- Sunday Bloody Sunday (4:40)
- Seconds (3:10)
- New Year’s Day (5:35)
- Like a Song (4:46)
- Drowning Man (4:14)
- The Refugee (3:40)
- Two Hearts Beat as One (4:03)
- Red Light (3:46)
- Surrender (5:34)
- 40 (2:35)
Driven by the anthemic ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, this album showed how dramatically U2 improved from their early days- fulfilling the promise and potential they had shown in bucket loads, while retaining the same passion and energy that fuelled Boy. War changes gears from the spiritual awakening of October to vivid imagery of military Revolution and Cold War- which dominated the political climate and firmly gripped the world at that time. U2 try to capture this climate of fear in the second song ‘Seconds’, which is quite punchy and is filled with political references, although it is not quite clear which side U2 is on? Quite frankly it is not important or stated as this album is more concerned with the human side in the face of conflict- the fear, love and hope.
In War, U2 definitely feel rejuvenated, maybe they had time to find themselves after a slight break and pressure of recording October? Or maybe they are trying to make up for the disappointment of that album? Nonetheless ‘Like a Song’ sounds energetic, sung with purpose, passion and direction. Likewise is ‘Drowning Man’, which is a well built-up, not to mention an intense song. ‘The Refugee’ is completely off- tangent, and sounds like nothing else on the album, which is not necessarily a bad thing as it is a very fun song.
War is definitely U2’s best album up to that point with improvements both lyrically and musically. Driven by intense military-esque themes, War is full of purpose and drive unlike October. During this time U2 had been touring extensively and had now performed live for a few years which certainly had paid dividends, crafting a polished, crisp record. War is definitely a more mature album. U2 show a careful craftsmanship, sculpting cleverly layered songs filled with subtleties, while still keeping an aura of intensity. ‘New Year’s Day’ demonstrates this perfectly in a song that, while is piano- driven, is cleverly interlaced and still maintains the thematic relevance of the rest of the album. 8.5/10
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