On the Edge of 30: U2’s THE JOSHUA TREE
Brad Birzer’s musings on one of the most important rock albums ever made, The Joshua Tree.
Originally released March 9, 1987
Thirty years ago this month and next, U2, Brian Eno, and Daniel Lanois were putting the finishing touches on what is arguably one of the greatest rock albums ever written, THE JOSHUA TREE. That “the album wears well,” even three decades later, would be a tragic understatement. Frankly, though I have listened to it repeatedly over the past 29 years, THE JOSHUA TREE sounds as fresh at the end of 2016 as it did in the spring of 1987. It’s possible that nostalgia—“the rust of memory,” as the great sociologist Robert Nisbet once proclaimed it—clouds my judgment, but I don’t think so. Other albums from that time that meant almost as much to me then sound dreadfully tinny and dated now.
So, my continuing and continuous awestruck response to THE JOSHUA TREE can’t be complete nostalgia.
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