The second album from U2, “October” was released in 1981, and I find it to be very similar in style and structure to the first album, “Boy”. Some moments of brilliance, but also some moments where they still haven’t quite mastered their song-writing chops just yet. The energy and performance intensity are fully present, I just don’t find that many memorable songs on this second album. I’m understanding further why it took until the third album, “War” for me to really stand up and notice U2.
The record opens with their signature song from this record, “Gloria”. Perhaps their first of many truly anthemic songs, this would be one of their most recognized songs of the early era. In case anyone is confused, this is not the same song written by “Van Morrison”, although I have heard U2 cover that song as well. Next comes “I Fall Down”, which we begin to hear The Edge play piano in addition to his innovative guitar performance. On “I Threw a Brick Through a Window”, I really like the drum pace from Larry Mullen, Jr.
My other favorite track on this album is the haunting ballad that is the title track from the album. U2 are masters at making a simple chord structure into a beautiful song, and this is a perfect example. On deluxe editions of this album you can hear it performed live, which is an ideal showcase for the passionate and dramatic delivery by Bono and The Edge.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of U2, and I do enjoy these first two albums, particularly for the early preview of the raw talent of these four musicians. I do look forward to listening along the way as they rise the ladder of greatness into superstardom, starting with their next album.