Thursday Night Music Byte
Lynnrockets recently watched the film Julie & Julia about a thirty year old New Yorker who decided to cook every dish in one of Julia Childs’ cookbooks and to blog about it. It was a novel idea so we decided to copy it. No, we will not be cooking in the usual sense (that could start a fire). Rather, we will adapt the recipe a day concept to our nightly music bytes. From now to infinity (didn’t somebody else coin that phrase?) we will post a music video and brief description of the artist or song in a sort of alphabetical order as culled from Tom Moon’s wonderful reference book, 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die (A Listener’s Life List). The book describes both whole albums (remember those) and individual songs from all music genres that are essential listening. Do yourselves a favor and purchase this book. Where the book deals with an individual song, we will post that song, but when an entire album is the subject, we will exercise judicial discretion and post a single song therefrom. So what do you say, let’s get cooking…
U2 The Joshua Tree – “Where The Streets Have No Name” (1987)
Through a combination of zealous righteousness and post-punk experimentalism, U2 became one of the most popular rock & roll bands of the ’80s. They were rock & roll crusaders during an era of synthesized pop and heavy metal, equally known for their sweeping sound as for their grandiose statements about politics and religion. The Edge provided the group with a signature sound by creating sweeping sonic landscapes with his heavily processed, echoed guitars. Though the Edge’s style wasn’t conventional, the rhythm section of Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton played the songs as driving hard rock, giving the band a forceful, powerful edge that was designed for arenas. And their lead singer, Bono, was a frontman with a knack of grand gestures that played better in stadiums than small clubs. It’s no accident that footage of Bono parading with a white flag with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” blaring in the background became the defining moment of U2′s early career — there rarely was a band that believed so deeply in rock’s potential for revolution as U2, and there rarely was a band that didn’t care if they appeared foolish in the process.
The Joshua Tree is U2’s vision quest, a tear through the vast open spaces of mythic America in search of illumination, if not personal truth. There is doubt in these songs with youthful idealism replaced by a slightly wary sense of the world. The refrains remind that fame and fortune isn’t everything (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”), and how the search for understanding can be overwhelming (the album opens with “Where The Streets Have No Name” and after a two minute instrumental surge, that is one of the great crescendos in rock, the first words are, “I want to run, I want to hide, I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside”). Some great rock affirms life as it is. This sweeping, majestic album is concerned with possibilities and ideals not yet glimpsed.