I 'heart' the album Boy - U2 Feedback

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Old 02-12-2009, 10:55 PM   #1
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I 'heart' the album Boy



Do you have any idyllic childhood memories?
[Bono:] None at all. The little pieces that I can put back together are, if not violent, then aggressive. I was introduced to this guy, James Mann, who, at age four, had the ambition of being a nuclear physicist, and one of the guys bit his ear. And I took that kid's head and banged it off an iron railing. It's terrible, but that's the sort of thing I remember. I remember the trees outside the back of the house where we lived, and them tearing those trees down to build an awful development. I remember real anger.

What of your mom and dad and the way they got on?

To be honest, I don't remember that much about my mother. I forget what she looks like. I was fourteen or fifteen when she died, but I don't remember. I wasn't close to my mother or father. And that's why, when it all went wrong -- when my mother died -- I felt a real resentment, because I actually had never got a chance... to feel that unconditional love a mother has for a child. There was a feeling of that house pulled down on top of me, because after the death of my mother that house was no longer a home -- it was just a house. That's what "I Will Follow" is about. It's a little sketch about that unconditional love a mother has for a child: "If you walk away, walk away I will follow," and "I was on the outside when you said you needed me / I was looking at myself I was blind I could not see." It's a really chronic lyric.
(from "U2's Passionate Voice" by David Breskin, Rolling Stone, October 08, 1987)


Bono: I didn't really begin spending a lot of time on lyrics until halfway into the '80s, so this and a lot of the early songs were written very quickly -- in just minutes in many cases. Thee idea here was really just a very personal feeling, a song about unconditional love: "If you walk away, I will follow." It would be high up on my list.
(from "U2's Pride (In The Name Of Songs); Achtung, Babies: Bono And Edge Evaluate One Critic's Choices For The Group's 10 Best Recordings, From 'I Will Follow' To 'One'" by Robert Hilburn, Los Angeles Times, September 12, 1993)



Bono: "The sexual side of Boy was, in its time, quite revelatory. People can talk about sex on a bland level, or about S&M, leather gear and impulse sex. But that's actually very conservative, not at all radical. In 'Twilight,' a boy was being confronted by a man who was a homosexual, and I was trying to explain in the song that it wasn't how it was written in the book:

My body grows and grows
It frightens me you know
A teacher told me why
I laugh when old men cry

"Nobody realised that I was talking about menopause. It was a riddle. I can remember being told in school about the change in life and how distressing it can be for old men when they stop functioning. I can remember my nervous laugh... So on that side of Boy a lot of people didn't realise exactly how much of myself I was giving.
(from "Love, Devotion & Surrender" by Tristam Lozaw, republished in U2 Magazine, No. 11, June 01, 1984, original publication unknown)



[Bono:] "You can see the sordid side to Amsterdam. At first sight it's beautiful, innocent, even a naive city. There's shop window prostitution and it's the European centre for the drugs market. It's like one of the songs on Boy called 'An Cat Dubh' which describes the cat as a symbol of temptation. At first beautiful, the shape, you know, seductive. In the daylight it destroys a birdnest. Not for food, but for enjoyment and at the same time it comes up to you and strokes the side of your leg. Amsterdam is like that. It's beautiful, it's people are beautiful, but..."
(from "U2's First European Tour" by Mike Gardner, republished in U2 Magazine, No. 5, November 1982, original publication unknown)

["An cat dubh" is Gaelic for "the black cat."]



Bono: "'Out Of Control' is about waking up on your eighteenth birthday and realising that you're 18 years old and that the two most important decisions in your life have nothing to do with you -- being born and dying. The song is from the child's point of view and it's about a vicious cycle. He becomes a delinquent but the psychologist says 'it's in his childhood.' No matter what he does -- it can't be because he wants to, it's always because of what went before and there's no decision in anything. Then again, that's slightly spiritual -- the question what is happening if you've no freedom?
(from "Boys in Control" by Niall Stokes, Hot Press Vol 3 No. 9, October 26, 1979)

Bono wrote Boy's "Out of Control" immediately upon rising from a troubled sleep on his eighteenth birthday: "I said, 'Well, here we are. I'm eighteen, and the two most important things in my life -- being born and dying -- are completely out of my hands. What's the point? At that point in my life I had a lot of anger and discontent when I couldn't find answers. It was violent, but mentally violent." [...]
(from "U2" by Fred Schruers, Musician, May 01, 1983)



Bono explained the words of "Stories For Boys," which concerned the unreal world of comic books, to me. It said a lot about U2's attitude:
"I can remember as a child, looking in the mirror and thinking, 'I don't look like that!' That's wrong. You're bombarded with all these images in the comics and nobody's like that. But the effect is of total disillusionment with yourself. You put on a mask and hide from yourself, from your own soul, from what you've got to offer. It's a reaction away from the individual and we stand for individualism."
(from "The Unforgettable Band: A U2 Overview" by Kris Needs, Creem Collectors Series - U2, August 01, 1987)



[...]; Bono is still driven by a vivacious urge to express, but now he is more directed, more sure of exactly what he is trying to say. He believes what he has to say is important, but he avoids a tendency towards self-importance. When I accuse him of crusading in "The Ocean" with the lines "I thought the world could go far / If they listened to what I said," he denies that implication, though conceding that it is a 'touchy comment.'

"It is just a complete teenage thought, it is the thought of every teenager, it is the thought of everybody in a band who thinks he can change the world. There is another verse which got left out, it's on the sleeve, 'When I looked around / The world couldn't be found / Just me by the sea,' which is the resignation that no matter what you do, people are going to go their own way."
(from "Growing Up in Public" by Neil McCormick, Hot Press Vol 4 No. 15, December 17, 1980)



[Bono:] "I want to see the long-term effect of groups like ours or the Jam. Our emotions aren't just glossy, throwaway things. Some people saw 'A Day Without Me' as escapism, but it was about suicide. I don't expect people to dig into our material with a knife and fork but..."
(from "A Dreamboat Named Desire" by Richard Cook, New Musical Express, February 27, 1982)

[I haven't been able to find any direct quotes on this, but reportedly:]
Bono wrote "A Day Without Me" (on Boy, their debut album) partly in reaction to the news that Joy Division's Ian Curtis had taken his own life.
(from "U2" by Fred Schruers, Musician, May 01, 1983)





[...] Since then [referring to ADWM and Ian Curtis], a school chum of Bono's, having survived electro-convulsive therapy in a Dublin institution (Boy's "The Electric Co.") has "had a go at himself with an electric saw. He told me that there's only two ways out of the place -- either over the wall or just to cut his throat." [...]
(from "U2" by Fred Schruers, Musician, May 01, 1983)

[Bono:] Song called The Electric Co... Children's television show. Song about a medical treatment... Known as ECT... It's where you go when you don't know... [...]
(live at Stadthalle, Offenbach, West Germany, January 29, 1985; transcription by Michael Reiter)



U2 stands for hope -- another singular trait. A lot of groups represent some form of nihilism, escapism or despair; how many can honestly state the opposite case?

"It is a celebration," Bono says. "'Shadows and Tall Trees,' on the album, begins a pensive mood, as the character -- who is me -- looks around him. He sees this pattern developing, the repetition of everyday life. It really gets to him, really irritates him, as he realizes 'Mrs. Brown's washing is always the same.' I was listening to housewives talking; in Dublin there's this expression -- 'I know, I know' they say to each other, 'I know' -- but I realized that's very beautiful in many ways. It's often the everyday things that are beautiful."
(from "U2" by Tim Sommer, Trouser Press, July 01, 1981)

[S. Bailie:] In William Golding's Lord of the Flies, there's a similar voice -- it's the primitive God, who represents "the infinite cynicism of adult life," which he uses to corrupt the castaway schoolkids...
[Bono:] That book blew my mind. There's a song on our first album, "Shadows and Tall Trees," which is a chapter from Lord of the Flies. The whole thing of Boy was partly about that.
(from "Rock And Roll Should Be This Big!" by Stuart Bailie, New Musical Express, June 13, 1992)

[The following might be from "Into the Heart" by Niall Stokes:]
[Bono:] "I remember thinking about that comparison between Lord of the Flies and where we were in Cedarwood, between Ballymun and Finglas. It was a quiet little street in one sense but my memory of it, growing up, is of being stuck between cowboys and indians, rumbles between the top end of the street and the bottom end of the street, between bootboys and skinheads, and so on. That's the way it was. And I remember thinking the shadows and tall trees are different here -- but it's the same story, isn't it? It's all about war. We're all stuck on this island of suburbia and we're turning on each other."







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Old 02-13-2009, 01:22 AM   #2
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I'm just glad you don't 'heart' unspecified Boy.
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 02-13-2009, 02:51 AM   #3
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So how many albums have you still not "hearted"?

I must say, that version of Electric Co. is EPIC. I've been looking for that for ages -- thank you so much for posting!
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:29 AM   #4
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I it too.
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:21 AM   #5
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A Day Without Me!
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axver View Post
i'm just glad you don't 'heart' unspecified boy.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosebud View Post
So how many albums have you still not "hearted"?

I must say, that version of Electric Co. is EPIC. I've been looking for that for ages -- thank you so much for posting!
2 left.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:43 PM   #8
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It's funny seeing Bono laugh at men with MANopause. Bono was a little punk.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:49 PM   #9
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Fabulous footage! Thank you for taking the time.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:53 PM   #10
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God I love this album, has teenage "angst" written all over it!

"The sexual side of Boy was, in its time, quite revelatory. People can talk about sex on a bland level, or about S&M, leather gear and impulse sex. But that's actually very conservative, not at all radical. In 'Twilight,' a boy was being confronted by a man who was a homosexual, and I was trying to explain in the song that it wasn't how it was written in the book:

My body grows and grows
It frightens me you know
A teacher told me why
I laugh when old men cry"

AHAHAHAHAH! Why do I find that so funny?
BTW: What book is baby B.Vox talkin about?
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:34 PM   #11
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I've found a new appreciation for Boy. It's a great album. I it too.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:05 PM   #12
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The remaster helps. It sounds WAY better than my normal CD.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:05 PM   #13
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I like Boy a lot, but I wouldn't say I "heart" it.

Those clips of "A Day Without Me" and "11 O'Clock" at Red Rocks are dy-no-mite!

So, how do feel about Boy? I ... "handshake" it.
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:32 PM   #14
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Love this album it's nice to listen to it when you're a teenager...I'm past that transition point most of 'Boy' is talking about and I'm a teenaged girl, not a boy...but the angst is kind of hopeful, not just teenaged angst.

Electric Co was the single most scary, unexpected song explanation I came across when flipping through 'Into The Heart'...good lord. I thought it was 'Electric company' or something for about a year before I read that.

I applaud the bonus tracks being up there!
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:46 PM   #15
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I Boy It was one of the last U2 albums I bought (second only to "October," which I don't share the same enthusiasm for, unfortunately)... I put it off because I figured it'd sound too dated for my liking. That was definitely not the case, and it's actually on the better half of my favorite U2 albums!

Also, in the first part of the interview - "I remember the trees outside the back of the house where we lived, and them tearing those trees down to build an awful development."
Kinda reminds me of that "Peace on Earth" lyric: "Where I grew up/ There weren't many trees/ Where there was, we'd tear them down/ And use them on our enemies"
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:03 AM   #16
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Yeah, ''Boy'' is a great album but...don't you ''heart'' the album ''October'' as well? It deserves your love too!!
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:54 PM   #17
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what a great opening post! some amazing live footage and fantastic quotes! I'll have to read/watch it all later as i'm about to go to bed, but great idea to include the b-sides/other singles from that era. I used to LOVE Boy/Girl, Things To Make and Do and Touch. and to find out there's video footage of all three being played during one gig..... i remember hearing both 'Touch' and 'Things....' on that Boston 1981 bootleg a few years back and wishing they'd played Boy/Girl along with them on that tour. Great find though!

but yeah, like I said i'll be watching/reading all of that tomorrow. really looking forward to it, Boy is one of my favourite U2 albums and possibly one of my all time favourites. Such a great youthful energy in it and still quite mature songs in there given their age. Trying to think how it must have been to be young back in 1980 and heard that. Both Boy and October (another favourite) almost go hand in hand to me, I remember listening to them both at one point in my life and it really was 'life changing' for want of a less poncey expression, as was U2's music in general for me. But those two albums will always be special to me.
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