Author Topic: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?  (Read 2535 times)

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Online riffraff

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2017, 02:01:10 PM »
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Stupid article.
U2 phoning it in on side two is a ridiculous assessment.
Kudos to the patti smith reference, Exit is very similar.
It's a great great album, incredibly cohesive.

It's a masterpiece, whether we personally enjoy it or not. It just is.

I agree with this.  It may not be our favourite U2 album but it is perfectly executed, a musically and lyrically rich and dense record, with so much high quality material on it (compare it to Zooropa, which is a critically-acclaimed album but feels a bit sparse when compared to the weight of material on AB, TJT, or Pop). 

The writer of the piece dismisses side 2 as derivative of other artists, but pretty much anything can be defined as derivative if you want to look at things genealogically, and this writer seems obsessed with demonstrating his rich knowledge of rock music by listing antecedents.  Anyone else listened to With or Without You and thought of Talking Heads’ Once in a Lifetime?

As for side 2, the writer fails to mention One Tree Hill, and whilst I agree with him that In God’s Country is not the most original song and Trip Through Your Wires is weak, it’s overall a dark, powerful and political set of songs, not the treading-water exercise the writer suggests.  When the album came out vinyl was still the predominant format in Europe at least, and if U2 wanted some more “big tunes” on side 2 they’d have sequenced the album differently.  That they did not tells me that side 2 is precisely what they wanted it to be.
I appreciate your use of the word "dense" in describing TJT. It IS dense...thick and dark, with that desperate sound that I love.

Offline bass slap

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2017, 02:28:12 PM »
Kristy maccoll sequenced the songs in order of her preference, with streets being her number one and motd being her least favourite. At least that's the rock and roll legend.

Offline RathfarnhamU2Fan

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2017, 02:35:56 PM »
There are 9 outstanding songs on there, one "mood" piece and another lighter moment to pace the album a bit (Exit & TTYW).
As a collection of songs it simply doesn't get any better.There isn't even a Beatles album with such a solid collection of songs.

It's the greatest album of all time in my opinion.Ignore this bo****ks, U2 can't catch a break anymore.

Offline achtung child

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2017, 02:40:41 PM »
I always think it's hilarious when bitter, old men try to re-envision a significant contribution to the zeitgeist simply because they've smudged their favorite (insert obscure band) t-shirt with bags of Cheetos for twenty years and have nothing better to do than ponder if the earth really is indeed round.

Offline DoYouFeelLoved

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2017, 03:10:56 PM »
I've always thought that (even if it is undeniably a great record, perhaps a masterpiece) it's a bit overrated.

Bear in mind:

Streets and WOWY alone brought significative innovations to music, perhaps we could say they pioneered a whole new genre of rock.

They're the sole responsible for the origin of the classic "U2 sound" if you like, and their influence in rock and pop songwriting it's still very strong and present in today's music.

I think it's overrated in the sense that musically U2 has done at least 3-4 much more interesting records than TJT, but the fact that it's the record that sold the most and made them superstars it's often hailed as their true "masterpiece".


Offline georgemccauley

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2017, 05:36:37 PM »
Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby are their masterpieces, no question


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Offline WookieeWarrior10

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2017, 05:59:43 PM »
Not by any stretch of the imagination is The Joshua Tree a masterpiece. Achtung Baby is a masterpiece. Pop is a masterpiece. Zooropa is a masterpiece. Masterpieces typically don't have weak songs on them, but The Joshua Tree is saturated with them.

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, for example, is probably U2's most overrated song. It may be my least favorite on the album. Throwaway tracks such as In God's Country and Trip Through Your Wires are unmemorable and boring.

With Or Without You, as tired and overplayed as it is, is a great song. Not one I listen to often, if ever, but it's there.

Streets is an average song but it isn't awful enough for me to critique.

Bullet is a solid track and I'll listen to it sometimes...

Overall, the only tracks that I really enjoy are Bullet, Running to Stand Still,  Exit, and Mothers of the Disappeared.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 11:37:00 AM by WookieeWarrior10 »

Offline mofospacejunk

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2017, 07:15:51 PM »
I love watching the 33 1/3rd docs on the making of the JT. Eno, and to a greater extent, Lanois have just as much DNA in this album as the rest of the band.

Take Lanios off of ISHFWILF, and it's a really, really ordinary song. Impressive vocal by Bono.

Musically, it's not even '3 chords and the truth'.

It's their most overrated album. Not even in my top 5, which is:

Pop
UF
AB
Zooropa
War

So short answer is NO!!

Offline mofospacejunk

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2017, 07:17:16 PM »
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Have long maintained it is the most overrated album in u2's cannon and one of the most overrated albums of all time by anybody.

I can appreciate that a lot of people disagree with my view on it and I can see the records attraction - but as I say for me it is massively overrated.

I don't personally own a copy of it and I don't consider that fact as meaning I am missing out.

The only song on it I would call a masterpiece is Mothers - yet again u2 at their best for me when being understated....RTSS would be up there as well if the album version was in same vein as the zoo tour version - Exit is OK as well.

Of course on this upcoming tour in enormodomes it will be the obvious hits that receive the most rapturous receptions from Joe Public and songs like those mentioned above will largely receive muted receptions/see exoduses to the bars.

agree 100%

Offline mofospacejunk

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2017, 07:19:00 PM »
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I always think it's hilarious when bitter, old men try to re-envision a significant contribution to the zeitgeist simply because they've smudged their favorite (insert obscure band) t-shirt with bags of Cheetos for twenty years and have nothing better to do than ponder if the earth really is indeed round.

You got that from reading this review? If you find it sooooooooooooooo funny, then why do you come across sooooooooooooooooo grumpy?

Offline tigerfan41

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2017, 09:23:48 PM »
It depends on what you judge a masterpiece by. Is it an album with every song being good or great? An album with many great songs, some good songs, and a couple duds? Some other standard?

I judge the masterpieces by that first criteria. "Achtung Baby" meets it as I can't think of a single below-good song on it. Good tracks = "Tryin'" and "Zoo Station". Great tracks = everything else. If there was only one album I could listen to on a desert island, that would be the one.

As far as TJT is concerned, it is the album that made me a U2 fan. AB is the album that made U2 one of my favorite bands, though. TJT has three of the greatest songs that U2 ever produced, a few that are in the higher echelon of U2 tracks, a couple that are good, and a couple that are sort of meh. Obviously, it has the strongest 4 consecutive tracks of any U2 album, but I don't think that is enough to make it a masterpiece.

When I first heard about U2 playing the album in its entirety for an entire tour, I was not in love with the idea. The reason why is because of 3 of the last 4 tracks of the album. They're not exactly interesting tracks. I mean, each are decent in their own way, but they're not tracks that enthuse the crowd the way the first 7 tracks and OTH likely will. You could play an album like AB in its entirety, do a Zoo TV-type concert throwback and you'd have crowds singing along/excited about every single one of those songs. I can't see people reacting in a similar way to "Exit" or "Mothers".

So to sum it up, no, I don't view TJT as a masterpiece. I love the album and it is one of my favorites, but very, very few albums are masterpieces to me.

Offline Blueyedboy

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2017, 10:13:23 PM »
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Not by any stretch of the imagination is The Joshua Tree a masterpiece. Achtung Baby is a masterpiece. Pop is a masterpiece. Zooropa is a masterpiece. Masterpieces typically don't have weak songs on them, but The Joshua Tree is saturated with them.

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, for example, is probably U2's most overrated song. It may be my least favorite on the album. Throwaway tracks such as In God's Country and Trip Through Your Wires are unmemorable and boring.

With Or Without You, as tired and overplayed as it is, is a great song. Not one I listen to often, if ever, but it's there.

Streets is an average song but it isn't awful enough for me to critique.

Bullet is a solid track and I'll listen to it sometimes...

Overall, the only tracks that I really enjoy are Running to Stand Still,  Exit, and Mothers of the Disappeared.

I get where your coming from but you've got to apply the "of its time" factor into the mix.  The Joshua Tree is not even in my top ten albums of all time but I appreciate the effect it had on the music world at the time.  There's no official metric of Masterpieceness of course, but U2 at their best were capable of producing a masterpiece or two, I believe Achtung Baby is one, The Joshua Tree is the other.
As for Pop, I'm more than happy for this album to remain a dirty secret  ;D
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 02:40:35 AM by Blueyedboy »

Offline Chip

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2017, 10:28:03 PM »
I don't consider TJT a masterpiece, but it's nearly one and is very ambitious. One thing I've seen few people comment about over the years is how the album opener contains just about all of the album's themes and imagery in miniature; trace the imagery from WTSHNN throughout the album and it's hard not to appreciate Bono's consistency and obvious care thematically. Side two gets a lot of flack and always has, but OTH is the best song on the album, IMHO, and is the song most worthy to be called a "masterpiece." TTYW has always been underrated: it only seems light and inconsequential, for if you look at the imagery and biblical allusions therein, you'll find a lot of depth. Save MOTD for a later album (R&H would have been just fine) and put "Heartland" between TTYW and OTH, and you really do have a masterpiece.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 10:32:48 PM by Chip »

Offline clydefrog

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2017, 11:12:19 PM »
Surprised to see so much bashing about this album. Especially on a U2 "FAN SITE"

I consider myself a die-hard U2 fan. Meaning I tend to love everything they release. It's very rare I don't like something and if I do dislike a U2 song I can guarantee I like it better than any other bands best song. With all that said I judge this album as a whole: b-sides and all. There are some amazing b-sides to TJT: silver and gold, sweetest thing, walk to the water, dancing barefoot, spanish eyes... so it's very hard to argue against this album being a masterpiece. If I were to play devils advocate I would have a hard time. Mothers is weak, Trip is not my favorite either but to say Exit, Red Hill, In Gods Country are bad songs..? I dunno you guys might just be too cynical and have to critique everything.

In conclusion this album contains U2's only #1 hits and arguably their best live song and the staple of every U2 concert. I will say I am a bigger Achtung Baby fan since my all time favorite song is on that album BUT TJT is most definitely a masterpiece and to say otherwise is almost sacrilegious in here of all places.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 12:27:14 AM by Hawkmoon2e »

Offline DGordon1

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Re: Is the Joshua Tree really a Masterpiece?
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2017, 02:10:38 AM »
This is all very typical fansite reaction to a question like this.

Of course it's a masterpiece. Whether or not it's your favourite is irrelevant - it's the legacy of the record that defines whether or not it's a masterpiece.