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Joshua Tree

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Auteur: U2
Kunstenaar: U2
Regisseur: The Edge
Platenlabel: Island

Recensie

Using the textured sonics of The Unforgettable Fire as a basis, U2 expanded those innovations by scaling back the songs to a personal setting and adding a grittier attack for its follow-up, The Joshua Tree. It's a move that returns them to the sweeping, anthemic rock of War, but if War was an exploding political bomb, The Joshua Tree is a journey through its aftermath, trying to find sense and hope in the desperation. That means that even the anthems -- the epic opener "Where the Streets Have No Name," the yearning "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" -- have seeds of doubt within their soaring choruses, and those fears take root throughout the album, whether it's in the mournful sliding acoustic guitars of "Running to Stand Still," the surging "One Tree Hill," or the hypnotic elegy "Mothers of the Disappeared." So it might seem a little ironic that U2 became superstars on the back of such a dark record, but their focus has never been clearer, nor has their music been catchier, than on The Joshua Tree. Unexpectedly, U2 have also tempered their textural post-punk with American influences. Not only are Bono's lyrics obsessed with America, but country and blues influences are heard throughout the record, and instead of using these as roots, they're used as ways to add texture to the music. With the uniformly excellent songs -- only the clumsy, heavy rock and portentous lyrics of "Bullet the Blue Sky" fall flat -- the result is a powerful, uncompromising record that became a hit due to its vision and its melody. Never before have U2's big messages sounded so direct and personal. [The 20th Anniversary reissue of The Joshua Tree cleared the vaults of the B-sides, outtakes and stray songs U2 released in the wake of the album's 1987 release, so the 30th Anniversary doesn't pack the same kind of revelation as its predecessor. The big addition is the entirety of a concert the band gave at Madison Square Garden in 1987, one where they played almost all of the record. That's the bonus material on the simple two-disc deluxe edition, while the hefty Super Deluxe Edition retains almost all the extras from the 20th Anniversary (a single edit of "Where The Streets Have No Name" is absent but not missed), while adding an alternate mix of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" from 1987 and a host of brand new remixes from Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, Steve Lillywhite, St Francis Hotel, Flood and Jacknife Lee. For completists, the hardcover book is more enticing than this handful of new tracks and for those who are less dedicated—or have a tighter wallet—picking up the basic Deluxe for the fine live show might not be a bad idea.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine