The initial shot from the band that won the world's heart with an impassioned delivery and precocious songs. The European edition cover art is different than the US edition and features a boy who also appeared on the cover of the "War" album and it's accompanying singles.
There's little in Boy
, U2's 1980 debut, to suggest that this was a band bent on world domination. Indeed, there's a charming, if naive, coming-of-age urgency in songs such as "I Will Follow", "Stories for Boys" and "Out of Control" that may startle listeners more familiar with U2's latter-day bombast and stadium-scale theatrics. Bono's viewpoint, still tantalisingly vague and wide-eyed, showed that his penchant for strident polemics hadn't yet gotten the best of him; his anthems are those of a yearning Dubliner barely out of his teens rather than those of a world-weary multimillionaire. The band's sometimes-ragged musical chops work in its favour here, gently burnished to then-fresh new-wave sheen by producer Steve Lillywhite. If the Edge's dense, effects-laden guitar work seems overly familiar, it's only because this album was such a key influence on the whole "rock of the 80s" sound. Though not quite as moody or musically accomplished as October
, arguably the band's first masterpiece, Boy
still ranks as one of U2's best albums. --Jerry McCulley