Sunday, February 20, 2011

Classic Albums: Joshua Tree

I'm ending my Sunday night by watching an episode of Classic Albums on Netflix Instant dedicated to U2's Joshua Tree.  One of my favorite components of this documentary, as with all of the records that have received the Classic Albums treatment, is watching the artist/producer sitting at the mixing desk bringing up and down different elements of the multi-track recordings.  There are a few instances where they let us listen in on pieces of the recordings that never made it into the actual final album track, like a string section on 'Where The Streets Have No Name'.  In this episode, much of the time is spent with Joshua Tree producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the unsung heroes and architects of much of U2s sound over the years, talking about the process of painstakingly building and layering the songs in the studio. One of the recurring themes that is discussed about this album from 1985 is how different it was from what was popular at the time.  The band eschewed the drum machines and synthesizers that so many other groups were using in those days.

The hour long documentary almost exclusively discusses Side One of the Joshua Tree, and what an amazing set of five songs that is.  The full tracklist, if you didn't already know it is:

Side One
1. "Where the Streets Have No Name"  
2. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
3. "With or Without You"
4. "Bullet the Blue Sky"
5. "Running to Stand Still"

Side two
1. "Red Hill Mining Town"
2. "In God's Country"
3. "Trip Through Your Wires"
4. "One Tree Hill"
5. "Exit"
6. "Mothers of the Disappeared"

While it would be easy to feature here any one of hugely famous Side One tracks, instead I'm going to post the first two tracks on Side Two.  Both of these songs are on my list of favorite U2 songs, on any album.

Red Hill Mining Town
This is the official video filmed by U2 for Red Hill Mining Town, the song that was supposed to be the second single off of the album.  The band was not happy with how the video turned out (it wasn't released until the 20th anniversary Super Deluxe Box of the Joshua Tree in 2007).  'Where the Streets Have No Name' was released instead.  Red Hill Mining Town has still never been played live.  

In God's Country
Recorded live on 7/4/1987 in Paris, France, four months after Joshua Tree was released. 

With Bono now recovered from back surgery and rehabilitation, U2 have restarted another leg of their 360 Tour with two shows in South Africa over the last week (2/13 and 2/18).  The tour moves on to South America for seven shows in March.  The band will then return to North America for 25 shows beginning in Mexico City on 5/11/11.

1 comment:

WeightStaff said...

Agreed that Classic Albums is a very well-made series. And I'll give you that Joshua Tree was an important album from a pop history standpoint. But the thought of another U2/Bono 360- degrees-of-self-indulgence-tour never ceases to nauseate me.