Sound — 10
The music on this album is incredible. It's not anything flashy or out there, but its got great harmony and it flows really well. I can listen to it over and over again and never get sick of it. The first three tracks are incredible. This album is worth buying.
Lyrics — 10
The Joshua Tree represented the pinnacle of the sweeping, all encompassing anthemic rock that U2 first created in The Unforgettable Fire and War. The Joshua Tree seems to be set in the aftermath of War, depicting the pain, the confusion and a controlled but passionate sense of anger. The atmosphere is dark, mournful and yet U2 has never painted a clearer picture, with Bono's intensely personal lyrics and powerful vocals and The Edge's frantic guitar strumming, set to the background of Clayton and Mullens' superb bass and percussion sonic textures. The album, while never hailed as a 'concept album' in the true sense, unlike earlier classics such as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band and The Wall, undoubtedly has a very focussed feel to it. The lyrics are filled with references to America, and more than a few hints of country and blues are noticeable. The album was released in 1987 when the Cold War was at its ebb, and the tensions of forty years of living dangerously were beginning to fade. Bono seems to be reminding people just what might have happened. The songs seem to be about finding sense and hope, amidst all the chaos and destruction. A sense of confusion about the future. The Epic opening anthem 'Where The Streets Have No Name', with a characteristically furious guitar intro by The Edge and the percussion and bass laden 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' plant the first seeds of doubt with their surging choruses, setting the mood for the rest of the album. 'With Or Without You' remains one of the eternal classics of this album, along with the opening two numbers. A painfully honest and emotional ballad, it remains one of Bono's most personal songs, that was only eclipsed four years later by 'One' on the album Achtung Baby. The lyrics, an essentially strong melody and Bono's vocal exertions make this probably the best song in a uniformly excellent album. But most people tend to stop there, and ignore the rest of an excellent album. Only the heavy, clumsy 'Bullet the Blue Sky' tends to fall flat, failing to evoke much emotion with disjointed words and Bono singing in a staccato, unnatural style. The album also contains such gems as 'Running To Stand Still', a strained comment on heroin addiction, a mournful 'Exit', an ironic 'Trip Through Your Wires', 'Red Hill Mining Town' and the hypnotic 'Mothers Of The Disappeared'. That The Joshua Tree is a very dark album is evident. But U2 has never been more focussed, more intense or personal, and The Joshua Tree is the coming together of all their experimentation on previous albums in one that pleases throughout, one that is uncompromising and thought provoking. It does not preach, it only questions. U2 have always used rock music as a form of socio-political commentary, a feature that was later also emulated by their fellow Irishmen (and woman), the Cranberries, and this album defines the term 'rock with a conscience'.
Overall Impression — 10
Despite my eclectic taste in music, anything from country to classical to rock, there is one group in my opionion that stands if not at the top, pushing to be there. U2 has been making incredible music for so long. while most bands in today's music world, with the exception of the Stones and Aerosmith, fade away or break up, U2 just keeps getting better. as a young teen I first heard this album and was blown away. I'd never heard of u2 before, but within days I owned everything they'd done to date. Joshua Tree has perhaps 3 of the greatest songs ever written and if you add in One from Actung Baby, 4 of the greatest songs ever written. even if you're not a die hard fan like me, any music lover has to be able to see the incredible musical gift this band has. from Bono's vocal range and songwriting, to the guitars of the Edge, this is as complete a band as there is. I've worn out quite a few tapes and cds of Joshua Tree listening to it over and over again, how many other albums can you say that about. this is an album that has and will always be among the best ever. With out a doubt, this is one of the best albums ever. It's right up there with another U2 album, Achtung Baby, and The Beatles The White Album. I said on my review of The Unforgettable Fire that War put U2 in the spotlight and The Unforgettable Fire put them on top. Well there's three albums that I think U2 will always be known for. The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and All That You Can't Leave Behind. This is the album that put them over the top and solidified them as superstars. Anybody who doesn't like this album, doesn't know music. This has 3 of the greates songs of all time and several other songs such as 'Running To Stand Still', 'Red Hill Mining Town', and 'One Tree Hill' that could have counted as N0. 1 hits. The only complaint is 'Bullet the Blue Sky' which is lacking in the emotion department. Other tahn that this is one of the greatest albums of all time with three of the greatest songs of all time, 'Where the Streets Have No Name', 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For', and 'With Or Without You'. Even if you are not a die hard U2 fan like me, this is still a must have for all music lovers.