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Old 07-12-2004, 04:06 PM   #1
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Which is U2's "first masterpiece?"

After all the debating about "third masterpieces" in the ATYCLB thread I thought this would be a good topic for debate - which is U2's "first masterpiece?"

Is it Boy or October with their signs of early promise (yes I've contradicted myself there) or is it War with it's striking rock energy or UF with it's ethereal use of atmospheres or is it indeed The Joshua Tree?

For me U2's first masterpiece is UF. It is such a step up from the first 3 records (although War and Boy are both very good records) - Lanois and Eno really helped the band make some beautiful music. Along with Pop, UF is U2's most underrated record. The atmospherics are really beautiful and the band haven't made a record like it since - the closest they have come to the atmospheres of UF are parts of Zooropa and Passengers and the very closest they have come are The Ground Beneath Her Feet and in particular Stateless on MDH soundtrack. Maybe New York and Grace on ATYCLB also borrows some of the atmospheres on UF but are not as good. Electrical Storm and The Hands that Built America are also very close in sound to the atmopsheric rock of UF. But other than that the band haven't made another record like UF which leads me to wonder why it isn't given as much press as JT and AB. Like JT and AB it has some anthems, namely Pride, The Unforgettable Fire and Bad and also some gorgeously beautiful and understated album songs like A Sort of Homecoming, Promenade and MLK.

It is such good mood music and it is also refreshing for "mood music" to be rock music at the same time which is what UF is.

So yes to my ears, UF is U2's "first masterpiece." I'm glad they haven't tried to make an album like it again because it would end up being an imitation but it's nice to still hear UF in songs like Stateless, TGBHF, Electrical Storm, Hands and New York.

UF to me is U2's "first masterpiece" - what is yours?

BTW, I also include AB in the "first masterpiece" category for U2 fans who prefer the 90s.
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Old 07-12-2004, 04:10 PM   #2
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i was gonna say "Bad" when i read the thread title, so i'll agree that UF is the first masterpiece. The band made some good albums before (especially War) but UF was really their first masterpiece.


JT, however, is their best masterpiece, but that's another thread
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Old 07-12-2004, 04:21 PM   #3
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This is all subjective, obviously - so, for me, it has to also be UF.
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Old 07-12-2004, 04:31 PM   #4
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UF is extremely over-rated. I don't see how anyone can raise UF up on high, and put down ATYCLB. Elvis Presley & America? 4th of July? Indian Summer Sky?
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Old 07-12-2004, 04:41 PM   #5
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boy 'cause I like the raw punk rockish sound and catchy riffs.
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Old 07-12-2004, 04:48 PM   #6
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I believe UF is the first masterpiece. Sorry to disappoint you Mr Brau.
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Old 07-12-2004, 04:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Numb1075
I believe UF is the first masterpiece. Sorry to disappoint you Mr Brau.
Why you rat bastard, I outta...
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Old 07-12-2004, 05:00 PM   #8
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Of course, this is all my opinion...
I think WAR was the realization of what came before it in a crystal clear manner. And because of that, I think it's a masterpiece that goes under appreciated.

That said, Joshua Tree really took the ideas started in UF and brought them to a bigger level. If ideas on UF were out-of-focus (Elvis Presley, 4th of July), per se, then JT definitely brought them to you in the clarity of widescreen, THX surround sound..

Achtung Baby was such a gamble for the band to go against the grain and of what was expected of them that the fact it not only worked but has stood the test of time makes that a masterpiece. Now I also happen to think the albums Zooropa and POP are masterpieces in their own right, but not at the level of War, JT or Achtung.

ATYCLB seemed to be heading in the right direction, we just didn't get there yet. I hope Hanover Quay or Solar or The Pool Sessions or whatever the hell it's called will bring us one step closer to where we're going.
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Old 07-12-2004, 05:40 PM   #9
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Absolutely love UF. How about a 12 track UF in order to stack up against the 2 "traditional" masterpieces - JT (with Heartland) and AB?

1. A Sort Of Homecoming (5:29)
2. Pride (In The Name Of Love) (3:49)
3. Wire (4:19)
4. The Unforgettable Fire (4:55)
5. Promenade (2:32)
6. Love Comes Tumbling (4:40)
7. Bad (6:09)
8. Elvis Presley and America (6:22)
9. Boomerang ll (4:48)
10. The Three Sunrises (3:52)
11. Indian Summer Sky (4:18)
12. MLK (2:32)
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Old 07-12-2004, 06:32 PM   #10
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UF is U2's greatest masterpiece. It's also their first...War is great but its not a masterpiece.
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Old 07-12-2004, 06:52 PM   #11
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The Unforgettable Fire is the greatest CD ever made and also U2's first masterpiece. Let's go through the CDs beforehand and then through UF.

Boy - best debut ever, but it's no UF for sure. Still an amazing record.
October - way too under-rated. Great album, especially considering the circumstances.
War - almost ruined by Red Light. Horrible, horrible song. The first seven tracks are great - yes, I like The Refugee now, I don't know why I used to hate it - but then you hit track eight and URGH.

The Unforgettable Fire - ethereal, atmospheric, beautiful. The musical landscapes crafted are stunning, sweeping, vast, and amazing. The emotion and passion, not to mention the heartfelt sincerity, is almost overpowering. The themes are deep and thoughtful. They still have the passion of youth. There are no bad tracks ... besides Bad, if you like lame puns!

(I realise these ratings may differ from the Wire thread, but what do you expect? They'll at least be similar)
A Sort Of Homecoming - 10/10 - can rightfully take its place in the catalogue of most beautiful and amazing songs ever made.
Pride - 10/10 - anthemic and rousing. I don't think U2's made a better radio single since.
Wire - 8.5/10 - haunting and scary. The ending still gives me chills. I give you hope, here's the rope ...
The Unforgettable Fire - 10/10 - a masterpiece of sound. Nothing more need be said.
Promenade/4th Of July/Bad - 10/10 - they're one song, I keep telling you! You can't rate them separately. The whole album flows, but these three in particular seem glued together. Incredible songs. What more can I say?
Indian Summer Sky - 9/10 - hints at what was to come with Streets. Under-rated song that sounds brilliant and sure is atmospheric.
Elvis Presley And America - 8.5/10 - talk about improvisational talent!
MLK - 10/10 - touching and beautiful.

Greatest album ever made.

I once made my own custom UF that I thought had a great tracklist ... I'll have to find it.
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Old 07-12-2004, 07:34 PM   #12
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I think "War" was their first masterpiece. To me that album is perfect in almost every way. I even like Red Light and Refugee, which everyone else seems to despise.

I can't decide if UF is a masterpiece or not. I think it's definitely underrated by a lot of people, though.

JT and AB are definitely masterpieces.
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Old 07-12-2004, 07:40 PM   #13
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First Masterpiece?

Song - Bad
Album - Joshua Tree
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Old 07-12-2004, 09:52 PM   #14
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War and end of the discussion
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Old 07-12-2004, 11:48 PM   #15
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"Boy" was a brilliant first album - it still sounds fresh today.

"War" was solid, but as it followed along the same path as "Boy" and "October", I can't really call it a masterpiece. If anything, it was simply a perfection of that sound.

UF is one of my favorites and arguably their first masterpiece.

AB was a wonderful shift from the holy roller JT/R&H era. The only thing I really liked from the JT/R&H era was Bono's fantastic, rich voice. Of course, it was the overuse of that voice that nearly cost him his career. Fortunately, Bono sounds SO much better now - but I digress. AB was an outstanding album full of some of Bono's best lyrics and Edge's best playing. A second masterpiece.

JT deserves mention partly because it stood out for its time. It does have some great Bono writing and singing. However, I don't really feel it's a masterpiece. Like "War", I feel JT is more of a perfecting of the themes and sounds U2 originally created on UF.

"Zooropa" and "Pop" have their moments, but both are inconsistent.

ATYCLB is arguably U2's third masterpiece. It combined ALL of the sounds U2 had created throughout their career into a beautifully flowing album. If it had just one or two more "rocking" songs, I think everyone would think it was a masterpiece - but instead, there's debate about it. Oh well.
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Old 07-12-2004, 11:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
First Masterpiece?

Song - Bad
Album - Joshua Tree




I'd have to agree
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:01 AM   #17
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War was their first flawless album, so it's their first masterpiece.
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:24 AM   #18
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Wow, you guys are all going for the "abstract" masterpiece. UF is a great album, it has some classic songs on it, but a "masterpiece"? Hmmm, I dunno I'd have to give that to The Joshua Tree.

I mean a masterpiece (in album terms) is a group of songs where each song, or a large number of those songs can stand on their own and don't lose their sense of relevance in time. While "Pride", "TUF", and "Bad" are all great songs the rest of the bunch don't quite come up to snuff with those three or even to the first song on the Joshua Tree.

I'm not UF bashing, this is an album I still listen to it a lot to this day, but I consider it more of an apprenticeship before the big breakthrough (not commercial breakthrough, artistical).
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:56 AM   #19
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JT first masterpiece!
Achtung Baby u2 last masterpiece.

war is great so is boy and uf and even R&H(+the movie).

IF some one says atyclb is a masterpiece then you just have to go out a bit more and see the world
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Old 07-13-2004, 03:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Reggie Thee Dog
Wow, you guys are all going for the "abstract" masterpiece. UF is a great album, it has some classic songs on it, but a "masterpiece"? Hmmm, I dunno I'd have to give that to The Joshua Tree.
JT has Trip Through Your Wires. Despite one's opinion on that song, it does ruin the flow. UF flows flawlessly. Enough said.
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