War Review

artist: U2 date: 06/26/2008 category: compact discs
U2: War
Release Date: Feb 28, 1983
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Post-Punk
Label: Island
Number Of Tracks: 10
U2 always aimed at greatness, but "War" was the first time they achieved it.
 Sound: 8.7
 Lyrics: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
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reviews (3) 14 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
War Reviewed by: belavista man, on april 26, 2006
3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound quality is everything you can expect from a 1980s recording. This album was recorded in 1983, which explains the poor sound quality, obviously not the fault of the band's. There are some really memorable riffs on here, listen to Sunday Bloody Sunday, you'll know what I mean. // 8

Lyrics: As Bono himself states in one of his interveiws, the lyrics are unfinished and, to me at points, sound a little untidy (Better words or lyrics could have been thought up in place of some of the ones that had been written), But this doesnt mean that the lyrics don't do well. It's allways a nice thing to listen to the lyrics of a song, and U2's lyrics allways have meaning. // 8

Overall Impression: It's there debut album, and with some of the songs, you can tell, but none-the-less, this is a great album. There is a bunch of fantastic U2 numbers on this album including 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', 'New Years Day' and '40', all of which they still perform today (read my reveiw on U2 Live In Chicago). This album has set the standard for the band to beat over the years, and they've been beating it ever since. Though it is good to listen to new material, it would be better to listen to the classics aswell, for without them, U2 wouldn't have done as well as they have. // 9

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overall: 9.3
War Reviewed by: _bacon_, on june 26, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is U2's third album, and the one that really put these four guys from Dublin, Ireland in the limelight. The band stuck to the same anthemish rock sound as the previous two albums (Boy and October), but with more energy, more emotion, and more polish. I'll take a look at each song one by one.

01. Sunday Bloody Sunday - One of the two big hits off the album, and a great opener. Some nice military sounding drumming by Larry Mullen, Jr. Kicks off the song and keeps it going through the whole thing. The Edge lays down a great guitar riff, one of the best on the album. Great vocals too.

02. Seconds - ok song. Very beat driven, with a nice bass line and good, but a little dodgy vocals, but repetitive and a little boring. Interesting Lyrics and a random sound bite from a movie in the middle.

03. New Years Day - the other hit. Great intro on piano leads into a somewhat mysterious sound for the verse. The guitar work showcases the Edge's style. He plays simple and percussive parts and creates a very atmospheric sound. He takes a solo, but not to show off. Good vocals again.

04. Like A Song... - a more rocking song with really great drumming, even a drum solo of sorts at the end. There are some nice riffs in here. Not a very well known song, but it deserves to be.

05. Drowning Man - a slow, acoustic guitar and vocal driven track. Pretty boring and repetetive. But a pretty impressive vocal performance by Bono.

06. The Refugee - cool, ethnic sounding drumming and guitar. The vocals are a bit of a letdown during the verses, but I still enjoy this song. Gets the tempo back up after Drowning Man.

07. Two Hearts Beat As One - great intro, Adam Clayton's best bass line on the album. Another really nice vocal delivery by Bono, but I really dislike the harmony vocals in the chorus. This is one of the most rocking, uptempo songs on the album, and definitely worth checking out.

08. Red Light - ok song. This has some nice riffs, great singing, backing vocals from some girls, and a trumpet solo. Yeah, that deserves all caps because it's great and totally unexpected. Otherwise unremarkable, however.

09. Surrender - more of the same midtempo guitar-driven stuff as Red Light, but no trumpet. I usually skip over this one.

10. 40 - the end of the album. A nice, slow track with beautiful vocals. The perfect "ending" kind of feel, used to end concerts during this era of the band. // 9

Lyrics: Bono is an incredible singer. He's got a huge range (listen to Drowning Man), can sing the rockin songs and the ballads equally well, and really brings the emotions across. I personally think his vocals sound the best during this period of the band's existence, from the beginning up until The Joshua Tree. Bono's lyrics are a famous part of the band for being very political and/or religious. He always delivers his message well. The lyrics can be topical, like in Sunday Bloody Sunday (about a terrorist attack in Ireland) or The Refugee (about immigration), or they can be personal like Drowning Man, or tell a story, like Surrender. Sometimes they can be a little goofy, like in seconds, but overall, Bono's singing and lyrics are near perfect on this album. // 9

Overall Impression: "War" remains one of my favorite U2 albums, and it was the one the one that got me into the band. Definitely recommended for anyone who's looking to get into U2, and rock/alt-rock fans in general. If my copy were lost/stolen, I would Hulk out and smash several major cities in the Tri-State Area in my search for a new copy. iTunes cheapskates should buy Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year's Day, Like a Song..., The Refugee, Two Hearts Beat as One, and 40. // 10

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overall: 9
War Reviewed by: davidschlotterb, on april 29, 2016
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Sounds like it's filled with tons and tons of emotion. Bono gets into some very higher vocal melodies with songs like "Drowning Man" and "Surrender." There's not much "distortion" so to speak, but it's not "clean." Some good overdriven guitar work coming from a 1976 Strat and a 1964 Vox AC30. Love the sound. It's classic U2.

1. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" - Classic though often though of as their best song or just some hit.

2. "Seconds" - Interesting song. Love the beat, very well composed, though it sounded better live.

3. "New Year's Day" - Good song, studio version is kind of long. Again just "some hit." Good guitar work however.

4. "Like a Song" - This is where the album starts to pick up. This song has amazing guitar work and it's super catchy. Love it. Just an amazing song.

5. "Drowning Man" - One of the band's weirdest songs but it's an amazing song and it's composed amazingly. It sounds very dark but it's about love. Love the guitar work and the violin solo at the end!! It also proves that you can get away without drums in your song. Shame they've never performed this song live, though there's a video of them performing this song during a soundcheck in Barcelona in 2009.

6. "The Refugee" - AWESOME SONG!!! It's like rebellion and funk meet. Like "Drowning Man," the bassline remains constant the entire song. It's so cool. Very interesting percussion in the song and the slide guitar parts just make me smile. It's a super cool song that also has never been performed live.

7. "Two Hearts Beat as One" - Decent song. Good bassline. Sounded better at "Red Rocks."

8. "Red Light" - Another unplayed live beast. I love how much power is in it and the trumpet work in it. The bass playing is also great. Good some good guitar hooks in the choruses.

9. "Surrender" - This one sounded great both in the studio and live. It's a weird song and features and actual slide guitar in it and has a great chant towards the middle/end. Like the drums in it as well.

10. "40" - Decent song. Kind of boring honestly. The "Red Rocks" version is great though. The studio version is just boring. // 9

Lyrics: Bono's voice was very very strong on this album. His voiced changed so much. I couldn't picture them playing some of the songs off this album live these days, but back in 1983-1985, I sure could have. Onto the theme(s) though. Songs like "Two Hearts Beat as One" and "Drowning Man" are about love. Though "Drowning Man" is also a bible-based song. "Red Light" is apparently about prostitution. Songs like "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "The Refugee" and "Surrender" are about war. "Like a Song" is about rebellion and "40" is another bible-based song. War seemed to be the main center though, as all the themes could tie into one amazing collection of songs, which is something U2 NEVER fails at doing. Ever. // 9

Overall Impression: Great album. The tour is just good but would be better if they'd performed some of the songs live. "Like a Song" was only played live once but I would've loved to have heard "Drowning Man" and "The Refugee" live. There's some very high points and then some medium points. The only lows for me are "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "40." I just don't like them all that much. But as a whole, the album kicks major ass and is my second favorite after "Pop." I'm honestly tied between whether my favorite song is "The Refugee" and "Drowning Man." They're both works of art and polar opposites of each other. Just like my opinion on "Do You Feel Loved" and "The Playboy Mansion," opposites but both respectable works of auditory art. // 9

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