on July 23, 2008
Although U2's real debut came in early 1979 with 'Three' the band broke onto the scene with 'Boy,' from 1980. They had recently been signed to major label Island Records, which was home to bands like Bob Marley & The Wailers in the '70s. 'Three' was released on CBS.
But anyway, this is where it all started. Right here. 'Boy,' their major label debut, gave them their first hit, 'I Will Follow' and contained such fan favorites like the eight minute 'An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart,' one of my personal favorites 'Shadows and Tall Trees' and the early-U2 concert classic 'Twilight.'
The bonus disc is where things get interesting. If you are a casual U2 fan, just buy the standard edition of 'Boy.' However, if you are a lifelong, die-hard U2 fan like I am, than this is a real treat!
The original version of '11 O'Clock Tick Tock' should have made the original cut. I don't understand why it didn't. This song is a great one, and while many people know it from 'Under A Blood Red Sky,' I prefer the studio version. (Note: For those who haven't heard the studio version, you are in for a real treat!)
The previously unreleased tracks 'Speed of Life' and 'Saturday Night' have a more punk rock sound. Clearly influenced by bands like The Clash and The Jam, these songs proves U2 can make great punk.
And finally, 'Three' is available on CD! This is what I've been waiting for for years! This is the real highlight of the disc! 'Boy/Girl' is a classic, and another really good punk rocker. The live version from London in early 1980 that is also featured here is superb as well. And what a treat it is to hear the original 'Out of Control' and 'Stories for Boys'! The songs have a much more punk rock sound here than they do in their 'Boy' album versions.
The final two unreleased tracks that are featured here is a rare, previously unreleased live version of '11 O'Clock Tick Tock' from London in early 1980, and 'Cartoon World' a non-album track that was recorded live in Dublin. Both are really cool.
'Another Day' was released as a single in mid-1979 on CBS Records. This song is a classic. Any U2 fan, whether casual or die-hard like myself, needs to hear this song. It is, without a doubt, one of my personal favorite U2 songs. Another really great one is the instrumental 'Things to Make and Do.' I own a rare live bootleg from Boston in 1981 where that song is performed. Although this version is great, I have to say, I prefer the live Boston version instead.
'Touch,' from late '79, is another one of my personal favorites. The lyrics are great, Bono's voice and The Edge's guitar is great, especially the opening riff.
Overall, the deluxe edition of 'Boy' is the version that you need to own. Everything is digitally remastered, so the sound quality is awesome, and the bonus tracks make it really worthwhile.
This edition of 'Boy' is highly recommended for any U2 fan that wants to hear early U2 at their finest. You won't regret this purchase.
on September 28, 2005
For those familiar with U2 only as the larger-than-life superstars responsible for socially conscious anthems such as "Where the Streets Have No Name," "One," and "Beautiful Day," their debut album Boy should surprise. It's their most rocking album (their latest, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, is really pretty timid), their most apolitical, and their most energetic. The young U2's energy, enthusiasm, and ear for a good song more than make up for any lack of musical refinement (The Edge in particular seems to be having a whole lot of fun on the guitar, while never getting too technical). This is their best album of the `80's (along with 1983's War, but that's another review), besting even The Joshua Tree in terms of strength and consistency.
Boy's most recognizable song, "I Will Follow," begins the album. If there were one song to define U2's energy and optimism at this point in their careers, this is it. "Twilight" includes one of The Edge's best guitar solos ever; it's so simple yet so evocative of the pensive mood of the song. "An Cat Dubh" is the album's high point. It's a very dark song, with a fantastic instrumental finale (that also serves as the beginning of "Into the Heart"). Adam Clayton's bass and Larry Mullen Jr's percussion really shine here.
Other highlights include "Stories for Boys" and "Out of Control" (U2's first single), two great hard rockers. "The Electric Co." is a great jam piece, and "The Ocean" provides a nice, calm change of pace.
What might be the most valuable thing about Boy is it's picture of U2 as a very young band, free of any spotlight, making energetic, earnest music. This is essential for any rock music collection.
on July 27, 2008
The remastered version of Boy is really incredible and very worthy of the purchase. The old cd versions that have represented the U2 catalog for so many years have really done a disservice to their early material. These new remastered versions really bring back the potency of the music and give the music a vibrancy it hasn't had for way too many years. So many lesser bands have remastered their entire catalog years ago. I wonder what has kept U2 from doing so? It kind of reminds me of the Beatles, where they really seem to want to control what happens to their music. Who knows?
One decision I do applaud is keeping the extra material on separate cd's (Deluxe Version). I have always felt that when bands tag on singles, rarities etc. on the back of the original LP when they re-release an album that it muddies the waters and dilutes the orginal work. I think U2 did the right thing by keeping the original work intact by offering different versions of the remastering, each with the original work intact.
Either way, I have waited a long time to see U2 finally remaster their early albums and I am very satisfied with the results. While its hard to describe, the remaster is so much more immediate, with full bass, and Bono's voice is really much more complex & three dimensional on this version. It adds so much to the music and makes one realize all over again why this album is so great. The remaster is so good(yet unobtrusive)that it has brought back memories for me from when I first listened to it back in 80-81, similar to a specific smell that jars a memory.
I believe that Boy is so good for such a variety of reasons that it has never really been as appreciated as it should be. The sheer audacity of it's sonic & thematic scope from such "youngsters" is sort of hard to comprehend. An album about coming of age that doesn't involve cars, drugs, & women but actual serious internal reflection and darker moments? The sound this album creates was (and is) so different that it creates a whole mood and "world" for its theme, providing the extra ingredient to make this something more than just a great rock n' roll album. No matter how great the Beatles were, or the Rolling Stones for example, they were always working from a known palette, reworking the colors and the arrangements into interesting & pleasing arrangemnts. On Boy, U2 seems to be doing nothing less then creating whole new sounds, evoking new landscapes for the expression of emotion and feelings as of yet unheard in "Rock n Roll". While AC/DC were singing about Dirty Deeds and even the Ramones singing about Beating on the Brat, U2 were singing about the grey edges between boyhood and manhood, the uncertainty of experience, the tension in adolescence, reflections on ego, even the simple joys of late childhood, in a unique manner that actually gave musical expression to these very same concepts.
While U2 ultimately "conquered" the music world, I would say one would be hard pressed to listen to Boy and truthfully say that from that listening they could tell that U2 would go on to sell millions of records. Boy is not really very "commercial" in any way, not like the Police or really any other band that made it big, or has since (Even newer, "hip" bands like the Arctic Monkeys have a more commercial edge to their sound). Just one more reason to see U2 as an exception....and exceptional.
on September 25, 2011
I feel truly sad for the pathetic souls I see in some of these reviews who think U2's career started with Achtung Baby or ZooTV or the other crap they fell into in the 90s. I'm even still amazed that anyone can take the alarmingly self-indulgent Joshua Tree album seriously, especially if they've seen any of the videos or the movie - you know, the one where they try to portray themselves as some sort of scruffy, homeless version of the Beatles. IMO, the band fell off the face of the planet after The Unforgettable Fire. OK, maybe that's a bit harsh. Everyone has to move on and change, and anything by U2 is still better music than the other mainstream sludge that has come out in the last 20 years. However, it is the bands first three albums - BOY, OCTOBER, and WAR - that represent the real U2 to me. Each one is a masterpiece of the era, and unmatched by anything the band has done since. It's hard to believe that the same band is responsible for "Lemon"... ugh.
From 1980 to 1985, U2 had a huge influence on me, both personally and as a musician, through these three albums. I you were around in those years, you might remember how important this band was, and how powerful this music was. I saw them from the 5th row of the Tower Theater in Philly on the Unforgettable Fire tour in the mid-80s, and even though I've been to a lot of concerts over the years, this is the only one that I can truly say was close to a religious experience.
BOY, their first release, was a precursor of the more mature albums to come over the next couple of years, but it is a powerful work in its own right. They were young at the time, and there is a definitely naivety to some of the songs here, but it works because while it has that unbounded teenage energy, joy, and angst that we all had at that age, it is blended with a depth that comes from growing up in a rough situation. If you aren't old enough to remember it back then, you can't truly understand how revolutionary this sound was, how completely new and original the Edge's guitar playing was. This album has influenced the sound of bands everywhere for decades. BOY pretty much changed everything.
As far as the REMASTER goes, they actually did a pretty good job. I had the original vinyl and still have the original CD version, and I can tell you that the original studio recording quality of this album was pretty bad and inconsistent, even by the standards of the time. Lots of sibilance, uneven mixing, and primitive digital effects. The remastered CD is a definite improvement in sound quality, but it is still limited by the quality of the original recording. So, it pretty much sounds like the original, but with a bit less distortion and a bit more dynamic range. The mix is the same, and thank God they didn't try to "fix" anything up with a lot of artificial-sounding digital editing. It is mastered at a louder volume level, like most current CDs, but not to the ridiculous levels that most others are. The Edge supervised the remaster, which probably helped, but don't expect miracles. If you have the original CD and a decent stereo, I definitely think it's worth upgrading to the remaster, but it's not hugely different. The music here speaks for itself, though, no matter which version you have.
on January 10, 2005
Taking a look at my old u2 vynile collection of the 80s, I thought first which of my old u2 records sampler should i purchase in cd, and finally i decided undoubedtly for this one.
"Boy" is the debut album every rock band wish to record for the first time. It's besides, one of the u2 albums which had survived sucessfully the path of the time and it's in its esence, the most true, energetic and hence, darkest of them all...Boy posseses a spirit that cannot be found in other ones - those commercially more sucessfull u2 records of the nineteens-.
The strenght of this album is based on its powerful stream, its brilliant lyrics, its danger...It's the most genuine Irish of all their records, taking its Irishness not as a patriotical statement, as they did -more or less explicit- in later post-Eno works and at the same time discovering the fascination for everything American-, but as spontane and truly Irish in its roots and originallity...This is a beautiful piece of Irish Rock at its best, not self indulgent or cynical. It performs -through a musical high tension wire- several tracks all connected in its tematic as a round block of self analysis of fears and features of desperation.
The song's titles are full of literary winks and soul searching statements of someone who's taking a step into the insecure outer world contrasting with the richer inner world. Bono's self-portrait of his expectactions and fears turns out witty and beautiful and it reaches interesting masterpieces in a introspective way in which he -unfortunately- didn't show so often and so poetically after gathering the millions...
A special mention deserves "An Cat Dubh -Into The Heart", one of the biggest -not the most acknowledged, though- tracks in u2 career...In the cd separated in two different tracks, it's therefore, the same suite. An Cat Dubh (A Black Cat in Gaelic) tells about how beauty and danger goes beside at times and about the jeopardy of some relationships based on fascination which turn out in certain destructive endings that don't run into new disclosures. As it's been pointed out above pointed above, a relationship inspired this song and the sight of a black cat playing first and after killing a mouse for inmediately falling asleep beside the victim, as if nothing had really happened. A thought about the danger that sleeps beyond all beauty ("Yes, now I know the truth about you"). The guitar is yelling-banshee like and full of tension, leading the string into a catarsis at Into The Heart.
Other best of Boy-songs are "A Day Without Me", surpringsingly a insight of the world after an hypothetical suicide, though the cheery melody; "The Ocean", a beautiful onomatopoeia of staring at the motion of sea, and of course, the gorgeous "Twlight", "Shadows And Tall Trees", amongst others. Somehow Boy settles the milestone for the second and more aclaimed hit album "War" that made them known internationally, in which they got more into political statements with few exceptions (Drowning Man), thus, the existential depth of "Boy" is lacking here...After that, Eno should come to polish that raw and gifted poetry and nothing would be the same as before, therefore, Boy shall remain as a sort of memorial to prove of what they were keen to do...even without Brian- for the time being...
on July 3, 2004
I have been a long time listener of U2. They were the first band I got into really seriously when I was a teenager. Hopefully, because of this, I can help you decide whether or not to purchase Boy.
Most musicians and bands start off with an album of songs which either are relatively bad or very hit and miss. U2's first album Boy, while not their best, is extremely solid for a debut. If U2 had never released another album, this would still be worth owning.
That being said, I'll get my criticism over with right off the bat: this album as a whole can be tough to warm up to. Each song hits you with a really cool guitar riff, and some of the songs are just completely phenomenal. However, other songs can seem to drag on if you're not patient with the music. When I was young, I would often skip parts because I was thirsting to hear the next exciting guitar part and chorus. You could say that the pacing is a bit off sometimes. While this may sound like a harsh criticism, it's the ONLY big criticism I have.
Conceptually, this album is very good. From what I make of it, it's basically about growing up. Hence the title! The lyrics, while not mind-blowing, are very well done. They're vague enough so that almost anyone who listens can associate their own growing-up experiences with what's being said. Bono's delivery is excellent, leaving you with certain powerful lines echoing in your head.
Now, I am sure there are a few people out there who will never warm up to this album as a whole work. If you like anything else by U2, though, you ought to at least love "I Will Follow", "Out of Control and "A Day Without Me". I promise that if you like other U2 albums, you'll at least find a few real good songs here. That's the most sinister thing about U2: No matter what people think about each album as a whole, there's never an album without at least a few really really great songs that make the album worth getting. For my part, I also think that "Shadows and Tall Trees" could have been a hit single under the right circumstances.
Basically, if you own some U2 and like what you have, you won't go wrong with Boy. If you're a newcomer to U2, you'll probably still like the album if you're a fan of guitar rock. It's from 1980, it's U2's first album and it's still good regardless of U2's stardom.
In 1980 a little know group by the name U2 released an album that 20+ years later still remains one of their best and perhaps one of the best debut albums by any band.
U2 is best known for their meaningful music and lyrics which really thrust them into the spotlight with War and as reached an Apex that has yet to decline with The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and All That You Can't Leave Behind. Yet, it is hard to say that they were any less of masters at their art when one listens to Boy. Boy merely shows the group at a young age singing for their beliefs and feelings as they always have and continue to do. It shows strong conviction and their youth.
I Will Follow perhaps sets the theme best. It is the story of a boy forced to grow up due to the passing of his mother. The album continues of the theme of growing up and does it well from Twilight (another great song) and A Day Without Me. My favorite song on this album besides I Will FOllow is An Cat Dubh and Into the Heart which might as well be one song. This song is a reflection of young love.
I think perhaps the most interesting aspect of this album is that when looked at over the span of their career, it is seen that the quality of the music and lyrics has not changed only the maturity. Boy is definitely a must have for any U2 fan and even for non U2 fans who like the U2 of old. I feel it is their best album from their early years including War which is great, but I just feel this is more solid effort though in reality it is hard to say which is better.
So I would say this album is best for people who like War or even only know the famous songs of those early U2 years. It is also best for people who appreciate the evolution of U2 and the fact that U2 now sounds so different yet so similar to that debut album.
on October 3, 2006
The start of it all. OK so it doesn't sound like their more recent stuff but don't neglect it because of that. As a debut album they don't come much better than this. The sound is spartan and simple - but effective. The one thing about their first three albums was they were complete. Later albums I found to have "fillers" but there are none to be found here. The anthemic "I Will Follow" kicks off full of post-punk energy resplendant with Edge's choppy guitar style. There isn't a poor track to be found even the somewhat experimental "The Ocean" acting as an interlude fits well. I actually fail to understand how anyone who likes U2 couldn't consider this one of their classics. An essential addition to any U2 collection and certainly worthy of interest to any music fan.
on February 4, 2002
I remember 1980 we living in Soviet Repressive System with Mr Brezhnev and KGB controlling Russia and many boring Soviet approved musician on Radio Moscow, but we also listen to cool radio stations from West. I hear "I Will Follow" although reception not good and feel thrilling sound and much excitement more powerful than heavy Soviet propahganda about West. It is the sound of Western freedom and we are determined to buy Western Irish great music of U2. It is name of Spy Plane, but we are only thinking goood things of this creazy rock and roll called New Wave. Finally the new wave came to the East
on April 3, 2006
going through every song on this album:
I will follow- Great song and most famous. It was on their Best of the 80s. probably not the best though. 4 stars
Twilight- Really really cool song. Of Course edges guitar is amazingly clever. 4 stars
An Cat Dubh- This one just might be the BEST on the album! Listen to it above and you can just find out for yourself because i cant really describe it in words. 5 stars
Into the heart- Beautiful. Even though I usually get bored during songs when no one sings for half the song, for some reason i always get mesmorized into Edges Guitar and never skip it! 4 stars
Out of Control- Great song! I got into this phase where this was the only song i would listen to! Really fun and up beat! 4 1/2 stars
Stories for Boys- I looove this song! In concert Bono adds a fragment of it to the end of Vertigo! its very cool and Bonos voice is so flawless
The Ocean- This is a good song but because this album is filled with so many good songs i usually skip this when it comes on. 3 1/2 stars
A day without me- This is DEFINITELlY my personal favorite! I never get tired of it! The best part of the song it probably just the starting: Im starting a landslide in my Ego! It just pulls me right in! 5 stars
Another time, Another Place- I love the lyrics in this song! They are so deep for a 20 year old! Of course here is another GREAT song! 4 stars
The Electric Co.- AWESOME SONG! This also might be a favorite! Its so great definitely one of U2s all time greatest! 5 stars!
Shadows and Tall Trees- Ok I changed my mind THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG! This is haunting and beautiful. His voice just grabs you! 5 stars definitely!
Ok so i have now reviewed the whole cd. This is a five star album definitely in my opinion! See for yourself!