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March 7th, 2007

Kat's Question: JT! @ 10:52 pm

Okay, this week's question is a bit vague but I'm afraid my dissertation has taken over my life! Anyway, this month (in fact this week, if I am not mistaken) is the 20th anniversary of the release of The Joshua Tree, and basically what I wanted to know was this...

What does The Joshua Tree mean to you?

Told you it was vague! But really, we should commemorate this wonderful album by giving it some praise. Of course you might not like the album, in which case you're clearly insane. ;) Seriously, though, I'm interested to know what your fave track is, which song means the most to you, why you think it's been so successful, whether you think it'll still be a classic in another 20 years, which band member really shines on the record... Anything and everything, just say what you want!

You might know I'm a 90s U2 girl first and foremost but I don't discriminate - I love all eras and JT is no exception. The widescreen, landscape sound created on that album is exquisite, unique and inspired and it's definitely one of the best albums ever released, I think. Streets, Still Haven't Found, WOWY, Exit, Bullet The Blue Sky... the tracklist is just sublime. About time they remastered it and re-released it though, cause my copy has quiet sound and it bugs me, I have to turn it up really loud!

Over to youuuuuuuuuuuuu.
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Date:March 8th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
Its U2's best album IMO. Eternal and not set to any one style other than rock and roll. Its ideas and messages still register today.

It was also my favorite U2 album even back there... Sure I loved Under a Blood Red Sky and War, UF before it but for some reason, JT just struck a nerve and forever made them my favorite band.
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Date:March 8th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
I almost wish the Joshua Tree ended on Exit. I think it's an incredible song, but Mothers of the Disappeared is also very powerful.

This was the first U2 album I was introduced to when I was about 5 (I was born in 1984). I never truly appreciated the illustrations of the mind that this album produces until my parents got divorced in 2001. I started listening to it as an escape from reality, and it truly worked. It gave me an hour of pure bliss in the middle of the desert, and for that, I thank U2.
Date:March 8th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
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Date:March 8th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
The Joshua Tree was officially my first U2 album without me really realizing it lol My parents had it on tape and I remember listening to it as a kid, but I didn't appreciate it for what it was at that point. It wasn't until I was 11 and I heard Beautiful Day on the radio that I asked my parents who the band was and then immediatly got All That You Can't Leave Behind. After that I was hooked.

Going through my parents old tapes one day, I found The Joshua Tree, and recognizing it as U2, I started listening to it, and it just made me realize how much more there was to music than what was popular and liking what other people listened to. Before I started listening to U2, I didn't think of music as anything else but what my friends were listening to and what was on the radio. After that, I listened to all different kinds of music, and decided for myself what I liked and what real music was supposed to be. I also started buying as many U2 albums I could get my hands on (being badly informed on U2 at the time, I even accidently bought a really terrible cover album too lol)

Basically, The Joshua Tree just showed me what real music meant. It actually isn't my favorite U2 album (second to Achtung Baby) but it has been helpful at one time or another in my life.

Anyway, sorry for the very long, very lame answer lol But I really think the album still holds up after 20 years :D
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Date:March 8th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC)

What can be said of this album other than...

it's purely brilliant. The songs are full of Americana with mixtures of soul and blues, gospel etc and still have that political edge like War. The Edge has played his best here, IMO and the distortions are just madness. I love how the notes are delayed in many of the songs. I think my fav has to be With or Without You. It's a damned good album and will withstand time, no doubt about it.
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Date:March 8th, 2007 06:24 am (UTC)
Gah! What can I say? Messy break-up with flatmate boyfriend and simultaneous spiritual awakening, the soundtrack of which was the Joshua Tree. That's a fairly paltry summation, but the high emotional content of what was going on at the time made it a pretty potent album experience - it got me through it.
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Date:March 8th, 2007 08:11 am (UTC)
I did a longish post on this topic awhile back which I intend to re-post in a couple of days on what I *think* is the actual anniversary of the release date.

I've been meaning to do similar entries on other albums, but haven't done so yet.

Has anyone else done something similar? I was inspired by someone doing this in my local paper and I've seen a few other people's since then - I always enjoy hearing how this music has become part of the weft and weave of other people's lives like how it's part of mine..
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Date:March 8th, 2007 09:25 am (UTC)
U2 in general and Joshua Tree in particular got me through the torturous final years of high school. I know that sounds like no big deal but if you have any idea of the screaming heap I was at that age, under enormous stresses and pressure to succeed at a new selective school with an admin with a chip on its shoulder and an inferiority complex (OMG WE *ARE* AS GOOD AS A PRIVATE SCHOOL OMG) - my sanity was on a knife-edge at times and my self-esteem - forget it. I would lose myself for hours in my drug of choice which was U2, and JT just *spoke* to me. I could just close my eyes and float awya on it, and, well, we know how Bono pours himself into his performances, I just felt like he was singing for me. I know that's how I was supposed to feel but it worked. I don't listen to U2 as heavily as I did then (but considering how heavily I listen to them now, I must have been amazingly focused) but it's one reason why I love them so damn much.
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Date:March 8th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
To me, JT has two meanings. It reminds me of my childhood, because I grew up listening to it. But the second meaning is more powerful, because JT is sort of a beginning to my relationship with the man who is now my husband. I asked him to make a copy of it for me(knowing he was a huge U2 fan), and shortly afterwards we began dating. If the two are connected, only fate knows, but still...

And as for a favorite song, I'm torn between "Exit" and "With or Without You". "Exit" was best done live on the R&H documentary, and should've ended the album. "Mothers" is a powerful song, but it and "Exit" should've switched places on the album. As for "With or Without You", it will always remind me of the first fight the hubby and I had...we'd been dating for a little over a month, and he wanted to end it for selfish reasons. I left his place in tears, and he realized he'd made a mistake...after 4 desparate voicemails and 2 text messages from him, I was heading back to his place, "With or Without You" cranked up as loud as I could stand it. Ever since, I can't hear those eerie opening chords without thinking of what might've happened had I not checked my phone before going to sleep that night. :) Now we've been married for a year and a half and have a beautiful little boy. Thank God for U2. LOL.
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Date:March 8th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
JT reminds me of my turbulent teen years ...or their beginning anyway. I was 13 when JT was released and could not help but get hooked on "I Still Haven't Found." I didn't get into U2 until after watching their performance in Live Aid (1985). I didn't see their performance live though - saw it on TV - was in Philadelphia at the time visiting some relatives. Saw Bono whisper sweet nothings into a female fan's ear and thought "Hot damn!!"

My fave song from JT (along with ISHFWILF) is " In God's Country."

My all time fave album remains "Achtung Baby," though.
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Date:March 8th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
I was kind of pondering this subject the other day, actually (probably because @U2 has a poll asking you to mark TJT out of 10). I have a strange relationship with this album. It's a great album, I like every track and I know the whole thing off by heart. Some of the tracks, I really love (especially Red Hill Mining Town). It probably is a masterpiece, I can see why it did so well, and I appreciate its importance in the band's history (and music history in general). And yet, the album as a whole just doesn't *excite* me like some of their others... even some of the less consistent albums seem to have a bit more sparkle, for some reason. Maybe The Joshua Tree is just such an established classic that I kind of take it for granted. It has a comforting, nostalgic feel (that was the vibe I got when I heard it for the first time), rather than being a thrill ride... it's hard to imagine there was a time when the world had never heard With Or Without You!  It's definitely not their best album, but its power is undeniable and no collection would be complete without it. In fact I might not have become such a dedicated U2 fanatic without that one... I remember a time when I only owned three U2 albums (the Best Of, AB & Zooropa) and had no intention of buying them all, but The Joshua Tree was enough to tip the balance and it totally snowballed after that. :D
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Date:March 9th, 2007 08:14 am (UTC)
It probably is a masterpiece, I can see why it did so well, and I appreciate its importance in the band's history (and music history in general). And yet, the album as a whole just doesn't *excite* me like some of their others... even some of the less consistent albums seem to have a bit more sparkle, for some reason. Maybe The Joshua Tree is just such an established classic that I kind of take it for granted.

That's how I feel.

I don't like to seperate regular fans and hardcore fans, but to me, if you ask someone who says they're a U2 fan, what their favourite album is it's almost always TJT and I can't help it, it annoys me. As though they're defined by it and I don't think (never have and never will) you really can define U2 by one sound, one song (one love...heh) or one album. It seems to me that it's all a big song and dance (no pun intended) over something small.
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Date:March 9th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
There are actual reasons for many people's love of the album, though, as shown by some of the responses here. I agree it's more likely if someone's a 'casual' fan (ie not as mental as some of us, lol) they'll make their default fave album JT cause they just haven't bothered to listen to any others. I personally will always prefer AB and the 90s stuff, deep down, but I appreciate JT for what it is, as well. It's a masterpiece in its own right. I don't think it's as exciting as others but the soundscape they created and the topics and the desert feel and the ideas... well, few albums top that, for me!
Date:March 8th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
JT was my intro into the fabulous world of U2. I was 11 and going through a very difficult period. I remember that summer going on vacation and listening to JT repeatedly and writing random lyrics on a paper bag while driving throughout the states.

That album was my first real 'love'. I had never been so moved by music before. Whenever I hear the entire album I sort of relive that time in my life. it's comfortable, it's reassuring, it's memories, it's what powerful music is!

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