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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic
"The Joshua Tree was the album U2 HAD to make, the only one they COULD make"
Those are the words of Eamon Dunphy, author of "Unforgettable Fire - The Definitive Biography of U2", on U2's process of making a new record in 1986 and early 1987. That might sound like an over-dramatization for a rock record, but once you've heard the record, that...
Published on June 22 2004

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't understand the hype
Would someone please care to explain to me what is just so great about this album, because I for one don't really see it and think this has got to be one of if not the most overrated album of all time. Now in all honesty I do absolutely love Where the Streets Have No Name and I found out some other amazing gems on here as well, but overall I was disappointed in it. I have...
Published on Sept. 23 2002 by Michael-Joseph Truxton Hovey


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic, June 22 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
"The Joshua Tree was the album U2 HAD to make, the only one they COULD make"
Those are the words of Eamon Dunphy, author of "Unforgettable Fire - The Definitive Biography of U2", on U2's process of making a new record in 1986 and early 1987. That might sound like an over-dramatization for a rock record, but once you've heard the record, that thought goes out the window. This record, U2's exploration of America, is one of the quintessential rock records ever recorded. It is, varying with opinion, U2's masterpiece of masterpieces. Since this album was recorded back when it was still 'ok' to talk about records in the context of 'sides', I will say that every song on the first 'side' of this record is a classic. 'Where The Streets Have No Name' with an intro that ranks with the best of all time, 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' with a theme of longing that anyone can relate to, 'With Or Without You'(my favorite U2 track), one of the most popular breakup songs ever, 'Bullet The Blue Sky' with its hypnotic talk/chant at the end at Edge's furious and passionate solos, and 'Running To Stand Still' with its atmosphere of deep pain being held in. The second 'side' was comprised of lesser-known but no less mesmerizing songs: 'Red Hill Mining Town', 'In God's Country', 'Trip Through Your Wires', 'One Tree Hill', which was written for roadie Greg Carroll, who died in a motercycle wreck running an errand for U2, the dark and moody 'Exit', and the mournful and haunting ballad closer, 'Mothers Of The Disappeared'.
This record catapaulted U2 in a realm of superstardom seldom seen by any band. They were not expecting it and they were taken by surprise a bit. I own this record on vinyl, cassette, and CD, and I even have the 'Classic Albums' DVD for it. This album has that quality about it, that sets it apart from from all other albums that don't pocess it. What quality is that? This was the first U2 record I ever heard, and I remember listening to it for the first time at age 13, and thinking to myself, before the album was even half over, 'hey, whoa, this band is one of the best ever'. That's the quality. Just like when you listen to 'Revolver' or 'Abbey Road' or any record of that quality, before it is even finished, you know the band is one of the best ever. I was completely blown away. It is a draining experience, one that will leave you exhausted when the album reaches its conclusion.
Spiritually, emotionally, lyrically, musically, commercially, U2 reached their peak with this record, and it was a peak they would remain on for a while to come, starting with the "Joshua Tree Tour", their biggest tour to date at the time. And not only did U2 reach their peak, but it is also important to note that on this record, Bono reached his peak as a singer. For U2's whole career up to this point, he had progressively improved as a singer with each outing. On this record he made the leap from being a very good rock singer to being one of the great rock singers of all time. I submit he is still the best, most emotional, most evocative rock singer of his time.
And though that tour would eventually lead to U2 being sick and tired of their current form, and to the brink of a breakdown, that was still a good two and a half years away. At this point U2 were excited to be as popular and relevant as they would ever be, which, incidentally gave them the leverage to pull stunts like the now legendary liquor-shop-roof-quasi-show during which the 'Where The Streets Have No Name' video was shot. U2 had arrived.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double vinyl reissue of the Joshua Tree is a sonic gem!, April 23 2013
By 
Johnnie Neptune (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is specifically the 2007 double LP reissue on vinyl that I am reviewing here. And my focus is on sound quality as the musical content has been thoroughly covered!
I love this double vinyl reissue and my expectations were surpassed for it. Not sure who did the pressing but my copy is beautifully pressed with excellent sound. From what I can tell reading online, this is the digitally mastered source used in the cd issue. As a vinyl fan, I find the sound very pleasing, very clear and still very `organic' sounding. Even if the source is digital, to my ears, vinyl provides a better soundstage than cd in this case.
As a double lp presentation at the normal 33 1/3 rpm. speed, the tracks are set up as follows:
Disc 1:
Side 1 - Original tracks 1-3
Side 2 - Original tracks 4 and 5
Disc 2:
Side 1 - Original tracks 6-8
Side 2 - Original tracks 9-11
This leaves lots of vinyl groove space for maximum sound reproduction. I wasn't sure from the cover if it would be 33 1/3 or 45 rpm. but it is the former. Yes, this means getting up more often to change sides but I was surprised to find this advantageous, not only in sound quality but it made me pay more attention to what I have previously considered the `lesser' tracks on this record - #6 - 11. They are the ones that perhaps benefit most from this presentation as there are some terrific production touches that I have missed before and now standout on this crystalline vinyl sound. Until know, I have not appreciated the left turn taken in mood with the final 2 songs `Exit' and `Mothers of the Disappeared'. There is a ghostly atmosphere provided by the Eno/Lanois production that is revealed better than ever here.
Also worthy of mention, `Bullet the Blue Sky' has never this good to me. The drums are rock solid while the Edge's guitar slithers menacingly between the speakers to capture the harrowing feel of this song like never before.
I got tired of the Joshua Tree after listening to it so much when it first came out, much like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac (which has also been reissued on great sounding new vinyl in 2011). However, with the new and improved vinyl sound of this reissue, I am reconnecting with it on a new level of appreciation.
Anyone wanting to know if this reissue is worth it, I would emphatically say `Yes'. I don't have an original UK pressing to compare it to so searching the audio forums may help if you want that comparison. However, this is definitely a sonic gem for me and you will be especially in for a treat if you have only owned it on cd before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic!, May 18 2004
By 
Cody Patton (Albuquerque, NM USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
U2's 1987 Masterpiece is simply that. Great songs written and performed with real passion and talent. U2 are one-of-a-kind! If you don't have this or haven't heard it before, do yourself a huge favor before it's too late because any music fan won't want to miss this great band and incredible album. One of the few bands that can make an entire album of good songs rather than a few hit singles. A must own for every U2/music fan!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous, epic rock album., April 26 2004
By 
Dr Jeremy Buddle (Battery Point, Tasmania Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
For me, The Joshua Tree is the best album of the 1980's. It had a notably long recording process, and saw the group travel to the Heartland of America for inspiration and for the memorable B&W cover art. The inspiration they found was in the direction of spirited, uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking sentiments delivered with fervour. Every song on the 11-track album is memorable. I'll start with my all-time favourite U2 song: Where The Streets Have No Name. I love this song dearly - it is about casting off one's shackles to find a true freedom of the spirit. I believe this theme is extended to the second single I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, which is about the search for spiritual meaning and an affirmation of faith despite a questioning soul. Songwriting does not get any better than these two tunes. With Or Without You is a brooding song that starts slowly , then winds into a majestic chorus before fading to a wonderful instrumental coda. Again, it evokes a strong passion clearly stated with no filters. U2 never made music this direct again, spinning off into irony and camp during their glittery 1990's Lemon sojourn, but these 3 all-time classics will never be forgotten. One Tree Hill is a passionate song for a NZ friend of the band's who was lost in an auto accident. Running To Stand Still is sort of exploring similar territory to 1984's Bad , but has a different feel, while the bleak Exit is an undiluted cry from someone at the end of a very dark tunnel of despair. The gentle refrain of Mothers Of The Disappeared is also about the painful emotions of the bereaved, but offers solace in the face of tyranny. In God's Country is a more straightforward tune that may have referred to the USA itself, where many patriots believe themselves divinely blessed. And why not?!!! U2 found the wellsprings of the rock and soul traditions in God's Country on their 1987 concert tour, and their American experiences are documented of course in the Rattle And Hum movie . This title comes from the incendiary track Bullet The Blue Sky, which is about the fear of the military and economic might of the USA in certain Central American regions. This became a dramatic concert favourite thereafter. Red Hill Mining Town is another track with a memorable, soaring vocal performance by Bono. The lightest touch on the album is in the tune Trip Through Your Wires. All in all, a richly emotional album with great music and inspiring lyrics. I have seen it written that the sound quality isn't the best. Not being an audiophile, I wouldn't know, but I really don't believe that matters much. All that matters is the music and the message. This is a 5-star masterpiece. Highly Recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ascetic, Prophetic and Disarmingly Sincere, April 7 2004
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
There is within music an ability to tap into the raw, revelatory power of beauty; music can give itself to the unknown whisper of the eternal in ways that other forms of art only hint at. The collage of sounds communicates something deep to the heart and, when combined with the presence of the voice, can be downright liberating. Few individuals, let alone bands, ever really reach a point where they are that open to the Unknown that it can give itself so freely through their music. U2 has done so time and again, but never with the level of directness and sincerity as they accomplished on the Joshua Tree.
A joshua tree is a real tree that thrives despite the dry environment it lives in. The image - the icon - of life amidst its seeming absence, embodied in the joshua tree, is one that is fully appropriate to U2 - particularly at the end of their first decade. U2, like the joshua tree, stood in stark contrast to its environment: ascetic, prophetic and disarmingly (some would say "naively", but let the tension stand) sincere. (Their foray into the realm of post-modern sampling, irony and sarcasm was an identity crisis fully in line with where they stood in the 80s: cynicism is frustrated optimism.)
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", the second song, really expresses the kernel of The Joshua Tree; every other song fleshes it out in some way or another. The album is, in the end, about distance: "I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls only to be with you: But I still haven't found what I'm looking for." While one may take this to be an admission of defeat - and distance whispers of despair as much as consummation - doing so is incorrect: "I'm still running," Bono sings. The song is an expression of hope more than anything.
Faith is a raw and disarmingly rough beauty; it looks within and it looks without. "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Mothers of the Disappeared" give full expression to U2's long-time political engagement, while "With or Without You" gives a glimpse into U2's more tender side. "With or Without You" may very well be the best love song of the 80s. "One Tree Hill", a deeply personal song about the death of a friend, moves with passion and rugged grace - and, again, with hope: "I'll see you again when the stars fall from the sky and the moon has turned red over one tree hill."
I look forward to the day when my children ask me, "Dad, did you ever listen to U2?" Not only will I have stories to tell about live concerts, but I will be able to relive with them the goosebumps that certain songs will inevitably bring. If rock is dead, U2 was its apex. And U2 has yet to be eclipsed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Legends among men., April 3 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
Track by track, this is U2's strongest album, with no obvious filler material like in The Unforgettable Fire.
"Where the Streets Have No Name"- My favorite song on the album. Incredible gutiars, and Bono's voice has never been better. 10/10
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"- Some of Bono's best lyrics. 10/10
"With or Without You"- A chilling, often misinterpretated love song. 10/10
"Bullet the Blue Sky"- This one is a let-down. Good guitars, but the lyrics fall flat. 7/10
"Running to Stand Still"- A slow, hypnotic elegy along the lines of "Bad". 9.5/10
"Red Hill Mining Town"- Most underrated song on the album. Envigorating guitars work well with Bono's soaring voice. 10/10
"In God's Country"- Great, but a little too short. 9/10
"Trip Through Your Wires"- Nice country vibe to it, but the keyboards can get irritating. 8/10
"One Tree Hill"- A surging, sad number dedicated to a dead friend. 10/10
"Exit"- Closest thing to filler on the album. Slow start, but it picks up at the end. 6/10
"Mothers of the Disappeared"- Beautiful elegy and a fitting end to the album. 9/10
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best album in the last quarter century, Jan. 19 2004
By 
Mark S. Holdener (Louisville, KY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
Plenty of others have reviewed the music on the album, so I will not contribute another love it/hate it review. However, I believe that this album represents the band's shift from political activists that rock to rockers that give a damn (most of the time).
Certainly the band has gotten more polished over the years, but I prefer the more raw, poignant sound of their previous albums to the experimental works Zooropa and Pop. I know these albums were made as a commentary about our culture, but the band became wrapped up in the pop culture that they sought to deride. All That You Can't Leave Behind was a nice recovery, however, and Achtung Baby is an excellent CD, even if doesn't match the standard set by its immediate predecessor, Joshua Tree.
The Joshua Tree stands as the one CD where U2 attained their highest level of perfection. The only misstep, in my opinion, is Bullet the Blue Sky. Despite my appreciation for their activist streak, I have to say that I have a difficult time enjyoying Bullet the Blue Sky musically. I know that good music is rarely easy to digest at first listen, but after many exposures to the song, I still cannnot bring myself to enjoy the disjointed sounds and rhythms of this song. I never tire of listening to the rest of the album, so it is small sacrifice to listen to this song, too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The closest to perfection that you can get, Jan. 9 2004
By 
Jonathan Waldrop (Murfreesboro, TN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
Before I picked up this album I knew the standard U2 radio hits, including the first three on this one, so I was a "fan" of what I had heard, but nothing prepared me for "The Joshua Tree". Every single song on it is great. Even some of my other all-time favs like "Exile on Main Street" and "The White Album" have a couple songs that are not as good as the others, but with this one you're given pure beauty. It's got the perfect opening track, "Where the Streets Have No Name". I think the great part about this song is how each member of the group comes in to it separately. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is probably Bono's most well-written, best-sung song. "With or Without You" is obviously one of the best love songs ever written. Edge's guitar really hit me hard on this one. "Bullet the Blue Sky" really showcased the rhythmic qualities of Larry and Adam. This is one of their real rockers. The fifth track is my favorite on the album, "Running to Stand Still". Bono's vocals are very calm and beautiful and Edge plays some nice slide guitar; the lyrics are terrific. "Red Hill Mining Town" and "In God's Country" are terrific "in between songs". The eighth track, "Trip Through Your Wires" is U2's most fun and joyous song; Bono does some great harmonica work on this one. "One Tree Hill" really does a great job preparing you for the end of the album; the backing vocals are incredible. "Exit" struck me as more of a darker song, but it nevertheless got its point across. Finally, you get "Mothers of the Disappeared", which just proves that U2 has created a masterpiece.
Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno do a bang up job with the production. They seemed to really know how to get the best out of the band. Even though I didn't own this album before my senior camping trip, before I graduated from high school, I listen to "The Joshua Tree" now and I can easily remember how much fun I had with my friends before we all left each other. Bottom Line: Do yourself a favor and get this album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Album., Dec 14 2003
By 
Robert Blake (Santa Monica, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
U2 have continued producing great albums into the new decade, but "The Joshua Tree" remains the classic that really made their presence known to the world. It is a masterpiece of melodic brilliance and just wonderful music. It manages to incorporate almost everything that's good about rock n' roll from it's blues, gospel, folk and even hints of metal into one epic statement of grace and power. Like "Achtung Baby," "The Joshua Tree" shows each member of the band doing their best with their sections like few albums do. "Where The Streets Have No Name" is still a soaring achievement, a classic opening of driving melody, Bono's powerful vocals, the Edge's frantic yet passive guitar and Larry Mullen Jr.'s rhythmic beats. It is said that "The Joshua Tree" was U2's truly first journey into American music, previously their influences were more along the lines of Patti Smith, here they dig into the mountain of sounds that are traditionally American. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" for example, is an all-out gospel song where Bono shows his great range. "Bullet The Blue Sky" is more fire and passion, a roaring assault with Zeppelinsque guitars from The Edge and Bono sounding more ferocious than he had or has. Yet the album achieves moments of grace, such as "In God's Country" wich has fast guitar licks, but it somehow achieves a more dreamy, almost blissful tone. "With Or Without You" is a beautiful ballad, one of U2's best cuts with an elegant guitar melody. "Mothers Of The Disappeared" is another one of the album's more evocative moments. "The Joshua Tree" is one of the few albums from the past decade which achieved a classic level where it's not just a rock album, it's an album of defining, wonderous music. Anyone who appreciates good music would surely find the wonderful melodies, words and moments found in this album. "The Joshua Tree" achieves what all great music does, a sound that is timeless.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably U2's best, Dec 7 2003
By 
"fahrmboy" (Michigan, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Joshua Tree (Audio CD)
Many avid listeners to the Irish rock band will agree that this album contains a little bit of everything that U2 has to offer. Love, Religion, Drugs, Politics, and all around good music.
Inspired by Bono's mission trip in Ethiopia, "Where the Streets Have No Name" is possibly the most popular, being about wanting to escape to a place where the complications and worries of world, or specifically, the claustrophobia of Dublin, don't matter.
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" can be interpreted in different ways. Depending on how you look at it, it's a pop song either about a relationship with another person, or one with God in which a person gives devotion, but wants more.
"With Or Without You" can also be a romantic ballet, or one of religion. One with a good beat, and very well-delivered lyrics.
"Bullet The Blue Sky," being about Bono's experiences in Salvador and America's involvent in Central America, is an emotional hard rock song that changes rhythmically throughout this recording and has never been played the same.
"Running to Stand Still" starts out calmly with a strumming guitar and piano and lyrics about a couple using heroine to escape the life they cannot change, and the excitement builds up just as the drug gives them new eyes.
"Red Hill Mining Town" is a sort of slow folk song, which goes along with the hard working day of a miner and the pressure of the British miners strikes that lost them their jobs.
"In God's Country" is song about Irish immigrants putting their life at risk to seek a new one in America and hopefully escape religious persecution. A well-written ubpeat ode to the American Dream.
"Trip Through Your Wires," like "Running to Stand Still" and "Red Hill Mining Town" was heavily infuenced by American music and delivers a love song with a harmonica, keyboard, and a catchy tune.
"One Tree Hill" remains my personal favorate for its harmoneous intrumentals and it's perfectly written lyrics about an unjust loss of a friend (Greg Carroll and Victor Jara in this case), which almost anyone can relate to.
"Exit" starts out almost in scilence about a religious man, and builds up with intense druming, singing, and quitars as the man grows dangerous and remorseful from his guilt, and commits suicide.
"Mothers of the disapeared" ends the album with another emotional ode to happenings in Salvador, this time to the mothers who never found their children after losing them to the Pinocet regime, which Bono believed was backed by the Reagan Administration. The end of the song bleeds perfectly into the beginning of the first.
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