U2 – War: #440 of best 1,000 albums ever!

U2 - War

So why is U2’s War on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

War was the album that introduced me to U2, and I’ve long thought of it as the best of U2’s “early albums.” I define U2 early albums as “pre-Joshua Tree” for anyone taking notes at home.

War is a terrific blast of energy, passion, and expertly constructed rock-meets-post-punk/new wave by a band who was even then brimming over with confidence and ambition. It still feels fresh as ever today and even timeless in its way.

Two of U2’s most famous and enduring early hits are on this album: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day.” Both are striking political anthems and great rock songs, but of the two I am much more taken with “New Year’s Day.” Adam Clayton’s* bassline is iconic, The Edge’s jittery guitar perfect, Bono’s vocals earnest and pure, and Larry Mullen Jr.’s drums create a great post-punk martial-sounding beat.

* I just remembered that as kids, my friends and I referred to Adam Clayton as “Priest” because… well, we thought he looked like a priest. I’m not sure why, but this memory makes me laugh.

Over the years, “Two Hearts Beat As One” became my favorite song on War. It’s just about the edgiest and best melodic punk song about love this side of the Buzzcocks’ “What Do I Get?” Overall, it has an incredible vitality to it that in a single song shows off how great this band can be. And of course they proved it again and again over the next 40 (and counting!) years.

Really cool music video for this one too, no? I mean, I’m not sure about the weirdo dude in the red bodysuit doing flips and contortions and stuff, but overall very cool indeed.

“Like A Song” is a fantastic deep cut, but really there are very few if any weak spots on this album.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with U2’s War

I’ve mentioned a few times that MTV would air the music videos for “New Year’s Day” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on “mega repeat” when I was a little kid during the early 1980s. I would watch MTV on mega repeat myself back then because it often offered the most compelling television viewing experience, especially during the day on weekends or during summer breaks.

I specifically recall thinking that it seemed like “New Year’s Day” was being rotated endlessly along with “99 Luftballons,” by Nena.

It’s pretty wild, looking back, and seeing the enormous influence that this new 24-hour cable TV station had by programming music that was pretty unusual and eclectic as compared to what had been considered “mainstream” music at the time.

MTV helped to usher in “’80s music” and “’80s culture” as much as any other single institution, for good and ill.

A decent portion of it was good, and keep it tuned in right here on the best 1,000 albums ever project to dive into the very best. For example, check out all of the 1980s albums that I’ve covered thus far.

Some stats & info about U2 – War  

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, New Wave, Album Rock, College Rock, Post-Punk
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
  • When was War released? 1983
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #440 out of 1,000

U2’s War on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from U2’s War that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

How long, how long must we sing this song?

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.