This is the ninth in a series of Rock & Roll features I'm writing for this site. I'm a rock and roller, so this column is a way for me to feature a different album that I like, from different genres every month.
Some bands have been larger than life since day one... I think U2 is the epitome of the statement. When they came onto the scene in the late 70s and early 80s their unique blend, a kind of post punk rock and roll with plenty of political statements in epic arena rock format, there was no doubt they had the vision for something huge, and indeed they became something huge. After much artistic experimentation, having delved into electronica/dance and coming somewhat full circle back to the more driving rock and roll that made them famous originally, they're still huge, now 30+ years later.
I came to U2 unfortunately through a “Best of” collection, never my favorite way to first experience a band as they rarely give a truly accurate representation of what the band sounds like. When I came back to listen to the band's actual albums a few years later I found, as is typical, some of their best songs were not the hits at all. A good example is the album that really solidified them as one of the biggest bands of all time, an album that will actually have its 20th anniversary sometime in 2007 as well: The Joshua Tree. One of my favorite U2 albums, and not just because it contains my favorite U2 song of all time, “Where the Streets Have No Names”, but also because it contains some of the best songs from the band's career and really works as a complete work. The Joshua Tree is not just one of the seminal U2 albums for me, but one of the seminal rock and roll albums of all time, and that it why I chose it for this month's feature.
A song that as I said, is my personal favorite and was also one of their biggest hits, opens the album. “Where the Streets Have No Name” is a driving rocker with layer upon layer of guitar tracks that sound both huge and spacious at the same time. It is a sound that is pretty unique to this band and the guitar style of U2 guitarist, the Edge, and makes this song sound so epic from the very first notes. Bono's soaring vocals push the song further in typical fashion and really set the tone for the album; anthemic, powerful and emotional.