YEAR RELEASED: 1981
CHART ACTION: #104 US, #11 UK
SINGLES: Fire (#35 UK), Gloria (#55 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: With a Shout
LINEUP: Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Disappointing second album sounds rushed and unfocused. Narrator: It was.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After getting acclaim for Boy, it seemed nothing went right for U2 when recording their second album. Famously, Bono’s lyric ideas were stolen, and he had to come up with lyrics basically on the spot without his ideas and notes. They came right from a tour to the sessions, and didn’t have many ideas.
They’re lucky some songs sounded as good as they did. “With a Shout”, “Gloria”, and “I Threw a Brick Through a Window” are just as good as anything on their first record, with the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. all contributing new ideas and sounds into their sonic palette.
Yet, as a whole, it’s unsatisfying. The lyrics and music sometimes don’t meld very well (understandable), and had they had more time, they may have turned out something as good as their debut. They didn’t have the time, and it showed.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Also, there was an existential crisis in the band. Bono, the Edge, and Mullen were involved in a group called The Shalom Fellowship, and began to question rock-and-roll and its lifestyle.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Singles, b-sides, BBC sessions, live cuts. You know the drill.
GRADE: C+-: Three great cuts save this album, and probably saved the group.