Poll

What are your three favorite songs off the album The Joshua Tree, and how do you feel about the album in 2018?

Where the Streets Have No Name
32 (24.6%)
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
11 (8.5%)
With or Without You
17 (13.1%)
Bullet the Blue Sky
7 (5.4%)
Running to Stand Still
13 (10%)
Red Hill Mining Town
7 (5.4%)
In God's Country
5 (3.8%)
Trip Through Your Wires
3 (2.3%)
One Tree Hill
20 (15.4%)
Exit
12 (9.2%)
Mothers of the Disappeared
3 (2.3%)

Total Members Voted: 44

Author Topic: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective  (Read 659 times)

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Offline Vox

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The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« on: July 02, 2018, 07:23:10 AM »
This is the fifth 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?


Top three songs:  “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “Bullet the Blue Sky,” and “Running to Stand Still”

Ahhh…  The Joshua Tree…  The last “new” U2 album I wasn’t more or less a part of at the time of release.  Though in a way, I suppose I was a part of it.  So many of the songs from this album were and still are everywhere.  I’d heard the “big three” before becoming a BigFanTM.  Back in the late 80’s, I “taped” a lot of songs off the radio.  For the uninitiated, this meant sitting in front of your boom box, or whatever, and waiting to push “play” and “record” at the same time when a song came up that you liked so you could tape it onto a cassette.

But I really became a big U2 fan around the time of Rattle and Hum.  After buying Rattle and Hum, I was disappointed there wasn’t a live version of “Streets.”  When I finally bought The Joshua Tree, I listened to that song a dozen times before moving on.  That’s still my favorite off the album.  Back then, I remember that the song “Exit” was my second favorite song.  As the years progressed, I truly fell in love with “Bullet the Blue Sky” and “Running to Stand Still.”  These songs still find ways to significantly move me, in subtly different ways, as time goes on.

Since early 1992, this album has consistently stayed at #2 on my U2antheon (it took me a couple of months to fully digest and buy into what became my favorite album, Achtung Baby).  There were also a few months in 2009-2011 where I would have put No Line on the Horizon ahead of it (yes, you read that correctly).  But at #2 it sits and there forever it will likely sit – I can’t imagine it would lose that spot ever again.  In truth, I really did a thorough “retrospective” of this album last year, before seeing the Joshua Tree Tour 2017, as I’m assuming a lot of folks did.  It’s still epic.  Seriously, turning the album on and listening to tracks 1-5 is evidence, trial, jury, and conviction that U2 deserves to be listed as one of the top bands of all time.     

The only potential skip on it may be “Trip Through Your Wires” (probably fits the vibe of the next album more than this one).  I also used to skip “Red Hill Mining Town,” but I rediscovered that one last year.  And “Mothers of the Disappeared” still inwardly changes me with each listen.   

This was the version of U2 that I pined over, listened to, and watched over and over and over again was a teenager.  This, along with Rattle and Hum, is the era where I started to collect the bootlegs, the concert videos, slapped the posters on the wall…  To the point where I was sufficiently confused and bewildered (in such an incredible way) when Achtung Baby dropped. 



Offline the_chief

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2018, 11:34:58 AM »
First heard it when I was a kid. Hold Me Thrill Me got me into the band as a 5 year old. (Batman link) Think it was a year or two later when I robbed my Bro's cassette of it. Looking back now, I was surprised I knew WOWY, ISHFWILF and Bullet before I played the album

They're all great live but, where I am in my life at the moment, there is something about melody and music on RTSS that hits home
Trip Through Your Wires, In God's Country and Bullet remind me of Rory Gallagher and Status Quo for some strange reason.

They're all favourites, with the exception of Red Hill...Live, Exit and Streets are just the dog's bo****ks!
Great album but, will never top Achtung Baby for me

Offline SwimmingSorrows

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2018, 07:35:39 PM »
Oh, what a special album.  Hate to be cliche, but my top 3 are

1. Where the Streets Have No Name
2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
3. With or Without You

I first listened to this album only about 3 years ago.  I'd known U2 before then but not particularly well.  They're by dad's favorite band, and I liked some of their songs as a kid.  Elevation was a favorite of mine when I was a very small child, and I remember hearing the riff of Crazy Tonight in that blackberry commercial and buying it on iTunes.  A Todd in the Shadows YouTube video talking about Rattle and Hum was what really got me into the band though.  That live version of Sunday Bloody Sunday is life changing.  That video inspired me to reach into the drawer and start with their most famous album, The Joshua Tree.

It took me a while to get into it, not because I didn't like it at first, but because I just kept playing the first three songs over and over for at least a week.  This run of three is still the band's finest moment in my opinion, but Bullet, Running to Stand Still, and One Tree Hill are also some of the best songs they've ever done.  That's not to say I don't love every song on this album.  They're all brilliant.

Including Trip Through Your Wires, so fun, so catchy.  It's all open roads and empty skies in the world packed into three and half minutes.  Seeing this live was such a treat.

Offline LToy

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2018, 08:58:40 PM »
My top 3:

  • Bullet The Blue Sky
  • Red Hill Mining Town
  • In God’s Country

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I first started listening to U2 in 1988 (which I consider myself to be a late bloomer; I would consider anyone who started listening in 1983 or earlier as a 1st generation fan) so naturally the 1st album I listened to was The Joshua Tree.  Without the benefit of magazine articles to explain Bono's views (Time & Rolling Stone) I associated The J Tree in my mind with the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns (1986), by Frank Miller, which I was reading a lot while listening to The J Tree.  The marriage of U2's soundscapes that depicted their interpretation of America & American society with Frank Miller's images of a gritty, urban, dystopian American society seemed like a match made in heaven, especially on songs like Streets & Bullet The Blue Sky.  This is probably the closest that I would equate U2's music as a soundtrack to my life, and this is the only album that I've ever put in that context.

Offline rlabs19

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2018, 09:53:21 AM »
Streets
RTSS
One Tree Hill

This will always be THE U2 album, the one that defined their career, the one that showed the world what they were all about and they didn't care what anyone thought. It has possibly one of the best album openers of all time. The flow is magic, the lyrics are deep, the music is complex and layered... Everything about this album is perfect. It truly captures the band in their prime in every respect. For as much as I love TUF and AB, this will always be the easiest U2 album to play all the way through.

Offline mrsamrocks2

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2018, 10:58:14 AM »
Streets
WOWY
RTSS

It's obviously a very strong album. I like all the songs on it although I got tired of some of them because I heard them so much. However, I never get tired of those three, they really are amazing.

Offline miracle_al

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2018, 02:09:32 PM »
Others have said it, and I agree:  This album (and accompanying cover art, etc) is perfection.  I still wonder how four twenty-somethings from rainy Ireland could have made this album.  For a long time, I didn't think the members of U2 were even human, such is my affection for this album.  I expect this album to continue to climb up various "Best Ever" lists.  My favorite three songs from the poll above:  RTSS, RHMT, and IGC. 

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2018, 03:01:15 PM »
WOWY, One Tree Hill, and Exit.  It's a great album and has stood the test of time.

Online MrsZoo

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2018, 05:53:06 PM »
Don’t make me choose. Why do I have to choose? Oh go on then.
Exit
With or Without You
Trip Through Your Wires
These songs after all this time still get me all emotional but the whole album still means so much to me that on a different day it would be three different JT songs in my top three. I cannot believe the band members were only in their mid-20s during recording.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 08:24:04 PM »
Streets
Red Hill
Trip Through Your Wires

So this is the big one, where it all began for me when I was 11 years old. I was actually 10 when the album came out and my mom bought it on cassette. I definitely remember the cover, which was epic even though I'd never heard of these guys and I was only 10. Looking at it, it seemed like they belonged on Mount Rushmore.

A year later, I Still Haven't Found got into me in a big way. I liked plenty of songs by plenty of acts, but this was something different. Only one other album had made me feel something (Journey - Escape). But this got me even more.

I don't know how well I could have articulated it then, but I heard - in addition to some very unique music - someone who clearly felt a lot of feelings. And the key was that there was a lot of care in him. It wasn't just "woe is me" but a guy who willingly put his heart out there, not at all in some trite, sloppy, romantic way but in some really big way.

Today I can point to the lyrics "and a heart that is broken is a heart that is open" to explain it. It's not true for everyone, or even most, but it was true for Bono. I did not have a broken heart but his feelings reached me, especially the care.

The lyrics had love (or the struggles to love mourned) and they were sung with love. Building (and burning down) love. You know I believe it. Love, slowly stripped away. Will this rain break my heart? (Never heard so much grief sung before).

Why did I need that? I can't say. But the text on the cassette clean wore away.

I had not listened to this album from start to finish this century. I don't know if I just reached an absolute lifetime maximum of playing it. I love it, it's not that it grew stale, but I think I overdid it a long time ago.

The trilogy from Red Hill through Trip still make me want to get up and dance, and sing. And I don't mean dance like a little swaying. I want to slap my knees, and jump, shake my fist in the air, stomp my feet, shout YAHOO!

Red Hill has some amazing singing. One Tree Hill has some amazing emotion.

The sheer sounds in Streets and Found just blow my mind. So unique, so evocative. We all know what the opening to Streets does to us, but the first few seconds of Found also make me catch my breath and my heart beat faster.

Mothers told a story that is pretty mind blowing for a 27 year old non-parent to tell.

Edge's work throughout is amazing, just amazing. Adam's is perhaps not as noteworthy but exactly EXACTLY what the album needed, dependable and simple, a solid foundation for Edge's mastery. Love Larry's intro on WOWY, great stuff on Bullet. Bono sang like his life depended on it, and there are so many strong lyrics.

Offline Clarky

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2018, 10:52:30 PM »
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First heard it when I was a kid. Hold Me Thrill Me got me into the band as a 5 year old. (Batman link) Think it was a year or two later when I robbed my Bro's cassette of it. Looking back now, I was surprised I knew WOWY, ISHFWILF and Bullet before I played the album

Pretty much exactly my origin story as well. Except I was 9 and I kind of heard TJT by proxy of listening to popular radio and hearing a third of the songs by the time I actually bought the album. My Dad had a cassette of TJT so at some point I must have listened to it all the way through, but I can't remember when that was. I was about 15 or 16 when I bought the CD but that was with the intention of having the full U2 collection as opposed to finally hearing it properly or anything.

I can't go past the first 3 songs. As much as I want to include RTSS or One tree hill, I just keep going back to the classics. Sure they have worn thin a little over the years, but I can't say I have ever grown tired of hearing them. Truly iconic songs. Streets is probably the one song that I love, but I prefer live, so it kind of exists as a placeholder song for how I feel about it when it's played in a live setting. I still wouldn't demote the song because of this though. It doesn't deserve that.

Offline World71R

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2018, 11:32:16 PM »
Streets, Exit, and OTH.

With or Without You, RTSS, and RHMT are close too. It's just such a great album.


Streets is obvious. Exit is one of the biggest growers U2's ever done. The album version is alright, but the live version turns into one of the best on the album and one of U2's best live songs. OTH is incredibly heartfelt and well-constructed. I love it when Bono really gets into it towards the end of the song. That coda is gorgeous as well. It's such a visual song and just great.

Offline Dali

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2018, 11:44:37 AM »
"In God's Country" would be my 4th pick for this poll. It's like the quintessential U2 song.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2018, 12:01:30 PM »
What are your first, second, and third picks?

Offline hollywoodswag

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Re: The Joshua Tree: Retrospective
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2018, 05:58:31 AM »
First off, it's unfair that you make me choose only three  ;). At best, I narrowed it down to four, but I really needed five to properly capture it. I'll withhold specifying the three that I chose as my revenge for being forced into that limitation, haha. I'll recap my top five when we get to that point.

I've generally regarded this album as my favorite, and even if it's on shaky ground in that position, it's still the one where I feel like U2 brought it all together for the first time, and it's still the one I'd probably consider their most consistently amazing. If it weren't for the fact that I Still Haven't Found and With or Without You are just bludgeoned to death over and over on the radio, I don't think I'd even question the supremacy of this album. The lyrics are brilliant and the instrumental sound ia amazing even as it shifts from ambient and anthemic to hard rock to roots and the blues. There is not really a clunker to be found, although I think I sometimes give Red Hill Mining Town and Exit more credit than they probably deserve to justify some of my praise of the album. They aren't bad songs, but they get the good kind of guilty-by-association in that I appreciate them simply because I appreciate all the others.

Listing my top five chronologically, it's Where the Streets Have No Name, Running to Stand Still, In God's Country, Trip Through Your Wires, and One Tree Hill. Streets is the song that puts me in an arena every time I hear it, but I also appreciate its hopeful tone. I feel like the rest of the album eschews the optimism and hopefulness of the song, to the point where I almost wish the song closed out the album instead of opening it, but I realize that the instrumental sound of the song would make that an illogical decision. I know it wasn't necessarily written to describe heaven, but I still feel like it does, and I'd love to hear a praise band rip this bad boy out in church, haha. Better yet, I'm practicing it on guitar and would love to do it myself.  ;D

Running to Stand Still is a song that I find convicting, especially as a Christian. I've really developed a soft spot for people stuck in ruts that can't get out of them (or better yet, stuck in moments they can't get out of, haha), and I have some moments where I get really down because I know I can't help them all. It's inspiring, though, because it reminds me that there's work to be done to help others, and I like reminders that I need to get off my butt and do something about it. I also think of the song as the sequel to Bad, and it's a mighty good one. The stripped-down sound is fitting for the song's mood as well.

In God's Country is an interesting critique of America, and one that I feel has remained valid since the day it was written. There are times where I feel like Bono gets a bit preachy and I feel like his celebrity status puts some distance between him and the problems (or the effects of his proposed solutions) about which he speaks (especially when it comes to a country to which he is not native), but that doesn't necessarily make him wrong. This song seems a bit sarcastic to me in that the title and the status it would afford by definition is one I feel like we as US citizens have assigned our country and yet the lyrics highlight our own hypocrisy, arrogance, and inconsistency. I find the song to be a call to humility for us as a society and as individuals. None of us are better than anyone else, no matter how much we like to think our nationality, faith, or whatever makes us.

Trip Through Your Wires is a song that I think might have helped me out when I was single if I would have paid more attention to it, haha. I love how Bono introduced it live at MSG. It's okay to fall for someone, but not fall over for someone. I think of it as a healthy reminder to keep emotions in check in a relationship and approach your partner for the right reasons. My wife and I haven't founded our marriage on feelings, and I feel like the feelings are actually stronger because of that. This is such an interesting love song because it shows how consuming feelings can be, and not always in a good way. Angel or devil? Bono needs his thirst relieved, and he doesn't seem to mind which of the two the reliever is. This is an absolutely brilliant song that never gets the attention it deserves.

One Tree Hill wraps up my top five, and it's such an interesting mix of touching tribute and scathing accusation. Even though Greg Carroll lost his life in an accident, there's that feeling that someone was taken away who should not have been. I can see it being a bit touchy combining that with commentary on martyrdom, and I can also see it perhaps detracting a bit from a tribute by getting political, but I still think the song works exceptionally well. Had I written the lyrics of the album, I probably would have let Bullet and MOTD handle the political aspects of this song, but One Tree Hill is still a huge favorite of mine. Proof that not everything we like is flawless, I guess, haha.

Oh, and Mothers of the Disappeared would take sixth if I kept going with the rankings. Wow, was that song a highlight of the TJT30 tour.