Poll

What are your top three favorite songs off the album Boy, and how do you feel about the album in 2018?  

I Will Follow
16 (22.5%)
Twilight
1 (1.4%)
An Cat Dubh
9 (12.7%)
Into the Heart
5 (7%)
Out of Control
16 (22.5%)
Stories for Boys
1 (1.4%)
The Ocean
3 (4.2%)
A Day Without Me
3 (4.2%)
Another Time, Another Place
2 (2.8%)
The Electric Co.
15 (21.1%)
Shadows and Tall Trees
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 25

Author Topic: Boy: Retrospective  (Read 380 times)

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Offline Vox

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Boy: Retrospective
« on: May 10, 2018, 08:49:49 AM »
This is the first part of the U2: Retrospective.  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login 

After listening to the album now, in the present day, the main part of each post will be to vote for your three favorite songs from each album.  The next parts can be optional (well, the whole thing is “optional”), but I’ll structure my posts like this:
•   When did I first listen to that album?  What is my history with the album?   
•   How do I feel about the album when I listen to it today, versus how I’ve felt about the album in the past?

For my top three favorite songs off the album, I’m going with “Out of Control,” “The Electric Co.,” and “I Will Follow.”  The first two songs were easy to identify.  The third had some competition.  In the past, “An Cat Dubh” would have been a top 3. 

I initially heard Boy sometime in 1989-1990, after I started to become a big fan and was going through U2’s back catalogue.  I remember liking it right away.  Over the decades, I’ve had stretches where I didn’t listen to it very much, other than a couple songs here and there.  But over the past ten years, I’ll periodically go through many week-long periods where it’s the only U2 album I spin.

Listening to it again this week and trying to do so with fresh ears, I remembered how striking the lyrics are.  These are songs by kids about being kids.  Very unusual, very un-rock-and-roll stuff.  The Edge’s guitar was better than I remembered.  I was also struck by Adam.  I like the way he plays on Boy – I think what he lacks in proficiency, he makes up for with instinct.  Has he been the most underrated overrated bass player, right from the very beginning?  In parts, I found the xylophone to be more than a little bit off-putting.  I’ve never really cared for “The Ocean,” and “Another Time, Another Place,” though I didn’t mind the latter when I listened again this week. 

I have a decent knowledge of music, so when I listen to something, I try to think about the time when it was released.  Lots of different sounds popping up in the early 80s…  But it seems that Boy was set aside from everything else going on at the time.  It might be hard to fully appreciate, sitting here in 2018, with The Edge’s sound being so influential to so many other bands…  But at the time, this must have been stuff from way far out.  Very unique.   

The U2 of Boy is the “default” U2.  This is how a brand new band named U2 wanted to sound (or, at least, how they were capable of sounding, at the time).  Sometimes I wonder, had U2 broken up after the first few albums, would people still be listening to songs from those early records?  I believe so.  And had U2 broken up after October or War, this is the sound and era they would have been known for.  I’ve always maintained that had U2 broken up early in their career, they would now be looked at as a slightly more successful version of Echo and the Bunnymen. 

Anyway – great album.  Great debut album.  Great U2 album.  I always rank it in the upper midsection of my U2antheon.



Offline laoghaire

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Re: Boy: Retrospective
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 06:06:55 PM »
My top three are:
Out of Control
Into the Heart
The Electric Co.

I first listened to the album at the same time as you, somewhere in 1989-1990, after I had filled myself enough with TJT and R&H and was ready to move back. I started with TUF and then Boy. TJT and R&H I originally had on cassette but I bought everything else, including Boy, on CD.

I agree with you that Boy has always, for me, existed outside of its time. I grant you that my parents did not listen to pink/post-punk, so that could be the reason for my disconnect. In 1980 I was too young to be listening to my own music, but Boy seems so unrelated to The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Bob Segar, Led Zepplin, Kenny Rogers, and anything else that I think was going on then.

I have this weird duality with the album, and it's been like this from the very first listen up until now: I kind of can't believe they got anywhere on it, and at the same time I do hear something special. I don't know if they were truly punk in their sound or just in their sheer rawness.

Edge's work is very interesting to me here, given the marked simplicity of many of some of the guitar licks yet how he already was on to something new, a sound I personally have yet to hear anywhere else. The Electric Co. Is a highlight for his work, and honestly I think his masterpiece on the album.

The other Edge masterpiece for me is very simple: Into the Heart. When I listen to that song, I ignore Bono when he comes in and I keep tracking Edge. I feel my breathing slow and become more ordered when the song begins. It surprises me how such a simple melody can stop me in my tracks: if I'm cleaning or something while listening, I have to stop for that song.

Honorable mentions for standout songs for me include Shadows and Tall Trees, Twilight, and Stories for Boys. But I have this feeling that few people who are not U2 fans could appreciate the music. I might be wrong about that, but it's just how I perceive it.

Boy is not in my top half of albums, but I definitely listen to it and carry it in my heart.

Oh, and a last comment: the US album cover sucks.

Offline Argo

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Re: Boy: Retrospective
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 07:24:05 PM »
Top 3 are:
Out of Control
I Will Follow
An Cat Dubh

Could easily have included Electric Co. I was a bit too young when Boy came out to know it existed. I became a big U2 fan with Achtung Baby and seeing the R&H DVD for the first time around the same time. The emotion and urgency of SBS gripped me. I then had the pleasure of discovering the back catalog over time. I don't really remember the first time I heard Boy but for me, it stands the test of time better than any of the other earlier albums. I remember seeing them play An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart on the Vertigo tour at the Garden in NY and realized how good those songs were. I always loved IWF and OOC. I have an amended Boy playlist that includes Party Girl, 11 O'clock Tick Tock and Saturday Night (which became Fire on October) because all those songs existed (I believe) at the time of Boy. It is an immense first album as it is but incredible with those songs also. Today, I listen to Boy more than any of the first 4 albums and more than R&H and ATYCLB. 

Offline Lebowski

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Re: Boy: Retrospective
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2018, 09:23:08 PM »
An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart remains one of the most underrated U2 songs ever, and of course I Will Follow and The Electric Co. are tremendous as well (even if I rarely listen to the studio version of TEC because the Under a Blood Red Sky version kills it).  The rest is good.  A very nice debut.

Offline benpoke

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Re: Boy: Retrospective
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 02:07:14 AM »
I've chosen"

An Cat Dubh (which means I get Into The Heart for free, right?)
Another Time Another Place
Electric Co

I first heard the album when I was seven.  It was 1985 and I'd heard all the other albums but was obsessed with Under A Blood Red Sky so was looking forward to hearing the "real" versions of I Will Follow and Electric Co.  I recall being pretty disappointed at how dry and lifeless they sounded compared to the live versions.

But I loved An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart and to this day I think this is one of U2's most "complete" albums - the quality remains all the way through, it has a consistent sound and its a good, solid album.  The Edge's guitar is incredibly innovative for a 19-year-old and Steve Lilywhite did a fantastic job with his opaque production.

Offline Rasmus

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Re: Boy: Retrospective
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2018, 08:02:20 AM »
My favorites are:

An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart
Out of Control
Electric Co.

I became a fan during the pop-era and slowly worked my way through the back catalogue. I learned I Will Follow from the Popmart DVD (or VHS ;D) and heard some live songs from Boy that were on the Sweetest Thing single. It took me a long time to actually listen to the whole album because I was so in love with other U2 albums and my favorite of the early ones was War. I heard the version of Out of Control from Slane Castle which just blew me away and then I went and heard the whole album. I think its a great album and in the top half of their catalogue for sure. I love the themes of innocence and the energy is just awesome. Would have loved to see them live during this period but I wasnt born unfortunately ;D
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 08:04:10 AM by Rasmus »

Offline hollywoodswag

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Re: Boy: Retrospective
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2018, 02:40:04 PM »
I picked I Will Follow, An Cat Dubh, and The Electric Co., although I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge Out of Control, which would duke it out with really any of those three for being a medalist to me. I'd also like to mention Speed of Life, which is one of my favorite rarities from the Boy era.

Boy was one of many albums I never really discovered until I started getting very heavy into U2 about a year ago, so I don't really have many early opinions on it save for a little familiarity with I Will Follow and The Electric Co. When I started playing through it in its entirety, I found it to be a pretty solid album with the aforementioned noteworthy high points, but also a respectable level of consistency throughout its duration. It's an interesting punk record, and you can sense the band's efforts to really prove themselves. I'd say they did a pretty good job. ;)

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Boy: Retrospective
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 10:04:30 PM »
I chose "I Will Follow", "An Cat Dubh" and "Into the Heart".  Very fresh-sounding album which has aged well.  "An Cat Dubh" moving into "Into the Heart" is a classic U2 moment and one of the great sounds in their catalog.