Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


U2 — Your Favorite?

posted by Scot McKnight

Bono.jpg

I don’t know U2, and evidently this puts me totally out of sync with the rest of the world. 
So, I need an introduction to U2 and their music. 
What’s the best? 
But … I do know this one: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.


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MatthewS

posted October 30, 2009 at 1:53 pm


You might recognize more than you think. I like many of their songs. Sunday Bloody Sunday is not a happy song but musically fun to listen to. Many others. Gloria has some Latin lyrics – that’s cool! A live version of Gloria is on Under A Blood Red Sky.
A fun one that is mostly Johnny Cash with a little U2 is The Wanderer (http://www.last.fm/music/U2/_/The+Wanderer?autostart)
I don’t own very much music but recently purchased No Line on the Horizon. I also really like Rattle and Hum and The Best of 1980-1990.
My wife will remark that U2 sounds like Coldplay, just to draw a scornful scowl from me. (I like Coldplay fine, but it is they who sound like U2 if any comparison is to be made!)
You can see U2’s albums here: http://www.last.fm/music/U2/+albums If you click on an album, it will have a list of songs you can play (some albums allow more songs than others to be played on this site).



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Chris

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm


The album “Achtung Baby” is a great place to get to know their music. It’s 18 years old and still figures prominently into their live concerts.



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Charles Burge

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm


IMHO – The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree are required listening to understanding the depth and full approach of the band to projects…
…but the two Best of CDs provide a decent overview.
Watching the Rose Bowl concert on YouTube is recommended.



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Ted

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm


Check out U2 18 singles compilation. Good intro.
Saw band recently in Norman, OK. Quite the visual experience.
U2 is great art for art’s sake, but it bums me out when people say, as they often do, that experiencing U2 supersedes their local church worship.



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T

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:22 pm


Scot! Goodness, man!! Do yourself a favor and pick up or download the Joshua Tree album as quickly as you can!! And you’d probably also really enjoy several tracks on Everything You Can’t Leave Behind. But I agree with the above comments as well. Rattle & Hum or any live recordings tell you something about them you don’t get from the studio recordings. They performed at the Superbowl after 9-11, which was also a classic U2 moment.



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Michael Patton

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm


Oh my goodness. This is not an easy question to answer. It is like saying, “I am new to theology. What should I know?”
You have the spiritual U2, the political U2, and the U2 in their Ecclesiastes phase.
Boy: When U2 first started. Idealistic and Spiritual.
Under a Blood Red Sky: The best of the political phase and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (a must know)
Joshua Tree and Auchtung Baby: Where they became the World’s Greatest Rock Band among the population. Must listen to: “With or Without You” “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “One”
Pop: Where many U2 fans bailed in the nineties. They seemed to have lost their way. I believe, while this is the least popular, this is their most heart felt album. I tell people that U2, in Pop, was emerging when emerging was not cool. Very Gospel oriented, but suffering and scares are evident. Check out “Wake Up Dead Man” and “Playboy Mansion.” Two of my favorites. I identified much here when my mother was in the hospital.
Their three last albums, are really good and have classic such as “Beautiful day” “Grace” and “Yahweh”. They present the group in a resurrected stability. Much more mature U2.
BTW: There is not a single person on the earth who loves U2 more than me. You can ask God. When Bono wants to know the meaning of his own songs, he calls me.
Here is a category on my blog for them: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/category/u2/
:)
Michael



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Linda Gilmore

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:34 pm


I’ve always liked U2, but I’ve appreciated them more as I’ve gotten older — I think I appreciate the depth of their music more. I’ve really enjoyed their last three albums (All that You Can’t Leave Behind, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, and No Line on the Horizon). But you should also go with some of the suggestions for their earlier albums.
I will say that one thing that really struck me on their most recent album (No Line on the Horizon) is a sense of Bono giving his all (even when some of the high notes are getting almost out of range). There’s an exuberance that comes through, at least for me, that I love. On the song Breathe, when he sings “I’ll sing my heart out,” I can tell he really is (and I have to sing along, too).



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Bob Young

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm


Start with The Joshua Tree – it was a revelation and a culmination of things their earlier albums hinted at. Feel free to go forward to Rattle & Hum (which treads old ground as an homage to American music) and backward to The Unforgettable Fire and earlier (to see why The Joshua Tree is so great).
Achtung Baby is the next brilliant revelation, when they started to shift perspective and reinvent themselves. You’ll wonder if it’s the same band; it is. Feel free to listen to Zooropa and Pop if you want, but they aren’t essential, just interesting.
All That You Can’t Leave Behind would be next, as it retains all that was good about each of their earlier phases but with a renewed lyrical vision and focus that continued in How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb and No Line On The Horizon.
In The Joshua Tree and All That You Can’t Leave Behind you’ll hear their impact on contemporary worship; in Achtung Baby you’ll hear something else that I believe is even more compelling, including one of their greatest songs (One), an amazing song from Judas’ perspective (Until The End Of The World), and my story (Acrobat).



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MatthewS

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm


Linda alludes to something important about U2: they don’t mail it in. They don’t sound as if they are playing a template. Their music sounds “real.”



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Dave Leigh

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:42 pm


I’ve always been partial to Yahweh – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyzPtjIP2eo
And When Love Comes to Town (with BB King) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th1kQER770M



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RJS

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm


I guess I am out of touch with the rest of the world as well…I know what U2 is and that’s about it. A part of a song was played as a part of a sermon once. I think that about defines my experience (the I still haven’t found song alluded to in the post).
Perhaps I’ll have to give their music a listen with one of the suggestions here.



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Michael Patton

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm


Bob, Acrobat is all of our stories!! Good word brother.



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Monica Kolkman

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm


Agrees with most above. Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby and Rattle & Hum is probably my favorites. But How to dismantle an atomic bomb and the latest album is great too.
“Yahweh” is a personal favorite and something I often listen to when I need to be reminded not to give up working for the Kingdom of God.
One the new album “I?ll go crazy if I don?t go crazy tonight” has a similar effect on me.
You can reed all lyrics on their website and Youtube has A LOT of U2,for example their recent concert in LA
http://www.u2.com/discography/lyrics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4QLFVrZ-fw



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James McGrath

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:54 pm


Have a listen to “40” (it is basically Psalm 40).
Presumably you’ve heard “With Or Without You”?
Another older classic of theirs you should listen to is “In The Name Of Love”.



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Marc

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:54 pm


I never know whether to say a person should start at The Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby. They are very different albums, but both brilliant. The Joshua Tree soars more at an emotional level, but Achtung Baby is probably a more cohesive album. Of course, “One” may be the best pop/rock song ever written, so perhaps for that reason alone a person should buy Achtung Baby first.
I see nobody has mentioned Zooropa, which was certainly a departure for the band, but, over time, has become one of my favourites. But I would not recommend starting there.
Pop is also an excellent album. It’s my understanding that it was rushed to press and so is a somewhat incomplete album (they’ve mentioned “finishing” it some day). It certainly has the feel of being incomplete at a production level.
I’m thrilled that U2 is back on top in terms of popularity, after dipping off the radar (as far as that is possible with U2) with Zooropa, Pop (and, I suppose, Passengers). However, I think the post-Pop U2 (All That You Can’t Leave Behind and following) is a different U2 is a different U2 in some respect. Somehow they feel different: perhaps it’s the confidence infusing their music. I wonder if the angst or self-doubt or what have you of their earlier music just moved me more.



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T

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:54 pm


RJS! Goodness woman!! As quickly as you can!!
:)



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Deets

posted October 30, 2009 at 2:57 pm


It would be hard to find a bad U2 album, but I’d start with Joshua Tree. It is my favorite album ever.



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Scott M. Collins

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm


Quote from one of my Seminary profs in 2004: “There’s more theology in U2’s music than in any of contemporary Christian music.”



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MattR

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm


Great suggestions everyone here…
And as with most artists that have been around for years, there are almost several canons within their musical canon!
Scot,
Song wise, I’d suggest the classics:
‘Where the Streets Have no Name’
‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’
‘One’
‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’
‘Until the End of the World’
and the more recent:
‘Beautiful Day’
‘Walk On’
‘Stuck in a Moment That You Can’t Get Out of’
‘Grace’
Anyone read some of the U2 theology out there?
http://www.amazon.com/Walk-Spiritual-Journey-Steve-Stockman/dp/0976035758/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c
http://www.amazon.com/Get-Carry-Each-Other/dp/0664232175/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256929482&sr=1-2



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Clay Knick

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm


“In the Name of Love.”



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Andrew

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:29 pm


To get you in touch with the range of U2, I’d recommend starting with a listen to Joshua Tree and then Actung Baby. Joshua Tree in some ways represents the pinnacle of their early years, and then their next studio album Achtung Baby represents a (the?) major shift to another side of U2 music.
This is a major oversimplication, since they went through many transitions/innovations, but these two back to back represent some of the best of both.



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David B. Johnson

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:30 pm


1) Where the Streets Have No Name
2) Pride In the Name of Love
3) One (Partial to the U2 – Mary J. Blige Duet)
4) Miracle Drug
5) Walk On
For a good intro to the Spirituality of U2 try, “The Gospel According to U2: We Get to Carry Each Other”



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RJS

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm


T (#16)
I know, I’ve just labeled myself as “old timer” or “science nerd.”
One click shopping on amazon – download and go.



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MattR

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:40 pm


Scot,
Even if it’s not your thing musically, you have to listen to a few songs from this influential band!
Lyrics that are beautiful, haunting, & deep spiritually/theologically…
And music that has influenced most of ‘alternative rock’… and, let’s face it, most of modern worship music is just a bad U2 impersonation (won’t name names here)! :)



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John Brentlinger

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm


When Love Comes to Town with B. B. King from Rattle and Hum is almost a revival song. Catch the performances on YouTube.



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U2 Addict

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:08 pm


Having sacrificed sleep and sat in the freezing cold for 12 hours two days ago to secure a front row spot for their show in Vancouver, I can say that U2 is one of the most significant influences in my life and especially in shaping how I understand my faith. My favorite song of all time is Until the End of the World, from Achtung Baby. It’s the Jesus/Judas story, told from the perspective of Judas. Raises some really thought-provoking questions, not the least of which is, what if Judas had repented of his betrayal?
Often Bono and Edge role play it in concert, with Bono using his fingers as devil horns and the Edge – guitar hero – as the Jesus figure. Check out the youtube link I included with this post. Intense performance, and I think the highlight of every U2 show.



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Rick

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm


Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Great reflections about the Irish/British “Troubles”.
When Love Comes to Town. Hard to beat U2 and B.B. King (and “Lucille”) together, singing “when they crucified my Lord”.
P.S. Should have figured the Michael Patton would jump in on this one :^)



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John

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm


Joshua Tree is the first album I would listen to for an introduction. You need to listen to the whole album all the way through. It has a little bit of everything that comes to full manifestation in their later albums.



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Mich

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm


Rick,
Amen brother–“Sunday Bloody Sunday.”



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Dave Weidlich

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm


The best starting place is to watch the movie/DVD – Rattle and Hum. Their best music is included with great drama.
I experienced a U2 concert at Staples Arena in Denver – not the same one that was filmed for the movie, but near the same time. It was the most amazing concert experience – standing on our seats the whole time, the stadium singing Psalm 40, hearing Bono sing Amazing Grace. Rattle and Hum captures part of that.



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Andy Rowell

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm


Scot and RJS,
I’m mostly with you two. With theology and baseball (science–RJS), who has time for music? Scot, when people ask you how you blog and write and teach and speak so much, this can now become part of your answer–I don’t listen to U2.
But despite my similar theology/baseball proclivities, I have been won over by U2–perhaps because they like the other two reward attentiveness while still having some popular appeal.
Not surprisingly it was a book that helped me like them more–Luther Seminary theologian Chris Scharen’s One Step Closer.
Essentially, Scharen argues that they are as explicitly Christian as they can be without turning people off. I know this will annoy the artists but we theologians would say they are intentionally doing pre-evangelism. They teach people the best of Christianity (social justice, lament, global sensibilities, joy, gratefulness, grace, the cross, and Jesus) and those who are interested, dig deeper.
For a theologian like Scot or RJS, honestly you guys are probably better off just reading the lyrics and seeing what they are on about. “Baby” or “You” almost always signify an address to God. Virtually every song has something substantive to say expressing the Christian faith. I found the concert astoundingly worshipful.
I blogged a bit about this a few weeks back at:
http://www.andyrowell.net/andy_rowell/2009/09/resources-for-theological-reflection-on-u2.html



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Brad

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm


Without questions start with “Joshua Tree.” The best “album” of all time. Second is “Rattle and Hum” the album, and the movie. After that I would go to “Achtung Baby.”



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pds

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:37 pm


Start with Joshua Tree.
Then Achtung Baby.
Lots of other songs here and there are great. I could go on and on, but I see others have already.
Layers of meaning. Listen to Mysterious Ways and think about John the Baptist and Salome.



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Andy Rowell

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm


Scot,
I also wondered if by naming “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” as the song you are familiar with you were wondering about the legitimacy of their Christian faith because it seems vaguely agnostic at first glance. Scharen deals with this question on pages 125-128 of One Step Closer. Scharen argues that the song is meant to convey to happy, clappy, health and wealth gospel Christians that there is still a significant element of longing in true Christian faith. We haven’t arrived yet. Not all is well.
Romans 8:24-25 “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
I think one could debate whether they emphasize too much the sense of longing and doubt–the “not yet” (what Scharen calls “theology in a minor key” associated with Martin Luther’s theology of the cross (p. 13))–in their work but I am pretty convinced that this indeed what they are up to.
Here is the end of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For:
I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
But yes I’m still running
You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Oh my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
Amen.



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Andy Rowell

posted October 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm


Scot,
I also wondered if by naming “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” as the song you are familiar with you were wondering about the legitimacy of their Christian faith because it seems vaguely agnostic at first glance. Scharen deals with this question on pages 125-128 of One Step Closer. Scharen argues that the song is meant to convey to happy, clappy, health and wealth gospel Christians that there is still a significant element of longing in true Christian faith. We haven’t arrived yet. Not all is well.
Romans 8:24-25 “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
I think one could debate whether they emphasize too much the sense of longing and doubt–the “not yet” (what Scharen calls “theology in a minor key” associated with Martin Luther’s theology of the cross (p. 13))–in their work but I am pretty convinced that this indeed what they are up to.
Here is the end of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For:
I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
But yes I’m still running
You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Oh my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
Amen.



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Jeff

posted October 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm


I would have to agree with Brad and several others that their best two albums are The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum. If you want a good overview of their hits, 18 Singles is also recommended. But the band has much depth beyond the radio hits.



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Andy Rowell

posted October 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm


And this is the music video people need to be watching. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by u2 with a Harlem choir
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X7QGCmIZl0



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Jay Davis

posted October 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm


Check out a U2charist either on the web or at a church.



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Michael

posted October 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm


Anyone who tries to convince me that U2 is worth the devotion they seem to engender among their fans is immediately suspect in my book. As soon as someone tells me U2 is their favorite band, everything they say is suspect from there on.



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Your Name

posted October 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm


Michael is suspicious of anyone who claims U2 to be their favorite? I’m not a big fan of U2 but I’m still willing to give them “the benefit of the doubt” and the fact is that their music is more accessible than some if not many Christian musicians.
“Pride” is one of my favorites by them though it is of sad subject matter. Having said that, one of the best recordings of gospel by a mainstream group is the Ides of March’s “All Join Hands”. Elvis’ gospel recordings are also among my favorites.
It has been through exploration and the help of friends that I’ve become more aware of gospel music, local radio is completely a failure at introducing such music to the people. I find it hard to listen, when I do, to the local Christian music station as they appear to fail, like the mainstream radio stations, their listeners.



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Patrick

posted October 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm


Beliefnet needs to fix this posting feature.



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Willie Krischke

posted October 30, 2009 at 6:02 pm


I’ve always heard the entirety of “Achtung Baby” as being songs about, and to, the Church–
You’re the real thing/even better than the real thing
In the garden I was playing the tart
I kissed your lips and broke your heart.
You, you were acting like it was the end of the world.
Well you tell me things
I know you’re not supposed to
Then you leave me just out of reach.
Who’s gonna ride your wild horses?
Who’s gonna drown in your blue sea?
Who’s gonna ride your wild horses?
Who’s gonna fall at the foot of thee?
The men who love you, you hate the most
They pass right through you like a ghost.
They look for you, but your spirit is in the air.
Baby, you’re nowhere.
She’s the wave, she turns the tide
She sees the man inside the child…
she moves in mysterious ways
Sunrise like a nose-bleed, your head hurts and you can’t breathe
You been tryin’ to throw your arms around the world.
How far are you gonna go before you lose your way back home
You been tryin’ to throw your arms around the world.
You bury your treasure where it can’t be found
But your love is a secret that’s been passed around.
And I’d join the movement
If there was one I could believe in
Yeah, I’d break bread and wine
If there was a church I could receive in.
‘Cause I need it now.
To take the cup
To fill it up, to drink it slow.
I can’t let you go.



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Jacques

posted October 30, 2009 at 6:28 pm


U2’s music is worth looking into. It’s pretty uplifting most of the time will a good measure of yearning and some pertinent questions raised.
“U2charist” is just ridiculous. Bono has often admitted to being a lousy example of Christianity and makes no pretence to be any kind of role model for fellow Christians… His and fellow U2 members belief is a strictly personal type of Christianity.
By all means enjoy the music. But. In the end of the day U2 are fallible rock stars.
Cheers
JQ



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Jacques

posted October 30, 2009 at 6:32 pm


U2’s music is worth looking into. It’s pretty uplifting most of the time will a good measure of yearning and some pertinent questions raised.
“U2charist” is just ridiculous. Bono has often admitted to being a lousy example of Christianity and makes no pretence to be any kind of role model for fellow Christians… His and fellow U2 members belief is a strictly personal type of Christianity.
By all means enjoy the music. But. In the end of the day U2 are fallible rock stars.
Cheers
JQ



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Mary Bush

posted October 30, 2009 at 6:59 pm


I’m partial to Love Rescue Me. I liked this 20 years ago just musically speaking, but more recently when I have listened to it, I hear it as someone crying out for God’s love to rescue…



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Ted M. Gossard

posted October 30, 2009 at 7:10 pm


Wow. What a thread!
You have me convinced, one who now buys only classical albums, though I still do like some rock and other kinds of music. But maybe I will pick up Joshua Tree and go from there. I do like some of what I’ve caught from them, but I can see that I only understood a small surface of what their music is about. I look forward to learning more, and after all, I do like what I’ve heard in their sound. Certainly good for a Friday night!



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Your Name

posted October 30, 2009 at 7:11 pm


Wow. What a thread!
You have me convinced, one who now buys only classical albums, though I still do like some rock and other kinds of music. But maybe I will pick up Joshua Tree and go from there. I do like some of what I’ve caught from them, but I can see that I only understood a small surface of what their music is about. I look forward to learning more, and after all, I do like what I’ve heard in their sound. Certainly good for a Friday night!



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Ted M. Gossard

posted October 30, 2009 at 7:12 pm


Wow. What a thread!
You have me convinced, one who now buys only classical albums, though I still do like some rock and other kinds of music. But maybe I will pick up Joshua Tree and go from there. I do like some of what I’ve caught from them, but I can see that I only understood a small surface of what their music is about. I look forward to learning more, and after all, I do like what I’ve heard in their sound. Certainly good for a Friday night!



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denise

posted October 30, 2009 at 7:51 pm


i’m a new U2 fan.
the songs “Yahweh” and “Magnificent” have become favorites.
Lyrics for “Yahweh”-
Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing
Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn
Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist no
Take this mouth
So quick to criticize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss
Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn
Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean
Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?
Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it pray
and now the lyrics to “Magnificent”-
Magnificent
Oh, oh, magnificent
I was born, I was born
To be with you in this space and time
After that and ever after
I haven’t had a clue only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue, oh, oh
Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
I was born, I was born to sing for you
I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice from the womb
My first cry, it was a joyful noise, oh, oh
Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, oh, oh
Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, magnificent



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Mike M

posted October 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm


“Joshua Tree” for me but I like older and some newer, too. It’s easy to catch the Christian tones of their music but this from “Still Haven’t Found…”
“I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
But yes I’m still running” sounds too New Agey to me and I’d like to find out what Bono’s perspective of “kingdom come” really is.
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” came out when my daughter Ami was 3 or 4 years old. She told me he must have a very dirty bedroom.



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Gary Feister

posted October 30, 2009 at 8:15 pm


Start with “The Joshua Tree” CD. The stuff before that is awesome and great, but it was still adolescent. With “Joshua Tree”, they had completed the transition from adolescence into adulthood, and it comes through on every track.



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Heather

posted October 30, 2009 at 8:58 pm


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/opinion/18bono.html?_r=1
He not only writes lyrics– he can write op-ed.



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Terry Timm

posted October 30, 2009 at 11:12 pm


Start by watching the YouTube concert from LA
“Walk On”
Home is where the heart is…



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Dan Brennan

posted October 30, 2009 at 11:30 pm


Gosh, tough one to limit it to just one song. Probably, “One.’



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Joey Novak

posted October 30, 2009 at 11:36 pm


While Joshua Tree is certainly the most-often-pointed-to album, I would also recommend you balance it with Achtung Baby, which is critically described as “U2 chopping down the Joshua Tree”. It’s different, but in many ways equally important to listen to.
One of the beauties of Joshua Tree, in my opinion, is in the band’s simultaneous criticism of American foreign policy while also preserving a strong appreciation for the American ideal.
All That You Can’t Leave Behind is the third album, after Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, that has earned U2 top marks.
These three albums preserve Bono’s growth as a poet, and the band’s working together to make solid rock music.



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John Loppnow

posted October 31, 2009 at 1:06 am


As a big U2 fan its difficult to say a favorite.
Since many of my favorites will be named I’ll share BREATHE
It is from this album NLOTH (No Line On The Horizon)
You can read the lyrics here. http://nolineonthehorizonlyricsu2.blogspot.com/2009/01/breathe-lyrics-u2-no-line-on-horizon.html
Some that stand out are:
Every day I die again, and again I?m reborn
Every day I have to find the courage
To walk out into the street
With arms out
Got a love you can?t defeat
For me this is talking about the life of sanctification in the Kingdom of God.
Here is how the song ends:
Walk out, into the sunburst street
Sing your heart out, sing my heart out
I?ve found grace inside a sound
I found grace, it?s all that I found
And I can breathe
Breathe now



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David S. Johnson

posted October 31, 2009 at 3:55 am


My favorite song by them is “Stuck in a Moment That You Can’t Get out Of.”
Two full live versions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXt2YCtQINU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbdX94df3OM
A mostly small-scale acoustic live version (apparently from Saturday Night Live, strangely)c:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANk_Fn0mEyY
The studio acoustic version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALw7KRJCMzM



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brambonius

posted October 31, 2009 at 5:17 am


I used to be a big U2 fan, but that has cooled down a bit…
I would say some more obscure songs, like ‘tomorrow’ from october, ‘love rescue me’ (co-writer bob dylan doing backing vocals!!) from rattle&hum, and “until the end of the world”.
But they also have some extremely interesting b-siddes and bootleg-only songs. The woody guthry cover ‘jesus christ’ is extremely cool, and the song ‘north and south of the river’ (about North-ireland) his heartbreakingly beautiful…
shalom
Bram



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Beth Maynard

posted October 31, 2009 at 7:47 am


Scott Calhoun’s review of U2 studies in the new Books and Culture is a great place to look. Read The Spirit had me write a compendium of places to look for theologically minded people who are just getting interested in U2 in conjunction with a piece I did for them on the U2 Academic conference that happened in October, and I think it’s pretty fair and points to resources dealing with several aspects of their work as well as you can do in the word count they wanted, so I’ll just promote my own thing here…. I included some YouTube videos for easy access.
http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/2009/08/bono-u2-and-spirituality-small-group-resources.html
There is a lot of introductory material out there from a Christian point of view. Though the oldest, Steve Stockman’s “Walk On” is still the best and most directly attentive book-length introduction to the band’s history and their real foci and preoccupations on a popular level (in part not just because he’s Irish, but also because he has been following and writing on the band for decades; the other intro books’ authors came to the band’s work far more recently and it shows), and then Rob Vagacs “Relgious Nuts Political Fanatics” on a somewhat more serious level theologically. Steve Catanzarite’s reading of Achtung Baby as a metaphor for the Fall for the 33 1/3 series is interesting and thoughtful, but you need to know the album well already to appreciate it.



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Nance

posted October 31, 2009 at 9:57 am


The 18 Singles compilation probably is the best place to start.
The Joshua Tree is their best known album, with what are probably their three best known tracks, including I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
All That You Can’t Leave Behind is also great, featuring some other of their best known tracks: Beautiful Day, Walk On.
My personal favorite album is How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Therein are some of the (lyrically) most interesting songs. But the 18 Singles album is still probably the best way to go, if you just want to know what everyone else knows and is singing.



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Darren King

posted October 31, 2009 at 1:10 pm


I’m going to go against the grain a little here and say that while I have great respect for Bono, and while I totally recognize the quality of the spectacular live shows puts on by U2, that I find their music actually over-rated. No doubt there are some classic songs: “One” is close to the perfect song. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” is another for the ages. And there are quite a few other songs in the “good” category. But, that said, the majority of the music, probably 80% of it, just doesn’t do all that much for me. I almost *wish* the music spoke to me a little more, because I really want to really like U2 – because they seem like worthy recipients of fandom. But, alas, my mp3 player rarely hears from them.



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Tim Gombis

posted October 31, 2009 at 1:17 pm


Adding to Beth’s comment, here is Scott Calhoun’s interview with Eugene Peterson about the prophetic voice of U2. Brilliant stuff:
http://www.atu2.com/news/bonos-prophetic-vox.html
I saw them in Soldier Field last month and it was transcendant. They’re returning next summer and we’re hoping to take our kids this time!



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hymnia

posted October 31, 2009 at 7:45 pm


My favorites are:
“Beautiful Day”
“With or Without You”
“One”
“Pride (In the Name of Love)”
“Where the Streets Have No Name”
“Sunday Bloody Sunday”



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Marie

posted November 1, 2009 at 11:20 am


You’re best bet is to buy their greatest hits album 1980 – 1990.
It explains all…..



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Robbie

posted November 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm


Our church (Forest Hill Church in Charlotte NC) recently did a sermon series “The Gospel According to U2″. Check it out at: http://www.foresthill.org/
Click on “Message video”
Then scroll down & click “View Past Series”
And scroll across to U2.
A great series of messages!



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Alison

posted November 1, 2009 at 6:17 pm


Gosh, Scot. This is one heck of a question. In short order, get thee to these songs, at least:
City of Blinding Lights
Yahweh
Magnificent
Breathe
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking FOr
40
Mysterious Ways
Original of the Species
Where the Streets Have No Name
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
When the Saints Go In (duet with Green Day after Hurricane Katrina hit)
Pride (In the Name of Love)
Beautiful Day
Grace
One
and last but not least, Walk On (dedicated at one point to Aung San Suu Kyi). This list is not in any order, but if I were to suddenly lose all my iTunes, this is what I’d want to live on. Whoever’s professor said that there’s more theology in U2’s stuff than in CCM is right on the money.



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Eugene

posted November 2, 2009 at 3:53 am


My three year old daughter’s favorite is “Vertigo.” I’ve used that one as a sermon illustration.
I’ve also used “Beautiful Day” in a sermon, too. That song encouraged me a bit after my wife and I began yesterday having to contend with our two sick children. It’s also encouraged me in the past when people I thought I could trust ended up hurting me. Those situations reflect the lyrics, “You thought you found a friend to take you out of this place / Someone you could lend a hand in return for grace / It’s a beautiful day / Don’t let it get away.”



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Patrick

posted November 2, 2009 at 10:34 am


Ultraviolet (light my way)
I can be brought to tears when this comes on in my car- listening to their plead for and testimony to the loving Spirit of God guiding them into new life. (same with Mysterious Ways… both on Achtung Baby.
By the way, the “laser jacket” version of Ultraviolet from the 360 tour is awesome.



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Karl

posted November 2, 2009 at 11:19 am


Eugene Peterson considers them prophets:
http://www.atu2.com/news/bonos-prophetic-vox.html
As for a “best” or “favorite” that’s nearly impossible to say. There are many of their new songs that just blow me away. But my 2 favorite albums are probably still the back-to-back duo of The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. They marked the shift of U2 from a more straightforward, modern band with a message, to their more postmodern phase. The late Dwight Ozard discussed those 2 albums in a “My Top 10 Albums” column several years ago, as follows:
“OK, I?ll be honest. It?s hard for me to pick only two U2 records for this list?I honestly could tack any of the bands 10 albums from the last 20 years on this list and feel like they belong. 1981?s October, for example, remains a landmark for me with its impassioned stretching of cultural boundaries and unashamedly Christian faith, making the angry energy of punk into protestations of joy and hope. To break the tie I did some simple calculations, so I narrowed myself down to the two I listen to most.
“The Joshua Tree was the beginning of the end of the ?old U2?, and on that disc you hear echoes of the very earnest, very Christian, very straight-forward songs of personal and national politics that made the U2 the ?band of 80s? and made them the heroes of fans of exultant arena anthems. At the same time, on this disc you see the band?s movement into a more worldly, ironic, and impressionistic way of thinking.
“Perhaps anchoring the disc is ?Still Haven?t Found What I?m Looking For? in which Bono at once confesses and unfaltering faith in Christ and yet confesses that his experience of faith leaves him unsatisfied and restless for more. For the band’s more conservative fans, this was a hard one to swallow, but for many of us, it was both a moment of self-awareness and a challenge to our journey of faith. I know it was for me, and it solidified my belief that Bono et al are the pop culture prophets of our time.
“Other songs on the record, like the stirring ?Where the Streets Have No Name? juxtapose the struggles of this life and the yearnings for spirituality in our lives. The song chronicles the odd sense of being fully alive that came to Bono and wife Ali after several months of serving in Ethiopian refugee camps after the 1984-86 famine. Ironically, many fans understood the song as a yearning for heaven?when in fact it was a yearning for the hints of the Kingdom of God found in serving the least, the last and the lost.
“Perhaps most interesting on TJT is Bono?s maturing fascination with the prototypical themes of rock and roll, as sex and drugs found their way onto a U2 record. The difference, of course, is that the band wasn?t interested just in ?getting down in the back of a motor car,? but in the results of that indescretion. In short, on TFT U2 was making rock and roll for grown-ups.
Until this year I believed that TJT tour was the single greatest rock moment ever?the band captured the depth of passion of the album and expanded on it in a way that made the audience come together in a kind of community that most churches only dream of. I remember weeping through half the show, wanting to hug almost anyone, to look people in the eyes and say: ?Isn?t life a good thing?? At that moment, and in recollection of it, it surely is.
For however graceful The Joshua Tree was, Achtung Baby!, U2?s first release of the 90?s, was equally troubling. After a movie and live album (Rattle and Hum) and a nearly two year hiatus, U2 had reinvented itself. Gone was the straightforward anthemic sound of the band, and gone too were the obvious message songs. Instead, U2 went to Berlin, where hero David Bowie had made so many ch-ch-changes. There the band created a techno-heavy, high-powered Euro-sound that was as jarring as it was energetic, wrapping it around songs that no longer dripped with sincerity, but instead with layers and layers of irony, mixed-messages and complex metaphor. At first listen it sounded to me like the embrace of rock and roll themes had overwhelmed the band?s sincerity. Even the bands new look?all leather and glam sweat?seemed to mock the furrowed-browed, change-the-world sincerity of the band?s first decade. I went on my radio show after one listen and trashed it thoroughly.
A week later, however, I was back on the radio apologizing, and calling it the greatest rock record ever made. My apology holds?this is a timeless record, one that after a decade still finds something new to offer me, and more important, challenge me. Careful listening revealed the band?s embrace of the ?rock star? thing through this period as a deconstruction of the myth of rock culture?a deconstruction that took full incarnation in Bono?s Zoo-TV tour on-stage characterizations.
But despite Achtung Baby?s dark exterior, 10 years of listening has convinced me that this is among the most ?faith-filled? discs ever made. The difference, of course, is that the songs on Achtung Baby! embrace the pain as well as the pleasure of this increasingly material world?and then finds a way to make compassion as immediate and intimate as the suffering it relieves. Still exciting, and still pure grace to me.



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Matt

posted November 2, 2009 at 12:12 pm


Scott, welcome to the later part of the 20th century (but better late than never. We are glad that you are here!). I think song that I find myself returning to over and over again for the past 25 years has been “Bad”. It comes off of The Unforgettable Fire and at face value it is about a friend of Bono’s who struggled with and finally overdosed on heroine on his 21st birthday. The convergence of voice, band and lyric yield one of the most raw, honest and haunting songs in their entire collection. It is a mixture of power, and powerlessness, inspiration and desperation. It was part of the Psalms I prayed when my mother was dying of brain cancer and became woven into my own struggle with an addiction that threatened to claim everything that meant anything to me. If you have not heard it before I would suggest listening to the 1985 live version found on the Wide Awake in America.
Today I can say:
I’m wide awake
I’m not sleeping



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Mike M

posted November 3, 2009 at 12:58 am


I was initially going to say that there are other mainline artists that semi-cryptically project Christian values into their songs such as later Eric Clapton, Creed, and Linkin Park, until I read Matt@66. Now comes prayer time: God bless you and keep you, Matt. In Jesus’ mighty name.
Amen



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Phantom Dentist

posted November 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm


Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree for fave albums, Where the Streets Have No Name for fave song. Used to sing it quietly as a lullaby for my daughter, who is also a 13 yr old U2 fan now.



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