U2 – Boy (1980)


From the outset, U2 went for the big message, every song on their debut album Boy sounds huge, with oceans of processed guitars cascading around Bono’s impassioned wail. It was an inspired combination of large, stadium-rock beats and post-punk textures. Without the Edge’s echoed, ringing guitar, U2 would have sounded like a traditional hard rock band, since the rhythm section and Bono treat each song as an anthem. Of course, that’s the charm of Boy: all of its emotions are on the surface, delivered with optimistic, youthful self-belief, yet the unusual, distinctive guitar textures give it an unexpected tension that makes it an exhilarating debut. The songs may occasionally show some weakness ? the driving “I Will Follow,” the dark “An Cat Dubh,” and the shimmering “The Ocean” stand out among the sonic textures ? yet the band’s musical and lyrical vision keep Boy compelling until the finish.

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