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on 27 April 2004
Having followed the band with a passion since 1981, it still irks me that October was and still is to some extent continually slated by reviewers, music mags, authors and even some fans of the band. Recorded during a turbulent period for the band(Bono had his lyrics stolen in the US, pressure was being applied by the Shalom group that Bono, Edge and Larry were part of to disband and concentrate on more Christian based activities thus causing moral dilemas for the three and problems with Adam too, together with other disruptive issues)the emotional uncertainty of these issues seeps through beautifully in the songs and in particular Bono's lyrics. Sure, given the chance to revisit, the band would have tackled a few songs differently(eg Tommorrow was superbly re-recorded by Bono and Adam for the Common Ground compilation)but overall what you get is U2 at their most vunerable with their backs firmly up against wall and in many respects this is when they are at their most powerful. Tracks such as Gloria, I Fall Down, Rejoice, Tomorrow, October and Stranger in a Strange Land are really great tracks. At the age of 15 in 1981, the album was never off my turntable(it was pre CD's folks!) and the ease in which I could relate to the lyrics and 'feel' of the songs still stays with me 23 years on. If you've never delved into their back catalogue, I can assure you that you too will rejoice in the wonderfully uplifting and passionate sounds of October.
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on 9 July 2003
I bought this mainly because it was cheap and I've recently been getting into U2's 80's stuff, so my expectations for this early effort were not huge. However, I was hugely impressed. It hasn't dated nearly as badly as some of the singles from the so-called, "Best of '80 to 90" (which, I'm pretty sure doesn't feature any of these tracks) and would go as far as saying that this is better than the more acclaimed and well-known 'Joshua Tree'.
My personal favourites here are the majestic 'Gloria', and the melancholic 'Tomorrow' and 'October'. The latter introduced by the Edge's solitary piano, and culminating with Bono's uncharacteristically down-beat vocals.
Bono's lyrics are probably less political than usual for an 80's U2 album, tending to focus more inwardly, as on 'Gloria' an interesting insight into what seems a rare thing in his line of work, a meaningful faith.
The Edge probably at his best guitar-wise as well on this album, in both the single 'Fire' and the aptly-named final flourish 'is that all?'
My conclusions? If you're a fan of U2's more guitar-based stuff, then you'd do very well to invest in a copy of this, an overlooked classic.
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on 21 February 2001
Most artists start off energetically and tend to slow down later on. This is quite the opposite --- these are four young men in 1981 with real gravitas penning songs any 40 year old would be proud of. October is a particularly beautiful month and this album conveys all the doleful colours it posesses. It is hard to imagine how such young people could show the depth of emotion around such issues as loneliness, lost love, distance etc. However, the songs on this album are timeless classics of yearning and separation which makes you wonder exactly what anguish engendered them. Perhaps it was the story of growing up in an ex-colonial situation and speaks of marginalisation and bitterness, the experience of an out of town estate perhaps, but four people on the outside looking in. The tunes themselves are often plaintive, folkie efforts, fading in and fading out, with no strident statement making, simply impressionistic and sad, leading into sharply defined rock songs with the brilliant black guitar sound of the Edge beneath Bono's wailing vocal. I personally hope that the band members found some happiness later on......but this work speaks of decay and defeat and is a haunting epitaph for an unhappy period in Ireland's history. October is a work of prescient brilliance with sad songs which will last forever in time....listen to this album and see how the genius of U2 started out and wonder how it was connected with later work by the band.
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on 17 February 2001
This is not U2's best album, but i feel some of the songs really stand out such as "Gloria" and "Tommorow", its a shame none of the songs were featured on the "best of" album, although "october" was a secret track, which is really the stand out track. This album seems to be the forgotten album of U2's "early stage" but its a damm fine effort.
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on 16 July 2009
In a recent BBC4 documentary celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Island Records, U2 made a point of thanking the label for not dropping them after their second album October. Probably the band's most overtly religious LP, October was not, as the band now acknowledge, the follow-up that many at the record company were looking for. Despite some calls from within to drop them, label chief Chris Blackwell kept faith in the young Irish four-piece and I guess it's fair to say that the rest is history...

So how does October sound now after so many years? Remarkably good as it happens with fine, uncluttered arrangements and an excellent clear production by the highly regarded Steve Lillywhite. The playing by Larry Mullen Jr (drums), Adam Clayton (bass) and especially The Edge with an already distinctive guitar style is inventive and excellent. Coupled with strong vocals by Bono and melodic yet highly individual songs, it's amazing to consider that this album was put together by an act still in their very early 20s.

October opens with the anthemic Gloria, which is probably its best-known track. As well as a brilliant riff, Gloria also displays the band's Irishness with Bono's Gaelic tones as does another highpoint, the underated ballad Tomorrow with its oillean pipes and lyrics partly influenced by the tragic young death of the singer's mother.

In many was an unusual act for Island Records, U2 display a perhaps surprising affinity to the label's Jamaican roots with some distinctly dub reggae influenced passages in the impressive I Threw A Brick Through A Window. Rejoice and the piano based title tracks are also highlights and even the minor hit Fire, much derided in later days by the band themselves, still sounds excellent.

Lyrically, religion and spirituality have a strong hold over October which is not surprising bearing in mind that the strong Christian views of three members of the band were such that they were seriously considering whether they should be playing rock music at the time. Fortunately, Bono, Edge and Larry concluded that they should carry on though, even if they hadn't, they would still have made two excellent albums. Thankfully Chris Blackwell agreed and U2 went on to become one of the biggest bands in the world. Though often overlooked by their millions of later fans, October displays in spades the band's innovation and passion and stand up as an equal to any of their more famous LPs. It is highly recommended.
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on 20 November 2014
October is the second album from U2 and constantly ends up at the bottom of U2 album polls . It was written in a hurry , someone stole the lyrics to the songs while it was being recorded, the studio sessions over ran and were chaotic and it peaked at 104 in the American billboard charts . It is the lowest grossing U2 album and Island records supposedly gave serious thought to dropping the band . It does have its defenders and I'm one of them . It is overshadowed by Boy And War but remains superior to many of the albums that followed

It's a rather more uneven than its predecessor . It opens with Gloria which is undoubtedly the highlight of the album and also has The Edge playing piano on an album for the first time . Indeed some songs like October , I Fall Down and Scarlet seem to exist merely to showpiece that Dave Evans is not just a guitarist but a versatile musician . None of the music is bad in anyway but never really reaches the heights as seen in the previous album or even the opening track with I Threw A Brick and Rejoice perhaps being the only tracks to come close . In its favour October did lead to the band having their first minor hit and Top Of The Pop appearance with Fire , ironically a track the band disliked . The album's other legacy was that it gave birth to " The Cry " which was the opening of the live version of The Electric Co and it was something of a shock to find out the album version doesn't contain that opening being familiar with their early stuff via their live performances before I bought their first two albums

Like Boy this album has a running theme - one of religion and I can't help thinking this is why it's held in relatively low regard by U2 fandom . It's not like the message is stuffed down your throat unlike some present day American Christian bands but at the same time there's no need for you to be reading between any lines with songs like Tomorrow as to what Bono is singing about . U2 do Songs Of Praise ! The mind truly does boggle

Still despite the flaws this is still an album that is superior to some of the bands later work when they still had that distinctive sound that drew me to the band in the first place , one of a feeling you have when you're over looking a calm stretch of water . Nice to know that Island records kept their faith in the band and for that we should be greatful
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on 6 May 2008
One thing I've never understood about this album is why it seemed to be hated so much. Sure this isn't one of U2's strongest releases but it's still a great album.

Overall the lyrics aren't up to Bono's usual standard but he lost his songbook and had to make up a lot of the lyrics on the spot so I think he deserves a little slack for them.

Oddly enough the best two songs on this album are the ones that opened both sides of the vinyl ("Gloria" and "Tomorrow"); these songs are classic U2 songs that (especially "Tomorrow") go unnoticed by the general public. Even the band seems to have forgotten them as they haven't even put "Gloria" on any of their Best-Ofs, which I simply can't understand.

Other highlights of the album include basically the first eight songs, each one of them is a great song and "Rejoice" features Larry Mullen's only drum solo! The last 3 songs are where the quality of the album drops. "Stranger in a Strange Land" is a good song but leaves the listener feeling like it could be more, "Scarlet's" biggest problem is that it doesn't close the album; it would have been the perfect closer but instead U2 decided to close the album with "Is That All?" Which for the first 20 seconds or so sounds like it might actually be a great song (If you're a U2 fan you'll recognise the riff as being from "The Cry") but then Bono uses probably some of the worst lyrics of his career, the only thing that stops this song from being bad is "The Cry's" guitar riff which lifts the song from being bad to being average filler.

This album is probably U2's most overlooked album and it doesn't deserve to be (then again I'd be hard pressed to find a U2 album that deserves to be...). The album is nowhere near as bad as it is portrayed in general, it is a great album. Parts of it aren't that good but overall it's great and seeing as most people will probably listen to it with low expectations, I'd say most people will be pleasantly surprised by how good it actually is.
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on 18 December 2004
October is the sound of a young U2 finding their feet and sound.Its not perfect, but that kinda adds to its charm. Some times it rocks out with its religious punk undertones and loses it way a bit, but that hardly seem to matter. I still find engaging to listen to. There is a lovely melancholy feel to the album, perfectly summed up by the title track. No matter how good the newer albums are and how many the sell, i doubt they will include have a piece of music as delicate, as profound, as achingly beautiful as the title track to October.
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on 26 July 2007
This is a fantastic and under-rated album (although not on this website!). October has a good mixture of spiritual contemplative songs and the anthemic tunes they became synonymous with. The Edge's guitar is great, amazing how early his unique style was set. I actually heard Gloria first on Under a Blood Red Sky (also great), and Bono's rallying call at the beginning still puts shivers down my spine. What a great showman he was and still is. I stopped listening U2 in my 20's as I got a bit sick of them, but as I'm revisiting their early albums I'm really appreciating how dynamic and melodic they were back then. This album and also boy, both stand up to today's music.

A great line in the song Rejoice -
"I cant change the world, but I can change the world in me".
Hmmm? Oh well, we only had a few years wait till Bono started!!!
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on 22 September 2005
I remember buying this record on vinyl, complete with inside picture sleeve. Some rather lovely photographs, if I remember rightly; and certainly better than the front cover. But this matters not. This is a quality album. I always preferred this to either 'Boy' or 'War'. And I still rate it as one of their better efforts. I'm not a U2 evangelist; I think they are a little hit and miss. And their last two records have been distinctly workmanlike, painting by numbers, but 'October' is still a good listen. It's got the sound of a band finding their feet, experimenting a little. They may not admit as such, but Bloc Party have this record in their DNA...
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