Having nearly exhausted their capacity for pop-song politics on War and The Unforgettable Fire, U2 turned toward themes of personal identity and complex relationships on The Joshua Tree. Not that the group was willing to come down off the barricades entirely: "Mothers of the Disappeared" and "Bullet the Blue Sky" turned a jaundiced eye toward Central America and the United States's role there. But the predominant mood here is one of self-discovery and the hunger for something more on tracks like the pulsating "Where the Streets Have No Name" and the gospel-ish "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". The album's masterstroke, however, is "With or Without You", a nasty love song dressed up as an ode of devotion and care. It ranks with the Police's "Every Breath You Take" as the most misread smash hit of the 1980s. --Daniel Durchholz
2007 digitally remastered edition coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the release of The Joshua Tree, the album which saw U2 become `Rock's Hottest Ticket.' U2's biggest selling album to date, entered the US album charts at #7 and reached #1 three weeks later. It was U2's first album to reach #1 in the United States. In 1999, The Joshua Tree was awarded the RIAA's highest certification, Diamond, with 10 million units sold. The album and sleeve cover also placed #1 in Rolling Stone magazine's annual Music Awards chosen by readers. Critics at Rolling Stone made it #2 album of the year. U2 also won Album Of The Year and Best Rock Performance By A Group Or Duo at the Grammy Awards for The Joshua Tree.