Reason #242: WAR
I have made my peace with the music of U2. I don’t go out of my way to listen to them all that often (Zooropa being the exception), but I can allow myself to admit that War, The Unforgettable Fire and…ughhh…The Joshua Tree are all really great records. My favorite out of these three is The Unforgettable Fire, and I’m sure I’ll do a post on that one someday before the end of this list, but today I thought I’d begrudgingly start my 80’s U2 album appreciation with the first LP of theirs I heard, and loved.
First off War has the best cover the band would ever produce. Period. It’s stunning, still, and will remain immediately recognizable for decades. It is truly an iconic image, one that deserves its place with London Calling, Revolver, etc, as one of the very best.
War also has, arguably, their first really great song with New Year’s Day. That opening piano and bass riff still sounds terrifically modern to my ears, and it is one U2 “hit” song that really hasn’t been played to death. Sunday Bloody Sunday is also their first really bombastic, fists in the air anthem, and if it seems a tad over the top nowadays I can assure you it sounded fresh as a daisy and quite vital back in 1983. Surrender is my favorite song on the album and listening again I am reminded by the sonic similarities it shares with The Who’s Sally Simpson from Tommy. Two Hearts Beat As One is a little over the top, lyrically speaking, but listening is worth it for the finale alone, the Edge just shredding away with abandon.
I don’t care for The Drowning Man nor The Refugee, but ’40 is a great ballad, and seconds is a pretty good mood enhancer. Overall the highs make this a great U2 record; not Achtung Baby/Zooropa great, but definitely ’80’s U2 great.