This “Best Album Of All Times” needed an Index since it will be kept as a separate category. After some thoughts I also rearranged some albums to my final list, so here’s the final list updated with both initial and final positions.
If you click on the link you’ll be redirected to each review.
So the final post in this series – that’s been my most enthusiastic project on this blog – has been written! I’ve spent almost four weeks on this project, with 2-8 hours of music listening, reading lyrics and moving albums up and down every day, but what an amazing journey it has been! I’ve always dreamt of doing this, and now it’s done.
The hardest part was to stay true to the rules. The Best Album, not just an album with 5 good tracks with 3 bad ones; the full album was what counted.
In retrospective I think that Sixx A.M should change place with Toto. Heroin Diaries is an amazing album that no one should miss. Since it’s also a true story, with such a good purpose it may even be higher up. I also placed both Keane and Journey on a shared number 1-place, but I think that Journey is the true number 1. It’s almost silly how perfect that album is. Every single note is so good, on all instruments and the vocals from Steve Perry are truly amazing.
So, do I miss any albums on the list? Yes I think that Simply Red, Magnum, Don Henley, Frank Ocean, Iron Maiden and The Hooters should be somewhere on the list, but I’m not sure where. The lack of full albums without a track that you just want to skip is hard to find with those artists. Maybe Magnum is closest?
Thank you all that have followed this top-list. It’s been a pleasure to hear your thoughts both in person, on the blog and in e-mail.
I leave this series with a great track that actually wasn’t on the list; Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
I hope you all get a good start of your week.
P.S If you want to go back in the series, there is a new menu at the top of this blog where you can find all the posts D.S
This is an album that have followed me ever since it was released back in 1986. The album was supposed to be called Freedom, but the title later changed to Raised On Radio. Some of the line-up were changed from the previous album, Escape, due to some internal disturbances.
Following their two most successful albums, lead singer Steve Perry began to take more control over the band’s direction. First, Ross Valory and Steve Smith were fired from the band, against the wishes of manager Herbie Herbert. The two were replaced by various studio musicians for the recording of Raised on Radio, including Randy Jackson (bass guitar) and Larrie Londin (drums). Smith did record three tracks with Journey on the album, and he and Valory still received revenues from the record and subsequent tour.
If you recognize one name from American Idol, you’re right; Randy Jackson, on bass.
Steve Perry – lead vocals, producer
Neal Schon – guitars, backing vocals, keyboard on track 10, guitar synth
Jonathan Cain – keyboards, backing vocals, additional vocal co-production
Randy Jackson – bass, backing vocals
Larrie Londin – drums, percussion
Bob Glaub – bass on tracks 2, 10 and 11.
Steve Smith – drums on tracks 2, 10 and 11.
Mike Baird – drums on tracks 12 and 13 (2006 CD reissue only)
Dan Hull – saxophone on tracks 2 and 7, harp on track 7
Steve Minkins – percussion on track 3
In 2009 the group had a major hit with the formerly released “Don’t Stop Belivin‘” (from the Escape-album) which became the ever most sold track on iTunes in 2009. Many people argue that Escape is a better album, but I can’t see that. Raised On Radio is as perfect as it get’s.
So, the album? Well what can I say? This is music at it’s very very best, and in my mind there is actually no downsides. Every single track, except the title track, is a five-star track in my mind. Just listen to the guitars, the vocals of Steve Perry which definitely is one of the world’s best vocals, the piano, the rhythm.
All the “time stamps” are based on the time in Spotify which may affect the YouTube-times slightly.
***** Girl Can’t Help It: The piano starts of slowly, and soon the guitar kicks in before we hear the first words from Steve Perry. Relaxed and controlled.. Don’t miss the bass line that’s so solid. The guitar break after 2:57 is so good, and listen to the final seconds.
***** Positive Touch: Bass, and a rhythmic guitar accompanied by a piano that follows the guitar. Listen to the guitar at 1:00, and 1:11 together with the solo at 1:50! The background vocals are also so good all the way through. The saxophone, guitar and vocals that are “answering” each other after 3:02 is another delicacy.
***** Suzanne: A bass and keyboard intro before “I see your face at the movies”. Listen to the bass line, and the articulated “Suzanne”! The solo after 2:00. Full of energy.
***** Be Good To Yourself: The track that you should play before going on vacation, need a break or just some positive words. The track starts of with a keyboard-intro, then a great solid verse before the amazing chorus at 0:40. Don’t miss the guitar in the background, and the backing vocals!
***** Once You Love Somebody: Just listen to that cooperation between guitar, bass, vocals!! Brutal! After 45 seconds the bridge to the chorus. The little delicacy with guitar at 1:28!
***** Happy To Give: This is a singing lesson of Steve Perry. “I was born a believer, played the fool, lonely dreamer left to choose”. Listen to the vocals after approximately 3 minutes together with the keyboard!
**** Raised On Radio: An amazing track, but the least good one in my opinion. Really like the guitar handling, and the “blues-ish” sound.
***** I’ll Be Allright Without You: A little slower track, but oh, this is soo good. The keyboard after 0:38, the guitar intro, the backing vocals “It’s all because of you” “Try not to think of you”. Just listen to it!
***** It Could Have Been You: Almost tired of writing how amazing this album is. There isn’t a single second that’s amazing. In this track. Just listen to the guitar after 1:49, and the break at 2:10! Then “Where are you…. ” BAAM “Now”! Guitar solo with the incredible bass line.
Time washes over, memories
I can’t look back no more
Change has forsaken, our promises
There’s someone else for you to hold again
***** The Eyes Of A Woman: Once again we’re all going into singing class in with our class teacher Steve Perry.
***** Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever. Romantic. Subtle. A song for a wedding? OMG! This is brutal! The atmosphere, the performance from the musicians. One of the most “perfect” songs ever?
Lost in twilight, the memories
Precious moments, you and me
We’ve been old friends, all through the years
Picture postcards, sharing tears
What’s in our hearts, there’s never time, to say
Need you tonight, lover don’t fade away
I’ve seen your city lights
As I walk away
Why can’t this night…go on forever
Some other tracks from other albums:
Open Arms, originally made for “The Babys” and John Waite, but released by Journey
Number 1?! Yes. You haven’t missed number 2. The truth is, I can’t possibly separate this album and the next one. While this is an album that you may need one or two “listenings” to, the last one is one of those that get you struck’d by straight ahead. Both albums are still one of those that you can listen to for decades and still just enjoy the awesome production, the atmosphere, the small subtle changes, the vocals, the bass, the guitar, the drums and so on.
Keane, with Tom Chaplin (on lead vocals, organ, piano, acoustic and electric guitar, Tim Rice-Oxley (on piano, keyboards, synthesisers, electric guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals, Richard Hughes (on drums, percussion, backing vocals and Jesse Quin (on bass guitar, electric guitar, synthesisers, percussion, backing vocals) is playing
Keane achieved mainstream success with the release of their debut album, Hopes and Fears, in 2004. The album won multiple awards, including the Brit Award for Best British Album, and was the second best-selling British album of the year.
Keane are labeled as alternative rock, and I guess its hard to give them a better reference. With its typical piano / bass sound together with some amazing vocals, Keane is Keane. The more often used reference is Coldplay, and there the similarities are more obvious.
This album, Hopes and Fears has been a huge success.
In May 2008, both Hopes and Fears (number 13) and Under the Iron Sea (number 8) were voted by readers of Q magazine as among the best British albums ever, with Keane, The Beatles, Oasis and Radiohead the only artists having two albums in the top 20.
So lets dig into this amazing album
***** Somewhere Only We Know. The first track kicks of with some really characteristic Keane-sounds, and then after 0:24, the verse. This song is amazing. Also, listen for those subtle changes all the way up to 1:10. The bass that sometimes helps the piano, the steady increase in volume, and it accelerates all the way. This is Keane as its best. Working with changes in tempo, strength and feelings.
***** Bend & Break. The same kind of piano-groove as on Somewhere Only We Know kicks of the second track as well, and once again they are slowing things down, to be able to lift the track at 0:50, with a strong amazing chorus.
If only I don’t bend and break
I’ll meet you on the other side
I’ll meet you in the light
If only I don’t suffocate
I’ll meet you in the morning when you wake
***** We Might As Well Be Stranger. A slow, subtle song with a steady rise to the crescendo after 2 minutes. Listen to the always present Keane piano, the variations in the vocals.
***** Everybody’s Changing. Once again, an awesome track. The difference between 1 and 2 may be the more heavy use of synthesizers in the verse. Look for the break at 2:47.
**** Your Eyes Open. A four!? A Simple four on the Best Album Of All Tracks. Well, its still a four, isn’t it? This may be weakest track on this album but still an amazing song. What is it that makes this song less good than the others. Well this is just personal. I have some difficulties with the start of the track. The groove isn’t that good, in my book. But hey, things are repaired once they got thing going and the chorus is great!
***** I’ve used the word subtle a number of times already and when I’m trying to describe one of the best groups in the world when it comes to variations musically the words soon starts to be running out. The track is built around the great vocals of Tom Chaplin and Richard Hughes drums. Beautiful.
***** Can’t Stop Now is a paring of traditional Brit-Pop and the Keanish sound. Just listen at the chorus at 0:53 with the vocals and the piano’s totally awesome harmonies.
**** Sunshine sounds a lot like Harry Nilsson. Have you heard him? The guy that almost was a “Beatle”. If you haven’t heard him. Check him out here. Back to the song. The influences from Beatles are evident. The song is not as characteristic as many others on the album, but still a great track with some awesome harmonies.
****** This Is The Last Time. Another hit from this album, and No I didn’t miss out on the stars. This must be a six! The vocals starts of straight away with the piano, and later bass / drums. After 0:30 it starts to build, before the… aaaaamaaazing chorus. The harmonies, the piano, the drums, the bass. Just listen to it!! Perfect!
***** On A Day Like Today. A relaxed track, with slow changes and heavy use of Tom Chaplin’s voice.
***** Untitled 1. Drums kicks of this album, followed by almost an Abba-Sound on the keyboard (?). Nowadays great tracks are used in the gaming industry. This track could definitely be used as such. Great atmosphere, with strong characteristics.
***** Bedshaped. To put it in a few words. This is so DARN good!
To be honest, its not that easy to write a review around Keanes music. The all small great changes, the subtleness, the arrangements and so on. Its so good, and if every great move in the music would’ve been described it would take years.
When I was in my late teenage years, and I guess until I was 30, there wasn’t so much more music than Hardrock, Heavy Metal and Westcoast. I knew most of the bands, the musicians (which at least in the westcoast-genre many times are the same on many records with different artists).
Toto, has always been a group with amazing musicians. The guy/woman at vocals have changed over the years, but somehow they’ve always maintained a great standard, but they have never been a “band of the critics” (at least in Sweden), and I guess that’s partly due to the lack of “deepness”, but on the other hand, if you like technical stuff like amazing guitar solos, great bass play, amazing percussions/drums, keyboards and so on; Toto surely delivers always.
The line-up for this album:
Joseph Williams – lead vocals (except on “Anna” and “These Chains”)
Steve Lukather – guitars, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Anna” and “These Chains”
David Paich – keyboards, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on “Home of the Brave”
Mike Porcaro – bass
Jeff Porcaro – drums, percussion
and as guest musician:
Steve Porcaro – keyboards, electronics
So, why the album Seventh One? I like almost all songs on all albums, so it wasn’t an easy choice. After my first cut, where I left out the albums that I thought had 1 or 2-star tracks, I had to choose from the albums:
Toto IV (1982)
The Seventh One (1988)
At first I picked Fahrenheit as the best of those four, but after a number of listenings I think The Seventh One must be the final pic. The average for all tracks are the best, in my opinion.
***** Pamela; with that amazing soft beginning, and the sudden “AHHHH” after 20 seconds. “Side by side”.. together with the rhythm section. The keyboard at 1:03, followed by the guitar afterwards. Nice! After 1:30, the chorus. Great, relaxed and the groove in the background just keeps on pushing. Don’t miss the solos after 2:50 with keyboard and guitar. Awesome!
*** You Got Me; in my opinion a great track, but the weakest on the album in my opinion. Highlights: the chorus after 0:50, and the horn section after 1:15 and forward. Really good.
**** Anna; one of two amazing soft ballads on the album. The place on the album is as good as it gets. Romantic, soft and gentle, and some nice strings of hope in the chorus. Beautiful! Listen especially to the guitar solo at 2:40 – 3:00
***** After some romantic feelings, the album once again get’s up to speed with Stop Loving You, and the acceleration is done superbly. A short intro in 20 seconds, then a stop followed by percussion and a verse that’s up to par with the amazing chorus. One of those tracks where at least I know almost every single tone. At 2:50 when they incorporate some Jazz-influences, the track reaches its peak.
***** Mushanga. I’ve tried to find out what the word Mushanga means but haven’t been able to find it. The only two explanations i’ve found:
“Mucu Mushanga, their 27th king, was credited with the invention of fire, and he was the first to make clothing out of bark cloth. Shamba Bolongongo (c. 1600), the 93rd king, who introduced weaving and textile manufacture to his people, was…”
Well, I guess it doesn’t matter that much. After all this is an amazing track with (as so many times before) a great rhythm section, and the Spanish-influenced guitar solo after 3:05 is probably one of the most beautiful one’s by Steve Lukather, then followed by a Keyboard solo followed with a pairing of the two. Awesome!
**** Stay Away starts of with a guitar and drums / cow shells. Highlights, the chorus after 1:12 with a great backing vocals.
**** Straight for the heart. Pushed, upbeat drums, paired with vocals starts this track, followed by a great chorus with some amazing horn sections.
***** Only The Children. Great guitar intro which is connected to the end of the last track of the album. The verse has a gentle pace, while slowly accelerates to the great chorus, after the equally amazing break at 0:50. After 2:50 there is a long break followed by the always great guitar solos of Steve Lukather.
***** A Thousand Years. The albums second ballad, once again well placed on the album. Not as romantic as “Anna”, but a nice gentle track with some amazing performances by the musicians. Once again, Beautiful!!
**** These Chains is a slow, almost jazzy track. I really like the vocals at “What should direction should I go”. One of the places where I always here my self sing along (and no that will not improve the song at all 😉 ).
***** Home Of The Brave. 6:48 of total pleasure. My favorite track on the album, and an awesome track live where they are using the guitar section after 3:10 / 5:34 to alter the sound between right and left in the concerts. Some flavors of Peter Gabriel in that section? And the crescendo on the album after about 3:50, the break! Totally awesome. I know that this may be more enjoyable for those that really enjoys the technical parts, but this is so good!
This is not an album, this is not poetry, this is not a story. This is all of them combined together in an amazing soundtrack, written as the music to the book with the same name, The Heroin Diaries. An album that describes the life as a Heroin addict.
All the tracks on the album represents one month of Nikki Sixx life in the period from December 1986 to December 1987, which truly shows in the lyrics, and was written after Nikki Sixx had done in total six drug overdoses.
Sixx A.M; as Sixx from Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba (currently Gun’s and Roses) and James Michael has put together an epic album with Heroine Diaries. An album that may grow in popularity over the years, and an album that I think is absolutely one of the best albums ever. If the album would’ve been released back in the days when records were solely sold as complete albums, this would’ve been one of the really big ones!
The Music could be described as Musical-inspired Hard Rock.
It’s one of those albums that’s hard to listen to, just track by track. Instead it’s a complete history with all parts of a hard, struggling life well described; happiness, sadness, hope, failing, anxiety…
If the schools should use music as drug awareness, this album would be the best pick.
In my opinion Nikki Sixx is amazing at writing lyrics, and before we’re digging in to the lyrics of Heroin Diaries, I must share these rows from the track “Oh My God”, on the following album “This is Gonna Hurt”
And we sit in our highrise apartments and complain about things that don’t matter,
And we race through this life just to see who can die with as much as we can gather,
And a few blocks away a teenage mother plays Russian Roulette with her daughter,
Is this the best that we can do, is this the best that we can do.
Back to Heroin Diaries:
To fully understand the lyrics, it might be good to know some “drug slang”
blue – Crack Cocaine; depressants; OxyContin
ex – ecstasy
golden eye / Persian – Heroin
My own thoughts about the album, combined with small parts of the lyrics
As I previously wrote, all the tracks on the album represents one month of Nikki Sixx life in the period from December 1986 to December 1987, which also is described on the first track, X-Mas In Hell:
December 25th, 1986 – Van Nuys.
That’s what people say at Christmas, right?
Except normally they have someone to say it to.
They have friends and family,
And they haven’t been crouched naked under a Christmas tree
with a needle in their arm like an insane person in a mansion in Van Nuys.
They’re not out of their minds, they’re not writing in a diary,
And they’re definitely not watching their holiday spirit coagulate in a spoon.
I didn’t speak to a single person today.
I figured why should I ruin their fucking Christmas.
I’ve started a new diary and this time I have a few new reasons.
One, I have no friends left.
Two, so I can read back and remember what I did the day before.
And three, so if I die, at least I leave a nice little suicide note of my life.
If you’re wondering about Van Nuys when you listen to this track, it’s a popular place in California where many celebrities have lived/lives. Link
Van Nuys is also the title of the next track. In this track there seems to be a fragment of fighting spirit starting to grow. Even though it’s still very melancholic.
I don’t want to die out here in the valley
You don’t have to lie, I know that’s what I’ll do
I don’t want my mom to know
That I never loved my life and I sold my soul
Third track, Life Is Beautiful the anxiety over dying and the reflection of life’s beauty is starting to grow, and I guess due to an eye-opener while visiting someone else’s funeral (I will check this while reading the book which I think is a must to fully understand it all and to be able to question comments on the internet). The music on this track is a little more on the hard side Listen especially to the guitars and arrangements.
just open your eyes, just open your eyes
And you see that life is beautiful
Will you swear on your life
That no one will cry at my funeral?
Pray for me; the searching for help have started. The anxiety is evident.
Cross your heart and hope
That I won’t die before the best day of my life
Just pray for me tonight
Tomorrow. A sign that the hope has started to grow. The thoughts are more around future plans, a commitment to choose life, and accept what’s been said and done. First track where Nikki Sixx is starting to use words about the future.
Tomorrow we’re gonna have to live with the thing you say
Tomorrow we’ll have to cross bridges that you burn today
Tomorrow everything you do is coming back for you
You’ll never outrun what waits for you tomorrow
The track “Accidents can happen” is a beautiful track about when you slip, and about accepting that we all do make mistakes, and it’s fine that we make them. One of the tracks on this album that works really well by it’s own.
And you know that accidents can happen
And it’s okay, we all fall off the wagon sometimes
It’s not your whole life, it’s only one day
You haven’t thrown everything away
Intermission; the pause
When I first placed my hands
On these diaries, scraps of paper
There were notes and scribbles
And all kinds of shit
A lot of feelings came bubbling up
But mostly this one
‘How the hell am I still alive?’
Dead Man’s ballet is true death anxiety and the question why God have deserted him
Oh God, how could you have let this
Happened to such a lovely young child?
I was their only son and I tried, tried, tried
Heart failure; a track about what it’s like to take drugs, and be a drug addict. For those of you that have followed this series of posts, Mötley Crüe was at place 14. In that post I wrote “Nikki Six was in an academic way dead for two minutes before found by Slash in his hotel room 1987, and the injected with adrenalin in the heart and survived. This was actually the background for the track “Kickstart my heart” on the Dr Feelgood album.”
If I could have a guess, and it isn’t far-fetched, I guess that this song is from that time.
Like I was saying
To look into the eyes of death was intoxicating
Taking it into our lungs, laughing at ourselves
Where a loser’ll probably cry
And more importantly, had probably just died
Since all the tracks reflects one month of his live 1986/1987, the lyrics Heart Failure, Girl With Golden Eyes, Courtesy Call and Permission are closely linked together.
While Heart failure is describing the consequences, Girl with golden eyes is about being in love with Heroin, and how he struggles to get rid of “her”. True signs of hope are starting to show, and the music composition is absolutely beautiful! For those that don’t know what this album is all about this track may pass by as any other love song. Courtesy call is about preparing for the next step, being without drugs…
This is just a courtesy call
This is just a matter of policy
This is just an act of kindness
To let you know that your time is up, up
Permission: He has reached the goal. He’s free, and has to start taking care of what have been, and live a new life, fight against being caught again and just focus.
The album ends with the track “Life After Death”.
So here we are at the end,
And at the same time we’re at the beginning
Of this misadventure.
Why I had to go down a dead end street
At two hundred miles an hour
Screaming for vengeance and embracing death,
That’s still something I’m trying to figure out.
You know a part of me thinks this is some big master plan
To expose the raw nerve endings of dysfunction so I can heal.
But you know addicts, we think everything’s about us, don’t we?
Man it got so convoluted, polluted, and distorted
I ran with the only information I was given
I turned it into my armour, my defence mechanism,
And my weapon of self destruction.
Yeah, I had a fucked up childhood. And I was a troubled teen.
Those are facts.
How I got there? That’s a story told by many voices.
It’s not my job to blame anybody anymore,
I just need to accept the path I was given.
This is, without a doubt,
My life after death.
When I first started making this list. This was one of the albums I really looked forward to penetrate. To have time to really dig into it, and understand it.
I hope you like it as much as I do, and after all. This is not an album, this is not poetry, this is not a story. This is all of them combined together in an amazing soundtrack
Whenever I discuss music with friends and acquaintances about Best Album Ever, this comes up as one of those that should be on the list. With no big dips, and an album that shifts in tempo but still keeps it together as an album. Awesome.
The sound is on the more modern hard-rock style like Tool and Alice in Chains, but I think there’s also some similarities with Green Day, and even though I’m not a big fan of Green Day, I really like their sound. Easy Accessible Modern Hard Rock. This is not an album that will keep you occupied in analyzing the lyrics, and try to think about every single word, or note for that matter. But it’s really good in it’s simplicity and youthfulness.
So why the name Hoobastank and how did they end up together? I found this print-out from an interview where this was discussed:
Purcell: Let me start off with the obvious question, where did the name “Hoobastank” originate?
Lappalainen: Hoobastank was an inside joke between us and now we think there’s no real meaning of it. It’s like Jamiroqui. What is Jamiroqui? What does Jamiroqui mean? We have different interpretations of it. One definition is an ice-skating term for when you try to do a triple axle and fall on your butt. That’s Hoobastank. I heard a couple of kids on ESPN say that it’s two monkeys having sex. It’s up to your own interpretation.
Purcell: Why was the spelling of Hoobastank changed? I noticed it used to be HoobUstank and now it’s HoobAstank. What’s the deal with that?
Lappalainen: The whole thing with the “u” to the “a” was we just kept getting “Hoo-Boo-Stank” and there were totally different spellings of our name. It made it a whole lot easier with HoobAstank.
Purcell: That’s pretty interesting. Where’d you guys meet?
Lappalainen: Dan and I we met in ’92 and we used to be in a band called Idiosyncratic. Then Dan and I went our separate ways. When I left, Dan and Doug got together and started writing music. Then one day I saw Dan’s number in the paper and I called up and said “Hey Dan, what’s going on?” He was like “Ah nothing,” so they both came over to my house. Dan and Doug showed me some of their stuff. I thought “wow this is actually kind of cool.” I showed them my stuff and Dan and I just started clicking again. We found Chris a couple months later in a recycler (a newspaper for musicians). Three months later, Hoobastank was formed.
Ok, so we’re getting close to the absolute top! On 6:th place I’ve put an album that, at the time when it hit the market, sounded like nothing else! This was the time when the grunge had hit the market massively, and the audience weren’t looking for a new amazing pop act.
Influences from Beatles, Queen, pop, folk lore… the list goes on, but still a pop-album. This is an album that sounds like anything else.
So, who are Jellyfish? The band members:
Andy Sturmer – Drums / Vocals / Guitar / Keyboards
Roger Manning Jr – Harpsichord / Keyboards / Piano / Vocals / Backing Vocals
Jason Falkner – Bass / Guitar / Vocals
Even though the band has received some amazing reviews from the critics over the years, they’ve never been a big hit in the wider streams or commercially. But my feeling is that the few that have discovered the album, are all true fans. Even the later Split Milk, which sounds like a true continuation of Bellybutton is a must-hear.
What I really like with every album that’s left on this list, is that they are well kept together. Every song has it’s place, and everything is well collected. This also goes for this amazing album, Bellybutton by Jellyfish.
So, if you haven’t heard them yet (which the most people haven’t) you should check them out, straight away.
Joshua Tree (album of the year 1987) was the first album where I really discovered this supergroup, U2. Many U2-hardcorefans holds their third album – War – higher than this, the fifth – Joshua Tree, but I count this as the best. U2, formed in 1976 was named after a word game with “You Too” as well as the name of a U.S spy aircraft. The name was first not liked by Bono, but slowly accepted.
Musically U2 has its roots in post-punk, but later incorporated more popular music and with this album many other influences (more about that later).
For me U2 is all about a clean crisp sound, but most of all, a clean crisp sound that’s absolute unique. With “The Edge” (David Evans) on guitar, Adam Clayton on his solid base, Larry Mullens drive on the drums, and of course Bono’s (Paul Hewson) voice. Things can’t be much better, and more unique.
During this “Best Album Of All Times”-trip I’ve read quite a lot about the artists, and each album. What I found fascinating with this particular album was that U2, before this album described themselves as root less. Roots that they searched before making this album.
Realising that “U2 had no tradition” and that their knowledge of music from before their childhood was limited, the group delved into American and Irish roots music. Friendships with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Keith Richards motivated the band to explore blues, folk, and gospel music and focused Bono on his skills as a songwriter and lyricist. U2 interrupted the album sessions in mid-1986 to serve as a headline act on Amnesty International’s A Conspiracy of Hope tour. Rather than being a distraction, the tour added extra intensity and focus to their new material. Later that year, Bono travelled to San Salvador and Nicaragua and saw first-hand the distress of peasants bullied in internal conflicts that were subject to US political intervention. The experience became a central influence on the new music.
The search for roots is also described in this interview with The Edge, and the live recordings with the Gospel Choir; for the song With Or Without You (watch video down below)
After releasing the “Joshua Tree” album U2 quickly got two number one singles in U.S: “With Or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For”. Two epic songs at the time, and still is. The tour after the album Joshua Tree was portrayed in the movie “Rattle and Hum”.
What I truly enjoy with U2 (and many of the best bands) is their strive for perfection, and at the same time passion and honesty for what their music/work is about. I’ve always believed that there are no shortcuts for success. It’s all about hard work, and I think that U2 truly reflects that opinion. I hope you like this album as much as I do.
Rare clip with U2 and Bruce Springsteen – Still Haven’t Found What I Was Looking For