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.
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