Before I begin I would like to state for the record that I know that Bono is an immense egomaniac and that the band hasn’t made a really good album since the 80’s. I only like their music up to and including this album so I am not one of those modern delusional U2 fans who think they can do no wrong.
I’m pretty sure I bought the cassette of this album in late 1985. It was before Joshua Tree was released and before I transferred high schools so it kind of had to have been that specific year. None of the friends that I had at that first high school liked them so I kind of got into them on my own. I remember hearing New Year’s Day on the radio a few years before and seeing that video on MTV as a young teen. By the time the song Pride, which is on this album, came out they were already on my radar and I decided to take the plunge and buy one of their albums. Thank you mom for giving me the money to buy this!
I can in no way overstate how important this album is to me, because it lead me into liking other bands. I remember reading somewhere about members of The Virgin Prunes growing up with the members of U2. So, I bought one of their albums and instantly got hooked. That in turn made me more open towards other ‘weirdo’ bands like Specimen. Also, I got into a lot of Irish post-punk bands, such as Blue In Heaven, that all had connections with one another or with U2.
So musically what makes this album so darn special? The entire album has a very haunting quality to it. There were hints of this on some of their earlier albums, such as New Year’s Day on War, but they went full force into it on this one. I think the pinnacle of this style on the album is the song The Unforgettable Fire. It’s my all time favourite U2 song and it still gives me major goosebumps.
I know that it’s really ‘in’ to hate all of U2’s work these days, which I think is a shame. Their first five albums are post-punk perfection. If it wasn’t for this album I wouldn’t be the mildly dramatic weirdo that I am today. It made me evolve my musical tastes and widen my horizons.