Friday, March 30, 2012

221 War- Huh, what is it good for?

Album: War
Artist: U2
Year: 1983
Genre: Rock


  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. Seconds
  3. New Year's Day
  4. Like a Song...
  5. Drowning Man
  6. The Refugee
  7. Two Hearts Beat as One
  8. Red Light
  9. Surrender
  10. "40" 

Ireland's a funny place isn't it? It has a reputation as happy-go-lucky and cheery and full of pretty maidens and leprachauns and pubs that for some reason they've successfully exported all around the world. But underneath all the green and cheery smiling are two groups of people in the north who genuinely want to kill each other for no really compelling reason. U2 are from the south of Ireland but The Troubles didn't confine their impact to north of the border. The whole of the UK felt the impact and those living in Dublin were only too aware of the violence going by people who lived not far down the road.

It's no surpise then than a band who grew up in Ireland would turn to war as a theme for an album, especially at at time when England was at war with Argentina over the Falkand Islands which meant they were engaged in one of the most pointless military struggles in recent times (that's my useless scrubby outcrop with sheep on it! No It's mine! Mine! etc). It was inevitable but even more a foregone conclusion when you consider the kind of guy Bono is. Before War was recorded Bono took his new wife on a honeymoon and spent the time writing lyrics to songs. He even started writing a love song to his new bride but changed the lyrics when he heard about the Polish Solidarity movement. How romantic is that? "Darling I wrote you a song but I was more inspired by the plight of some guys I've never met in a country I've never been to than I am by you, so when you hear this tune remember that I love you almost as much as I love Polish Solidarity". It's amazing that in 2012 she and Bono will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

While themeatically War might deal with conflict, musically it sounds like a band working together exceptionally well. Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Years Day are both standout tracks that show U2 mastered simple, driving rock and roll before they decided to move away from it. 40 is a genuinely beautiful closing number and there are some overlooked gems in amongst the album tracks.

The next step after War was to mature and evolve their sound with The Unforgettable Fire but before they started that journey they released Under a Blood Red Sky which is effectively a live best-of from their first three albums. Definitely worth checking out.

Highlight: Sunday Bloody Sunday
Lowlight: Like a song...

Influenced by: The Troubles and The Beatles
Influenced: The Shins and The Strokes.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I do not like the kind of music that bands like this do. But they are very talented and the songs are awesome. I especially like Sunday Bloody Sunday, and all of the rest of the songs."

-So... you don't like this music but the songs are awesome? And you especially like one song and all the rest of them? I don't understand.

-So will you declare war or would you prefer peace broke out? Let me know below.

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