U2 > Boy, October, War

These lavish reissues-fortified with hardbound packaging and compelling liner notes-confirm that the Dubliners' surge toward greatness launched positively tentatively...

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Few debuts detonate with Boy’s immediacy. “I Will Follow”-a gale-force introduction spotlighting the Edge’s buckshot silhouettes and Bono’s frenetic holler-became an instant standard. Unfortunately, little else holds up.Label: Island/Universal
Boy [Rating: 2.5 STARS]
October [Rating: 2 STARS]
War [Rating: 4.5 STARS]

Few debuts detonate with Boy’s immediacy. “I Will Follow”-a gale-force introduction spotlighting the Edge’s buckshot silhouettes and Bono’s frenetic holler-became an instant standard. Unfortunately, little else holds up. Nearly three decades after the album’s 1981 release, these lavish reissues-fortified with hardbound packaging and compelling liner notes-confirm that the Dubliners’ surge toward greatness launched positively tentatively. Like rafts of promise stacked on a particleboard foundation: Uncertainty rings throughout both Boy and October, the latter an admittedly scattershot mediocrity from the jump. War, of course, issued U2’s first definitive statement. Piercing every musical and philosophical target its predecessors only grazed with sniper’s accuracy, the 1983 breakthrough suggested U2 might be the decade’s most important rock and roll band. (Ask anyone: In 1987, The Joshua Tree put paid to the notion that there’d be a challenger.) Extra material here-each bonus CD boasts more tracks than the original-is as uneven as the keepers, but don’t miss Ferry Corsten’s haunting 10-minute dance remix of “New Year’s Day.” Bloodletting.


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