Boy (1980)


 
1. I Will Follow 2. Twilight 3. An Cat Dubh 4. Into the Heart 5. Out of Control 6. Stories for Boys 7. The Ocean 8. A Day Without Me 9. Another Time, Another Place 10.The Electric Co. 11. Shadows and Tall Trees

 

There are very few bands in the history of rock n roll that know success the way U2 knows it. Virtually everything they have touched, and continue to touch in their 30+ year career has turned to gold. They have experimented, to the chagrin of very few, with many different styles during their tenure, but they have always had a strong brand that resonates with so many people all over the globe.

Probably the easiest box to put these four Irishmen into would be new wave - although that moniker really is only applicable to their first few records. When this record came out, they were nowhere close to anything mainstream, and they didn't exactly make a splash popularity wise on this, or their next few, albums. No, these guys were a treasured secret among a very few in the early days - but years later, when the masses discovered their earlier works, this record served to many as the best of the best. That says a lot when you consider just how successful these guys have always been.

On this record, the guys are barely out of their teens, yet they know how to perform with incredible energy on this first batch of songs. The vibrancy on this record would never be matched by anything they would do in the years to come. Perhaps it simply can't happen again - especially since the guys are now in their fifties. This is the most dance-able, frolicking, party-sounding record that just about anyone had ever done. I can only imagine what attending one of their shows in the very early days was like. I doubt anyone could sit still for more than a minute. The songs on this album are from the time when the band was their most innocent. The lyrical themes, although well thought out, weren't serious at this point to classify them as a political and/or religious band yet, which may be why the record is so appealing. You could rightly argue that the guys would get too serious in the years to come. Although it never really affected the quality of the music, it could tend to bog things down a bit.

None of that is here. The songs are all just a thrill to dance along to, especially side one. Although this album only contains one song that most know (I Will Follow), that one song is not any better than the majority of the songs featured. Out of Control is probably my favorite, although it really is hard to pick a best of the best here. Twilight and The Electric Co. also have the same high energy feel. There's only one spot on the album that seems less than spectacular, and that would be Another Time, Another Place, that for me, probably could have been swapped out for a different song. I only say this since the band had a treasure trove of material for their first album, yet were forced to cherry pick due to time constraints. Fortunately, there would be many other opportunities to legally hear a lot more from the bands early, unassuming days.

Most die-hard fans of the band would rank this debut among their top five. You may argue that they had better records (they did), but this freshmen effort is incredibly solid.

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