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Music Review: U2 – Joshua Tree (Remastered/Expanded) (Deluxe Edition)

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Written by General Jabbo

It's been 20 years since U2 released their landmark album, The Joshua Tree. The album that made them go from big to huge from arenas to stadiums. The album that put them in the same rarefied air as the Beatles or the Stones. The album that put them on the cover of Time magazine and garnered the band their first Grammy awards. The album that was number 26 in Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time list. To commemorate the anniversary of this historic album, Island is re-releasing it in an expanded two-CD edition. A version exists with a bonus DVD live in Paris, 1987 as well.

After touring extensively in the United States for their previous albums, U2 set out to record an album that represented what they saw of America at the time. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is the band's response to the materialism of the period, while "Bullet the Blue Sky" is about the American military effort to overthrow the leftist government in El Salvador and remains appropriate in the current political climate.

Not all the songs were about America, however. The song "Running to Stand Still" details the heroin epidemic in Dublin in U2's native Ireland. The album also contains some of the band's best-loved singles, including "Where the Streets Have No Name," "In God's Country" and "With or Without You."

The second disc contains a number of B-sides to the album's many singles, compilation songs such as "Silver and Gold (Sun City)" from the Sun City – Artists United Against Apartheid album and some unreleased songs from The Joshua Tree sessions. Here we find songs that either didn't have time to be finished (the band had a glut of material during this period) or which ended up becoming one of the songs on the finished album. One such example is "Desert of Our Love," which formed the basis of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." These unreleased tracks provide a fascinating insight into the songwriting process for the band.

The CD comes in a slipcase, with liner notes by Bill Flanagan and The Edge and features a number of photos, as well as lyrics to the songs.

It's easy to look at U2 now as one of the biggest bands in the world, if not the biggest. However, Joshua Tree is the album that put them in that position. One cannot underestimate how huge the album was upon its release and, like many classic albums before it, the impact it continues to have to this day. This reissue is a worthy document of perhaps U2's finest hour.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at
  • JC Mosquito

    Everything you said about The Joshua Tree is true – and I still don’t like it. I think, to paraphrase you, it’s when they went from big to huge – but as well, from rock stars to mega stars, or pop stars, or something. Had they stayed strictly in the rock field, they likely would have gotten no bigger than the level of Pearl Jam. For me, War was their album that really said something about the band and it’s self-concept – U. Fire & J. Tree were about shaping that self concept into something marketable. Which is OK too – gotta sell those l’il ol’ vinyl platters, you know.

  • Captain Irk

    U2 are bigger than The Beatles. Its great when bands do the retrospective dealy, it gives them more studio time for the next album.