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Classic album gets beautifully produced box set treatment
on 5 December 2007
For many "The Joshua Tree" is one of the finest rock records made. Others see it as overwrought and overly earnest. But this was a band with a conscience and who on the evidence of this record could write damn fine songs. After the bold experimentation of "The Unforgettable Fire", with its sprawling ambience produced by the winning partnership of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, "The Joshua Tree" was a more focussed affair, with the production more subtle and assured. The remastering on this re-issue, supervised by The Edge, brings out all the details and nuances in the Lanois/Eno soundscape. Just listen to the shimmering sound of The Edge's "infinite guitar" on the intro to "With Or Without You"! Never has it sounded so gorgeous!
The post-Joy Division sound of U2 showed a more classic rock feel on this album, partly due to the American viewpoint the band were aiming at. Though they would make more boundary pushing albums like "Achtung Baby" and "Zooropa", "The Joshua Tree" is a classic album of its type. In some ways it can be seen as part of a trilogy of albums around that time, all produced by Lanois. The others being Peter Gabriel's "So" and Robbie Robertson's self titled album. All shared a certain similar sound, feel and even personnel.
This re-issue is something quite special. The deluxe box edition is a thing of beauty. Containing the original album, another CD containing material recorded at the same sessions and a DVD containing a complete live performance, documentary and videos, each are housed in separate gatefold sleeves. There is also a cardboard folder containing photo prints and a thoroughly informative hardback book with essays by the likes of Brian Eno and The Edge.
Now, if anyone says the future of music is the end of the physical medium such as CD and the complete embrace of the download, making music a faceless commodity, then shoot me now! This package is how music should be treated. It looks good, feels good, sounds good and even smells good!!