Once Upon a Time
There was a time when U2 was not a band too bloated for their own faces with egos the size of the moon.
I know I forget it all the time. Then I take a walk, put on the earbuds and listen to the War record. Wow. 30 years later-Wow and wow. It transports me to 1983 and I get to be 12 years old for a terribly awful (but somehow missed) moment. I am in my upstairs bedroom, playing the records over and over, sharing them with my girlfriend (who totally got it, she was and still is pretty awesome), friends and anyone who would listen.
Listening to that record, I am reminded why I fell for this band in the first place. I had little political knowledge (especially about Ireland) at that time, so the message was often lost, but I did love the sound. It was completely unique (to my young, inexperienced ears), and though I didn’t always understand the songs, I felt the passion in them.
It was an easy choice, buy whatever records they put out. First I had two earlier records to purchase, then there were singles and live releases. I never had much money in the 80’s so any spending was a big deal. I always found funds for any release from Big Country and U2
Their sound gradually changed, but I hardly noticed. By the time Joshua Tree was released, they were fully bombastic and overblown, but I didn’t see it. To me, they were U2 and it was about damn time everyone else jumped on board.
I paid to watch Rattle and Hum 5 times. When the video came out, I wore out the tape. They weren’t my favorite band, but they were important and I knew that.
As they purposefully blew apart what they had become, releasing insane album after insane album, I lost interest. Achtung Baby was the end for me. I couldn’t see what they were doing, didn’t get it at all (still don’t like those records) and I vowed never to buy either Zooropa or Pop (haven’t). Their return to ‘rock’ music was welcome but things were different. I have not had the experience of anticipating a new release and being blown away by it for close to 25 years. No band should be stagnant, but I really miss the raw energy of the early releases. They aren’t the same band, and none of us are the same people, but something crucial has been lost. I actually hope they have called it a career.
But there will always be the 80’s and the records that impacted my musical development. As always, here is a list of clever songs I still like. I hope they also remind you what a fantastic and spectacular band U2 once was.
October-Haunting. If I ever learn to play the piano, I want to play this song, simple as it may be.
Gloria-2, 3, 4…
I Will Follow-I was looking at myself, I was blind, I could not see.
Like A Song-And we love to wear a badge, a uniform. And we love to fly a flag, but I wont…
40-‘Sing this song with me, this is 40.” Still one of my favorite live records.
The Unforgettable Fire-This one always reminds of a certain summer evening hanging out with a close friend in her backyard.
Bad-This version off the Wide Awake in America ep is the best version. Best I say.
Exit-My favorite track off The Joshua Tree.