Four youths from Dublin put a band together and expressed their working-class outlook on life with the post-punk sound of the late `70s and many people related to it. Much of their material dipped into or was blatantly about Christian spirituality rebelling against a material world and the band gained a cult following with their thoughtful lyrics that Bono sung with gritty, passionate zeal.
Gradually they got bigger and The Unforgettable Fire captures them on the cusp of world recognition and commercial success. Their punk sound is sucked into Eno's atmospheric production and somehow it works. Bono's screaming voice and the Edge's distorted guitar echo through the synthetic sounds of A Sort of Homecoming, Wire and the slow but equally as powerful MLK and Elvis Presley and America.
I don't know if it's because I heard this when I was fourteen, when music seemed to touch my soul in a special kind of way but this album has got a magical feel for me. It possibly captures U2 at their most serious (before they changed their leather jackets for their anti-image of worn out vests and greasy uncut hair, which in turn was replaced by their ironic fully embraced rock-star look) and I guess they were never going to be the same again after the world domination that came with this.
Listen to Pride after reading about Martin Luther King and it'll have the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. The whole album is a masterpiece.