27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Work
U2 have always had an undercurrent of spirituality and religiousness running through their music. Growing up in a country that is literally divided by faith, the band members were obviously influenced by religion. October is their most overtly religious album where songs like "Rejoice", "Fire", "I Fall Down" and "Is That All?"...
Published on March 22, 2001 by Thomas Magnum
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not fully formed.
I believe there are certain albums that subjectively achieve greatness by exactly when and where you first heard them, and not necessarily due to their content.
Many of the laudatory reviewers here at Amazon, on this album, go out of their way to mention when and where they first heard this record.
Objectively, it doesn't hold a candle to its' predecessor,...
Published on November 10, 2003 by M J Heilbron Jr.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Work,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)U2 have always had an undercurrent of spirituality and religiousness running through their music. Growing up in a country that is literally divided by faith, the band members were obviously influenced by religion. October is their most overtly religious album where songs like "Rejoice", "Fire", "I Fall Down" and "Is That All?" find the band searching for answers to higher questions. "Gloria" opens up the album with a punch as the song which starts off with a driving guitar riff before ending up with a hymn-like closing. "Tomorrow" is one of their most Irish sounding songs and the title track is a strong instrumental. "I Threw A Brick Through A Window" and "Stranger In A Strange Land" are more in a political bent. October was only the band's second album and shows a that they could build on the tremendous potential that they showed on their debut release.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars U2's most underrated album,
By A Customer
This review is from: October (Audio CD)This album is overlooked so much and is always so underrated, and that upsets me because it has some great music on it. The music and lyrics on this album are almost completely about the struggle U2 had in their early days with Christianity and Rock and Roll. And although that's probably one of the reasons why it's overlooked so much, it's also one of the reasons why it's great. The album opens with "Gloria", which has lyrics that are commonly mistaken as being Bono talking to a girl, but are really a reference to God. It is the most popular song on the album, and one of the best on it, but not the best. My favorite song on the album is "Tomorrow", a song that's about Bono's mother and Christianity. Other classics on the album are "I Fall Down", "Fire", "Rejoice", and the title track "October". This is the most underrated U2 album, and a lot of people consider it their worst work, but I don't. If you're a U2 fan at all, this album is a must-have.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best....,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)This is one of the most satisfying U2 albums. Very underrated. Upon a first listen, I think alot of people will find this album bland, but it is incredibly complex for a sophmoric album, particularly since Bono's lyrics had been stolen immediately prior to recording this album. It's incredible that they were still able to complete this album. It really shows a maturity from Boy and points to the direction that would happen with War, Joshua Tree, etc.. Highlights include Gloria, Rejoice, I Threw a Brick Through a Window. My favorite U2 song of all time is Tomorrow. The texture of this song is incredible. I can't find any info on any session musicians that may have played on this album but I am sure that Tomorrow starts with Uillian Pipes. Awesome. This album is definitely in my top 4 or 5 from U2 (1. Joshua Tree, 2. Achtung Baby, 3. War, 4. October, 5. All That You Can't..). Enjoy!!!
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars U2's most spiritual album,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)Most people when they think of U2 usually don't think of spirituality, but if you've read any of their biographies or really paid attention to their lyrics then you would know different.
Anyway, I've followed U2 since their beginning in 1979, and I must say that I believe in my opinion that this is their best album. For the emotion, because Bono's mother had passed away before its release and for its spirituality because I believe Bono's "walk" was stronger then than it is now, but that is another discussion.
However, October opens with "Gloria" giving thanks to God in latin during its chorus which so many people get confused thinking that Bono is talking to a girl but he's not. "I Threw a Brick Through a Window" is amazing. Bono is talking about being trapped in sin but being able to find forgiveness through his "brother" and through Christ. "Rejoice" is so obvious. "Tomorrow" is probably my favorite in that Bono is crying out to two people: his mother and to Jesus. The rest of the album deals with him dealing with his emotions of his mom passing and incorporating it with the love of his faith. And the music as always is amazing. What else could you expect from U2! (Other albums by U2 that are similar to October in lyrical content would be Unforgettable Fire, War, and The Joshua Tree.)
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars October: Early Springtime in U2's Career,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)The mere fact that you're looking at U2's October is sufficient to conclude that you owe it to yourself to buy this album. Only a bona-fide U2 fan would go looking back to a 1981 album, released prior to the band's trajectory into rock superstardom, and think about buying it.
October is one of those select albums that I've now owned on vinyl, cassette, and now compact disc. This album has been an indispensable part of my music collection for 20 years. On this album, you clearly hear a band full of passion with the nascent ability to create timeless rock anthems. All the underpinnings of the legendary U2 are here, perceptible but unrefined. Through subsequent releases, you can trace the band's growth and evolution into one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music.
Though not as musically accomplished or commercially successful as U2's later albums, October stands independently as a great work. U2's raw energy pervades the album, and when coupled with the band's adroit songwriting, October compares favorably to many of the best rock albums of the last 30 years. There's an obvious post-punk melodic feel to the songs here, elevated by overtly sociopolitical lyrics. I love October's unapologetic religiosity; for me this makes the album infinitely more stirring and meaningful. U2 also experiments with a variety of musical textures, honing in on what is to become the band's enormous signature sound. Truthfully, there isn't a dispensable track on this album; every song contributes uniquely to October's forceful appeal.
And that brings me back to my opening statement. If you've read this much of my review, then there's no doubt you should get yourself a copy of October. You'll be rewarded with not only a collection of great songs but also a better understanding of the estimable foundations of one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked gem,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)Many people first exploring U2's back catalogue hear that October is U2's worst album, a mish-mash of poorly written, overly religious songs that have completely failed the test of time. Newcomers are told to look elsewhere because this album is just not very good.
That's simply not true.
Until the release of Achtung Baby some ten years later, this was bassist Adam Clayton's favourite U2 album. Why? Because it's GOOD. It shows off the band's growing talents and adds elements of diversity to U2's music that weren't present in their debut, Boy. True, the band were under pressure to quickly come up with a second album in the midst of rigorous touring and Bono losing his notebook of ideas, and it's also true to say that they admirably rose to the challenge.
The album opens with a song criminally omitted from the Best Of 1980-1990, Gloria. This is a soaring, brilliant U2 classic, hinting at their anthemic glories to come. The chorus is in Latin and the themes are religious, though not overly so, and it features what may be the sole bass solo on a U2 album. Next comes I Fall Down, the first U2 song to prominently feature Edge's keyboard talents while Bono takes on the guitar duties. And now that Edge and Adam have had the chance to show off, Larry takes centre stage in the next two songs - I Threw A Brick Through A Window is a song about the stifling social conditions in Dublin at the time and is driven by powerful drumming, and Edge's ringing guitar on Rejoice soon gives way to a stellar drum solo.
The fifth song on the album was also the first single, and Fire is a song that is lyrically rich in Apocalyptic imagery. It also features Adam on backing vocals (at least live; they aren't readily apparent in the studio to me), though I personally find Edge's guitar to be the most enjoyable part of this song. Sixth comes the other highest point of the album, a song many fans consider a classic: the haunting, mournful, beautiful Tomorrow. It mixes religious feelings with Bono's longing for his mother, who unfortunately passed away when he was fourteen, and is the most emotional part of the album. It is followed by a song that is also haunting as well as spare: the title track, October, with Edge again on piano. This is the only song from October to make the Best Of 1980-1990, and in hidden form too - if you let All I Want Is You continue to play, you will hear this song.
Some fans consider the final four tracks to be the weakest point of October and overlook them, but I think that's very unfair. With A Shout is driven by the religious passion of the band at the time, and even if you don't appreciate that, it's still an enlightening insight into the mind of the band (or at least Bono, Edge, and Larry) at that stage in their history. Stranger In A Strange Land articulates thoughts prompted by touring, and Is That All? (which uses the guitar riff from The Cry, an unreleased song played in tandem with The Electric Co. live) articulates thoughts prompted by the struggles to record October.
I've deliberately mentioned Scarlet out of track order, as I think it deserves special attention. This is a subtle track, almost an instrumental, with Bono soothing "rejoice" over the top. One would speculate this is inspired by his faith at the time, but you don't need to share it to enjoy this track. This song is terribly overlooked, which is a huge shame considering how beautiful it is. My only quibble with October is that this isn't the concluding number: Is That All? feels a little harsh afterwards and probably should've been a b-side instead, as the album could easily cope with Scarlet as the concluding song.
I would highly recommend October to you. Not only does it contain some fantastic songs, it's also U2 without any masks: it vividly portrays exactly where the band were mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at the time of the recording. If you listen to October, you get to know the band much better.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion straight from the heart . . .,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)The rock meter on U2's 2nd album gets cranked quite a bit past the level on their debut album BOY (which, don't get me wrong, I also love). BOY's title is appropriate because it reflects the band's fresh innocence at the time and celebration of youth (also, it does in fact rock). But on OCTOBER, the band is more raw, focused and intense. At the same time, there's lots of sonic experimentation, particularly on "Gloria" and "Fire." "Rejoice" and "With a Shout" are the most intense tracks. "October" is a beautiful and spare piano ballad. "Tomorrow" is also beautiful but quite epic. "Scarlet" is just magical. My favorite track would have to be "Stranger in a Strange Land" which is alternately dreamy and rockin'. "I Threw a Brick Through a Window" is way up there too. While I love every song, "Is That All" is probably the weakest but it does rock out and it does hint at better things to come (with their next album WAR).
The band sounds fantastic, especially Larry's drumming - he's just all over his kit, probably moreso than any other U2 album. Bono's voice here is still in its prime and sounds incredible. I think a lot of care went into this album. U2 aren't exactly virtuosos, but OCTOBER has a certain sophistication and represents a big step forward in their progress to my mind.
If you happen to have caught Blender magazine's lame overview of U2's discography which gave this album only 2 stars, please ignore it. Annoyingly, most of their comments had nothing to do with the actual music. Much has been made of the fact that Bono lost his lyric book right before recording began (incredibly, it was recently returned to him after being M.I.A. for close to 25 years!). I actually think this caused Bono to reach deep inside himself and pull out something real and true from his heart. Much of the lyrics that did end up on OCTOBER are very spiritual. While I no longer share his faith, I still admire his spiritual passion and the way he expresses it.
I still listen to OCTOBER today 20 years after first hearing it. It's well worth your while to get it if you haven't already.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars U2's Sophmore Effort is Anything but Weak,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)I look at October, and think and know that this is not U2's best album. In fact, if I had to rank their albums this would be towards the bottom, but this album is still an excellent contribution. Boy and War are often thought of a great messages of U2's beliefs and stance on world politics and growing up, but October makes its own contribution.
In fact, October is a bold step because there are definite religious overtones throughout the album, more so than on any other U2 album. While the talent is still raw, maybe even rawer than Boy, the lyrical and music content are strong.
A few songs here are definitely among U2's best. Tomorrow is the jewel of this album I think, and it is a shame this is not considered one of their best. It also does the best to represent their Irish culture. October is another fantastic song, allbeit simple. It is just beautiful, and probably best foreshadows what was to come in the way of later albums. Gloria and Fire are a great rock songs reminiscent of Boy and the rest of the album is strong, though not quite up to War and Boy.
Overall this a great album, especially for those who like early U2 or like U2 in general. However, I would not prioritize this album over Boy or War.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock 'n' roll saviors of the early 1980s,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)U2's fresh essence in the early 1980s is captured perfectly on the great leadoff track, "Gloria," which also sounds great (perhaps even better) live on another stellar U2 record, Under a Blood Red Sky. Like 1980's Boy, "October" has a somewhat sound-of-the-moment, new-wave vibe, but its real contribution to music is the big, anthemic songs that hint at the band's grandosity in a future world. Even early on, these guys were a highly confident band that wrote very good, often interesting tunes seemingly beyond the realm of their young years. Though not every song on "October" grabs the ear right away like "Gloria," you can't help but be sucked into the inspirational aura of tunes like "Rejoice," where Bono sings, "I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." That's classic U2 singing way before the band became classic.
For all its inescapable 1981-era production, "October" stands up well today. "Fire" is kind of dated and cheesy, but otherwise this is top-notch stuff the whole way through. "Tomorrow" is noteworthy for its tender Irish lilt at the start, a tactic these Irishmen have surprisingly never attempted before or since. The tune has a cinematic, dreamy feel that's beautiful. Speaking of sheer beauty, the piano chords on the song "October" are probably the most poignant minutes of this band's career -- it was a good move to name the album after this stunning song.
All in all, "October" offers up all the essential ingredients of early U2: big bass and drums; Bono's reflective lyrics that stir the soul; the Edge's growing chimelike guitar work. This band had the goods from day one, and it never really looked back. U2 certainly wasn't afraid to experiment within its songs, doing things like slowing down the pace during fiery anthems, and speeding up on slower tunes. U2's outlook and musical realm were different from the start, and the guys always conveyed a serious, somewhat take-charge attitude that won many over. The band's creative songs are a reflection of great minds, while its instruments reflected sheer desire and raw energy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars U2's most underrated album!,
This review is from: October (Audio CD)OCTOBER is a classic album in the sense that it captured U2 at a crossroads;dealing with questions of faith and spirituality.The album showed U2's raw,vulnerable and emotional state of mind;the music providing a haunting background for the lyrical questions presented.Musically,a much more mature U2 surfaced from the innocence of the BOY album.Listening to OCTOBER in the new millenium,I am amazed by how far ahead of the curve this U2 album was compared to the other music out at that time (circa 1981).This album is full of unbridled passion.
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