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U2 – Boy

30 05 2010

Listened: Friday May 28

Some people don’t realize Boy has two covers. The top one is the international cover (and the Boy is the same boy as on the later War album). The bottom one is the US cover. The story behind the change is that the record company thought the original was too pedophiliac for the US audience. Silly.

Luckily for me, a trip to Australia in high school coincided with my desire to purchase the last U2 album I didn’t yet own – Boy – so I own the international “real” version.

This album is both miles away from modern U2 and similar all at once. Lots of the guitar licks obviously have an early version of the signature “U2 sound”. However, the songs are punkier and less anthemic and funky than later U2. After I got familiar with Joy Division‘s catalog I could really hear their influence in early U2, especially the bass lines.

Thematically the lyrics touch on growing up and aging but not wanting to leave childhood behind:

“A boy tries hard to be a man”

“In the shadow, boy meets man”

“Into the heart, into the heart of a child, I can’t go back”

“A picture in gray, Dorian Gray”

“Boy, stupid boy, Don’t sit at the table, Until you’re able to.”

Boy is an album unashamed to be written and performed by 20 year olds, which, in a modern world so full of adults writing lyrics for teenagers, is refreshing.

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2 responses

30 07 2010
Joy Division – Heart and Soul « Emily's Albums A to Z

[…] After I saw the film, I wanted to own as much Joy Division as I could, and this 4 disc box set contains all the officially released albums and b-sides, as well as some unreleased and live stuff. Listening to all 4 discs straight is a bit taxing, but well worth the time. It’s clear how much this short lived band influenced much of alternative rock to come – until I heard their whole catalog I didn’t realize how much Joy Division influenced early U2. […]

30 06 2012
U2 – War « Emily's Albums A to Z

[…] sure Achtung Baby was my first U2 and Boy was the last of the historical albums I acquired. But in between I’ve lost track of how […]

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