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4.4 out of 5 stars51
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 20 November 2014
This is the debut album from U2 , an unknown band from Dublin whose music can probably be best described as new wave . It's not their first contribution to the world of music and had released several singles in their own country . As a massive U2 junkie / completist in the mid 1980s I hunted down their early singles exclusive to Ireland and was rather disappointed by their early stuff . By no means bad those early tracks lacked any sort of polish or sheen and don't hint at a band who had any pretence to longevity . Three of these early tracks namely Twilight , Out Of Control and Stories For Boys appear on this debut album and it's very obvious indeed that producer Steve Lillywhite takes a massive amount of credit for creating the early band's sonic soundscape . What were very basic demo tracks become very different songs indeed

Now I'm not going to come on here and say that's a bad thing because this is a very accomplished album and has a timeless quality . A combination of producer vision and streamlined passion from the band combine to make an unpretentious album that would have sounded great in 1977 , 1987 , 1997 or 2027 . In other words it's an album that has a timeless quality

The opening track I Will Follow is basically three chords but is a track that is genuinely life affirming . It's my favourite track from the band and is my all time favourite song . Enough said . Twilight is entirely different from the B side single release while the two other previously released tracks Out Of Control and Stories For Boys are again superior thanks to Lillywhite . . The album finishes with Shadows And Tall Trees and if you've heard the early demos on youtube you'll realise once again that the producer has turned it in to an entirely different moody track that brings a closure to album in much the same as a sunset brings closure to a day

There's a theme to this album , one of wild eyed innocence of childhood about to give way to the angst ridden universe of adolescence . This mirrors life when we often look back to our childhood days and wish we were back there and on a contextual level as a fan of U2 I often wish they'd kept this sound . One problem with hindsight hat seems shocking is that the band used iconography of a young boy in their early years . The American distributors were frightened by this and changed the cover art for the American release of Boy and with hindsight this iconography was rather dodgy and there's no way an up and coming band would get away with this now

But imagery aside it's the music that matters and this is a classic album and an accomplished debut . It opens with an intense mind blowing track and closes with a brooding and introspective one and the tracks in between are almost all equal in their intensity . While not being a commercial success it remains one of the band's best albums and is nothing less than a timeless classic
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on 16 October 2006
U2 would never allow the re-structuring of any album so the fact that Into the Heart has gone from the listing and I will Follow has moved to the bottom must be a mis-print or admin error as all other sellers I find online are showing the orginal listing.

This will always be my favorite album of all time. I was 21 when I bought This and October on the day that October came out. It was a time when New Wave was turning into New Romantics and new 'rock' needed rescuing. So along came U2. As is sometimes common with debut albums, this is a 'greatest hits' of early U2. Out of Control, Stories for boys, Twilight being the only songs from a catalogue of early singles that were re-recorded with Steve Lillywhite for this album. Other songs like my favorite 'Electric Co.' culled from live sets. It was a 5* album at the time making all of the music papers top listings for the year and although now I see Actung Baby as their pinnacle musically I will always go back to the days when this couldn't leave my turntable or car cassette. Its one of those classic can't take off albums where each track flows effortlessly into the next and every track gap seems perfectly timed.
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on 21 April 2005
This album from start to finish flows with such great energy and joy that you feel that you are a 'boy' again. It is U2 at their most innocent and fragile time and there is just four young energetic guys giving it all they've got. U2 may have made some better stuff since but they will never be able to make something so original and beautiful as BOY. The two main songs I feel being 'I Will Follow' and 'Out of Control' which are U2 through and through. Edge's guitar is majestic and Bono's voice quite frankly the most pure voice I have ever heard in rock and roll. Larry and Adam are also superb and their massive talent is clearly evident from their first album. I don't feel there is any songs that really stand out, the album just flows from song to song in this fantastic up beat nature that brings out the BOY in you. Fantastic!
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on 1 August 2007
It's 1980 and getting towards the start of a new era of music, it was Post Punk. U2 had been doing the scene for around 5 years before this album was ever released due to there inabilty to get it right live when it mattered most (when music execs came to watch). They got the album out thanks to Island records, and thank god they did, because without U2 my own mucisical journey wouldn't be where it is today, and i'm sure that can be mirrored by thousands of other music lovers. It was an album purley about childhood and growing up and realising what may lay ahead, the band were no where near the final product but you can see where they were heading with this, it was how Bono put it "three cords and the truth"

Get this album... even if it's your first U2 album, It'll suprise you.

stand out tracks are....

I will follow
Into the heart
Elecric co
Out of Control
A Day Without Me

Buy it and enjoy it.
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on 6 October 2014
I've always had the feeling that many people have U2 all wrong (Mark Kermode, I'm looking at you). It's a joy to go back to the source, their only deceptively stripped down debut album (one reviewer at the time saying “the production is so ambitious its hard to know what to make of it”). One of the great debut albums for sure, and one of the great albums about adolescence – not the obvious sex and drugs kind, either. At once a headlong charge of optimism and yet tinged throughout with melancholy (that would become a occasionally little over-wrought in the follow-up, October) and even fear.

U2 had been playing for four years when their debut was released, and this 2 disc affair offers glimpses of the path that led them there, all manna from heaven for the true early-U2 devotee. All present and correct are their first 3 track ep on CBS and its follow up Another Day, and then the track that topped the Hot Press annual readers poll for years, 11 O Clock Tick Tock helmed by Joy Division producer Martin Hammet and its B side. All more angular, more self-consciously New Wave than the album which was to come, good in their own right but missing the unique essence that Lillywhite was able to coax out of the band, even when the songs were the same (Out Of Control / Stories For Boys).

But back even further it goes – Cartoon World was an early favourite but was never recorded and features here in a live version occasionally drowned in feedback – no electronic rose-tinted touching up here. And no Street Missions – their first awkward anthem - in this version sadly.

Then there's 2 tracks recorded for the Boy sessions but dropped – an early live instrumental, Speed of Life was a wise one to let go as it didn't reflect their new found confidence-amid-emotional-fragility, while Saturday Night which splintered off into October's Fire with a new melody and lyric from Bono on the one hand, while the solo'd guitar drowned in reverb ended up as an early easter egg at the end of Shadows and Tall Trees (and happily restored here, missing from the earlier CD version). Actually this version works perfectly well to me though – I might even prefer it to Fire for its typically Boy-ish fragility. Then there's an interesting if slightly less magical alternative mix of I Will Follow, with much less glock but with a frantic acoustic guitar and more ambient distorted guitar in its place. An early slightly fumbling recording of Twilight, and raw live versions of Boy / Girl and 11 O Clock Tick Tock recorded at one of their legendary early London gigs.

In some ways, this remains my favourite U2 album. The wide-eyed innocence of The Boy on the cover, reflected perfectly in the music itself, all possibilities lying before both.
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on 20 November 2010
"Boy" is the debut release from U2, one of the greatest bands in the world from the 80's on. The original album was released on October 20th of 1980, but this particular item is the Deluxe Edition, which was released on July 21st of 2008. In some cases a debut album defines a group's sound, but in my opinion "Boy" probably sounds the least like U2 of any of their albums. That is not to say that it doesn't sound like U2 at all, or that the songs were written by anyone outside the band, but instead that one can hear how other groups influenced them more on this album than on their later albums where they have better defined their own sound.

The original album is on Disc One of this two-disc set. The first track is "I Will Follow", and unlike some of the other pieces it would be a song which helps define U2s sound. It is a song about a mother's unconditional love, written after his own mother had passed away. "Twilight" is the first song which takes on the major theme of the album, which is adolescence. "An Cat Dubh" (Black Cat) is a song which demonstrates the contrast between beauty and danger and it is linked to "Into the Heart" a song which is more about the innocence of childhood. "Out of Control finishes off the first half of the original album and it deals with the feeling that one has no control over one's life.

"Stories for Boys" starts the second half of the album and based on a quote from Bono it is a reaction against popular heroes and images that are impossible to emulate. "The Ocean" is a short piece which seems to be Bono reflecting on his own life and his desire to change the world. "A Day Without Me" is a song about the suicide of Ian Curtis, the Joy Division singer. It is also the first song the group recorded. "Another Time, Another Place" is about teenage sex according to Bono. "The Electric Co." is about electric convulsion therapy which happened to a friend of the band. The album closes (if one ignores the 34 second track which has not title) with "Shadows and Tall Trees" a song about the struggles of boyhood, and a reference to "Lord of the Flies" which is a book about the same subject.

The bonus CD in the Deluxe edition offers fans some additional treasures. It opens with a slightly different version of "I Will Follow". This was the first attempt at creating the final mix. Next up is the single "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" which was released in May of 1980, and it is followed the "Touch" single which appeared with it. Next there are a couple of outtakes from the Boy sessions "Speed of Life" and "Saturday Night", the latter of which would eventually appear as "Fire" on their "October" album. Next is a rare instrumental "Things to Make and Do" which was part of their live shows, giving Bono's vocals a rest. This version was the B-Side for the "A Day Without Me" single. Next up are the single versions which appeared on "3", "Out Of Control", "Stories For Boys", and "Boy-Girl". These are followed by the single versions of "Another Day" and "Twilight". Next up are live versions of "Boy-Girl", "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" at the Marquee Club in London, and finishing with a live version of "Cartoon World" which was broadcast live from the National Boxing Stadium in Dublin.
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on 6 May 2008
The U2 of 1980 were a much different band from the U2 we know now. Boy their debut shows them still in a state of development, Bono was still only learning to control his voice, Adam and Larry's parts were incredibly simple and Edge was the only one who had any real mastery over his instrument (however he was still developing his unique style).

What is surprising about this album is that despite their lack of real talent, U2 are still able to make great song after great song. The opener "I Will Follow" is an incredibly simple song, yet still manages to sound full of energy, even the band still love it and continue to play it live. "Twilight" showcases Bono's lyrics which (throughout the whole album) relate to growing up, another thing it showcases is Edge's guitar playing and his ability to play a great guitar solo, something somewhat missing on later U2 albums.

"An Cat Dubh" and "Into The Heart" show a sense of atmosphere which U2 would start to use more and more from The Unforgettable Fire onwards. "Out of Control" which is easily the highlight of the album, shows U2's ability to make a brilliant rocker. The album continues with more solid Post-Punk songs such as the Ian Curtis inspired "A Day Without Me" and the fan favourite "The Electric Co."

The album only features one track which comes short of being great and that is the short mood-piece that is "The Ocean", with the rest of the tracks being great and even brilliant (as with "Out of Control").

Overall, Boy is a brilliant album with no weak spots, which showcases a young band who have more energy than actually talent but somehow manage to make great music anyway.
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on 29 July 2008
Really nice package with some great insights into the early sound of U2.

Unless you happen to have the 6" vinyl singles from the Boy album most of the tracks on the bonus CD will be new to you. Speed of life is an out-take from the Boy session and fits in with the vibe of the album perfectly. There's also killer live versions of Boy/Girl and 11 o'clock tick tock.

The only weird one for me is Cartoon World which is a bit of an oddity.

In terms of cost I think this package is good value. 15 to 17 quid is only a bit more than what you used to pay years ago for a single CD album.

Oh, and the Boy album itself is brilliant.
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on 26 August 2009
Fantastic debut album from U2 that shows amazing maturity for a bunch of guys barely out of school.Although the band's signature sound would come a few years later, this album shows the potential that U2 would go on to fulfil.Steve Lilywhite does a fantastic job with the production and I think this is one of the appealing things about this album, it has a very basic yet enchanting feel to it unlike a lot of the music that was coming out at the time.There's many songs on here that made up U2's live set for the next few years, but apart from the obvious classics like "I Will Follow" and "Out Of Control" there are a few lost gems on here such as "Twilight",the brooding "An Cat Dubh" and "The Ocean" which although is just over a minute long has a wonderful atmosphere and again showcases the band's imagination to full effect.I'm glad to see that a lot of the material on this album has been put back into the "Under A Blood Red Sky" dvd having not made the original cut.A true testament to some great songs,a soundtrack to childhood innocence and a reminder of how creative young people used to be before the i-pod generation!
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on 8 May 2009
If you ever think in loosing your child dreams, listen this.
If you ever think that being pure is not a good thing, listen this.
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