Three decades ago, U2 had some important things to say about American proxy warfare, the plight of British miners, and the societal constructs that keep people everywhere from recognizing their shared humanity. Rather than spell things out explicitly, like their early punk heroes might have, Bono and the boys channeled their feelings into 1987’s The Joshua Tree, a heroic rock album written in the mystically blunt poetry of the Old Testament. And it was good.
Brought to life by intrepid producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, The Joshua Treewas U2’s fifth studio LP and first U.S. chart-topper. The album turns 30 this March, and to celebrate, the group will play it from top to bottom as part of a run of special stadium shows across North America and Europe. It's a fine way to celebrate their career-making magnum opus, and given the state of the world, it makes a lot of sense.
When The Joshua Tree dropped, America was nearing the end of eight years spent under the reign of President Reagan. Ronnie’s covert military actions in Central America directly inspired two of the songs -- the rumbling “Bullet the Blue Sky” and mournful “Mothers of the Disappeared” -- and the impacts of his divisive policies can be felt on “In God’s Country,” and perhaps even the album’s idealistic opener, “Where the Streets Have No Name.” On the latter, Bono imagines a desegregated world where a person’s address doesn’t necessarily speak to their race, class, or religion....more