YEAR RELEASED: 1983
CHART ACTION: #12 US, #1 UK
SINGLES: New Year’s Day (#53 US, #2 Mainstream, #10 UK), Sunday Bloody Sunday (#7 Mainstream), Two Hearts Beat As One (#12 Mainstream, #18 UK), Surrender (#27 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Seconds, “40”
LINEUP: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen with a little help from Kenny Fradley, Steve Wickham, and the Coconuts
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: U2 coalesces all of its strengths into one unifying force, creating an album that put them on the map all over the world and MTV too.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Beginning with a martial snare drum, and ending with a plaintive Psalm, U2 recovered from the uneven October with a classic that focused their sound, their lyrics, and their attitude.
Each member of U2 plays with a fire and passion befitting the songs, especially Larry Mullen on drums. He varies his sounds and attack to suit each track, but never interferes with the other elements. Bassist Adam Clayton’s work with Mullen creates a very solid rhythm section, allowing the Edge’s guitar (and e-piano) space to color and shape the tracks. “New Year’s Day” is one of THE tracks of the rock era.
Bono gets a little heavy handed and preachy in a couple songs (it IS Bono) which makes a couple songs less than stellar, but most every track is worthy of heavy play. This is where to start – it’s the bedrock of U2 for years to come.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The Edge sings the first two stanzas of “Seconds”. I…I did not know that. Also, the Coconuts (from King Creole’s band) sing backup in three tracks
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, B-sides and remixes.
GRADE: A: Had Bono reigned himself a skosh on a couple tracks, it would have been an A+