Ahhh, The Joshua Tree. What more is there to say about it than that? The greatest album ever written, by anyone, ever. Well, that’s my opinion. The lowest rated song on The Joshua Tree would be the highest rated song on some albums. Heck, some of the songs left off The Joshua Tree could be top five songs on other albums. Yes, that is just how good and how fertile the band was during that period. That was the time when everything they touched turned to gold.
The album opens perfectly, the building resonance of Where The Streets Have No Name, incidentally the greatest song that U2 have made. Then it rolls on into I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, a top five, and With Or Without You, a top ten. So three songs in a row are U2 top ten songs, how can you get any better than that? You could argue that the rest of the album pales in comparison, but that’s ridiculous, because again I could say take away those three songs and the rest of the album would still be top three or four of all U2 albums. That’s how crazy good the whole album is.
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the rest of it. The Bullet The Blue Sky/Running To Stand Still combo is perfect, not topically the same but musically so, they run together so well. The first half of side two (how many of you even understand what I say when I say that a record has two sides?) is the lighter part of the album, a little bit of fun, a little bit of whimsy, something to cool down on after the deep ending to side one and before the deep ending to side two. And speaking of the deep ending, Exit and Mothers Of The Disappeared work so well together to pull you down into a introspective, contemplative state which is only broken when the album recycles back to those opening notes on Streets.
And, for the most personal note: I named my son Joshua based solely on this album. When my wife and I were figuring out baby names, we didn’t know whether it would be a boy or a girl. I immediately had the name Joshua, I told her why, and she liked it and was happy with it, even with the reasoning. She even suggested that his middle name could be Tree (although I think she might have been kidding). We had several names for girls (Grace was my favorite, you can probably guess why), but we never narrowed it down to one. Thanks to a slip by the doctor we were fairly sure it was going to be a boy, but if it had turned out to be a girl we would have been struggling in the delivery room to pick one. So we got a little lucky, and he got a great name.
My rating for The Joshua Tree: 7.8 / 10