The Joshua Tree – U2

Released March 9, 1987 this was the fifth studio album by U2, and featured a harder edged sound than the previous four. It went to the top of the charts in 20 countries and was the fastest selling album in UK history. Joshua Tree propelled U2 into superstardom and has since sold over 25 million copies and has been added to the Library of Congress.

Jason: Is U2 the band that you have seen live the most amount of times?

Brad: I think they are. I have seen them at least 15 times.

Jason: Wow! I know you say that they always put on a great show. I believe there was one tour where they had some giant spider thing over the entire stage?

Brad: They are always fantastic live. The 360 Tour had the giant stage in the middle that kinda looked like a spider. And the thing is, I’ve been able to see them up close several times because they always make the closest general admission tickets the cheapest tickets when they could probably charge a lot more for those seats.

Jason: Did you see the tour that supported this album, The Joshua Tree?

Brad: I didn’t see the original Joshua Tree tour but I saw the Joshua Tree anniversary tour a couple years ago where they played the entire album.

Jason: That’s cool. I love this album partially because it helped define my jr. high years. It’s very nostalgic for me.

Brad: I have a confession. I didn’t start liking U2 until the early 90s when Achtung Baby came out. That was my gateway album into U2. I thought they were ok before that but they didn’t get my attention in a big way until then.

Jason: What about Achtung sparked your interest and did you then go back and listen to The Joshua Tree?

Brad: I liked that Achtung was a little more sonically exciting than the U2 singles I had heard prior. And yes, I did go back and listen to all their albums and grow to love them. For me, I love Joshua Tree more the older I get.

Jason: “Bullet The Blue Sky” was a gateway drug into Depeche Mode for me. The opening :45 seconds. WOW!

Brad: Interesting. How did that get you into Depeche Mode.

Jason: They used some of the same industrial sounds on this album. Listen to the last :30 seconds of “Exit” or “Mothers of the Disappeared”. Their sound was sort of “alternative” and some friends that liked U2 would play some DM. And some of the alt radio stations would play U2, DM, Echo & the Bunnymen. I think those bands are tangentially related. This was back when there were like 5 genres of music: Rock, Pop, Country & Western, “Oldies” and the catch-all “Alternative”.  I am opposite of you with U2. I liked them and then dropped off around Pop

Brad: I liked Depeche Mode, The Cure, Erasure & New Order when I was younger but during that time I thought U2 and R.E.M. were a little boring. Which is strange for me to remember now since I LOVE both U2 and R.E.M. now.

Jason: R.E.M. was always kind of boring. But we digress. U2 was one of the biggest bands ever and still are but there are a lot of people that claim not to like them for some reason. I think they are mad that U2 became popular, and Bono is outspoken, and people got a free U2 album with their iPod and for some reason that pissed them off. 

Brad: People are still outraged that iTunes put that free album in their libraries. I’m still irritated that people complained about that at all. It still gets brought up. Speaking of, Apple just announced today they are getting rid of iTunes. I’m sure some people will find a way to blame U2 for this.


Brad: I always find it strange when people complain about U2 being too political these days. They have always been political. 

Jason: Yeah, it’s like their whole deal! Let’s talk specifics about this album. The songs “Red Hill Mining Town” and “Trip Through Your Wires” are both great.

Brad: Those are great. The one song that just revealed itself to me in recent years is “Mothers of the Disappeared”. It was so powerful on the Joshua Tree tour and now I love it so much.

Jason: Yes, I really have enjoyed that one this go around. This whole album is great. Does it sound too ’80s to you? 

Brad: No. Not at all. That is one of the things that I’m really impressed with is that this album still sounds so good today.

Jason: I agree. Also, it should be noted that “One Tree Hill” is not about a Chad Michael Murray TV show that I never watched.

Brad: I don’t think I have even seen a single minute of that show

Jason: I bet Karen Keyes has seen every episode of all nine seasons. What’s impressive about this album is that the first three songs, all of which were singles and all went to #1, if you heard the first 3 seconds of any of them you can identify the song. They are so unique and iconic.

Brad: I agree. Listening to it now, it is hard to believe those three were all on one album. Such greatness. I’m glad it won the Album of the Year Grammy that year. By the way, now that I think about it. I think the Pet Shop Boys version of “Where the Streets Have No Name” may have been my initial gateway into U2.

Jason: “Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes off You)” is super gay. I love it. 

Brad: I love it too. Although, it sounds very 80s now even though it came out in 1991.

Jason: Yes, it doesn’t hold up as well either either of the originals. Do you have The Joshua Tree on vinyl?

Brad: You know what? I can’t remember if I got the reissue or not. If not, I need to get it!

Jason: Please do. Last question. Rank them by hotness: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullins Jr.

Brad: Larry, Bono, Edge and then Adam? Sorry Adam.

Jason: It’s okay, Adam knows he’s the least cute. That’s the order I would put them in too. What are you grading this?

Brad: A very predictable A for me. I think more people need to be reminded of why U2 is one of the greatest living bands.

Jason: I agree and it’s A from me as well. I really enjoyed revisiting this album.

Brad: Before we go here is a photo I took of Bono. I love it.

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