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Weekend Album Review: War

There was a statement behind every song in the album, and a purpose for playing them. This is probably why the tracks are vigorous, and altogether potent.

Photo via wikipedia

Today we feature War, the third studio album of one of the most influential, most famous and celebrated rock bands in the whole wide world, U2!

THE COVER
The cover shows the black and white image of a then even-year-old Irish boy named Peter Rowen. He first appeared on the cover of U2’s debut album, _Boy. That’s what a little boy gets when someone like Bono lives across the street!

THE TRACK LIST
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”

THE MUSIC
U2 is an Irish rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland way back in 1976. This was a time when musicians had to scour from within themselves to hone their talents, a time when YouTube tutorials weren’t available to teach you about chords, riffs, or drum solos.

The band’s would-be-drummer had posted a bulletin, inviting musicians to come together and form a rock band. Yes, they were still in high school, still teenagers, and probably not as superlative as they’ve turned out to be.

Initially there were other guitarists but the lineup was finalized with four mainstays: Bono on lead vocals and guitar; The Edge on guitars, keyboard and backing vocals; Adam Clayton on bass; and Larry Mullen Jr. on drums. Within four years however, they’d signed a record deal and had released their debut album, Boy.

THE MUSIC
War is the album that gave the world a sneak peek into what U2 was truly capable of. The more serious, more ”mature” theme was a large contributing factor to the album’s collective lyrical and sonic growth .

The band’s first two releases, Boy and October, dealt with adolescent musings and spiritual matters respectively. On the other hand, War is aptly titled as such, in reference to its overlying theme—-warfare. And for a band to discuss warfare through their music, you’d expect a powerful voice to speak strong convictions and commanding instrumentation to make things right.

The album opens with a fiery protest. Sunday Bloody Sunday begins with a drum roll expository of the sound of a hi-hat that will resonate throughout. You then hear that raw guitar riff the Edge so craftily created, and then a violin screeching—-oh wait was that just guitar feedback? No, that was a violin!—— building momentum along with the other instruments. And then you hear Bono singing. “I can’t believe the news today/I can’t close my eyes and make it go away/How long/How long must we sing this song…”

He proceeds and gives out details on the horrors brought about by war: “Broken bottles under children’s feet/Bodies strewn across the dead end street/But I won’t heed the battle call..” So much drama, despair and substance, and you’re only on the first track.

Seconds winds down a bit as it supports the outcry of Sunday Bloody Sunday. Upon hearing the third track, New Year’s Day, your eyes are awe-stricken round circles again. The piano sets the mood an haunts you; the Edge pumps so much testosterone into his guitar handiwork . You know it’s a song you will remember.

The songs in War sound stronger, harder than the band’s previous and subsequent work. There was a statement behind every song in the album, and a purpose for playing them. This is probably why the tracks are vigorous, and altogether potent.

“War seemed to be the motif for 1982. Everywhere you looked, from the Falklands to the Middle East and South Africa, there was war. By calling the album War we’re giving people a slap in the face and at the same time getting away from the cozy image a lot of people have of U2.”
- Bono

U2 is a band that your dad, older brother or boss probably listened and still listens to, and War is an album that set things in stone for them. If you can find a copy on the rack of your favorite record store consider yourself lucky. If you can’t, then go ask someone with keen musical taste if he has the album.

Till next week’s Weekend Music Review!

Like this article? Read more from our Weekend Album Review series. You might also like our Put Your Headphones on Friday playlists!

written by jillytanrad

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