Hum (1988)

After the runaway success of The Joshua Tree, the band undoubtedly asked themselves, "How do we follow this up?" What they quickly learned through experience was not with a project like Rattle and Hum. While it wasn't necessarily the self-aggrandizing propaganda that critics accused it of being, the album and companion film failed to maintain the momentum that had been steadily building since War. Part live greatest hits, part ongoing tribute to American roots music, Rattle and Hum doesn't necessarily lack great songs, but it does lack a cohesive thread, preventing it from being considered among their best. By the end of the '80s, the classic U2 sound had run its course, and the band knew it. During a concert on the last night of the decade, Bono famously told the audience, "This is just the end of something for U2... It's no big deal, it's just... we have to go away and... dream it all up again."
Highlights: Desire, Silver and Gold, Heartland, All I Want Is You
My Rating: 7.5/10
Next Time: Zoo Station


Krissy said...

LEGO Edge is much better looking than real Edge. I think they should make a LEGO Krissy. I'd like to see that. It might look a little like LEGO Bono, though... and that would be depressing.

Dave said...

Huzzah! I finally got a comment!