The 25 million selling, Grammy winning, Library of Congress inducted, mega-star generating album The Joshua Tree by the band U2 is one of my all-time favorite albums. I’ve included it in every “Desert Island Disc” conversation I’ve had since 1987, when I bought the CD.
The Joshua Tree was a mature departure from the band’s fierce post-punk trio of Boy, October and War and was more conventional sounding than The Unforgettable Fire. Bono’s vocals took on new range and passion, The Edge’s guitar playing became more economical and the rhythm section gained a presence and depth that seemed to spread out and fill their desert inspiration.
This album was transformational for me. I began the process by falling for the hit songs, was drawn in by raw honesty of the more personal songs and ended up contemplating the lyrics and meaning of the more politically and socially relevant.
This was the first time I can remember questioning the veracity of my government’s actions, of perceiving the existence two Americas. It took a band from Ireland to do that and I’m grateful.