U2 are celebrating 30 years of their groundbreaking album “The Joshua Tree”, and while the record’s opening track is a fan favourite, Bono says the song is “unfinished.”
While he’s a fan of the music, the Irish rocker says he considers his lyrics to the 1987 song incomplete.
“Musically it’s great and the band deserve credit for that, but lyrically it’s just a sketch and I was going to go back and write it out,” he tells Beats 1 in an new interview with fellow band members Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. and The Edge. “Half of it is an invocation, where you say to a crowd of people ‘Do you want to go to that place? That place of imagination, that place of soul? Do you want to go there, because right now we can go there?’ To this day when I say those words you get hairs on the back of your neck stand up because you’re going to that place.”
Though Bono may feel his lyrics need more work, the band’s producer Brian Eno disagreed.
“Brian said, ‘Incomplete thoughts are generous because they allow the listener to finish them,'” Bono recalls. “As a songwriter I have to realize that the greatest invitation is an invocation.”
“I love the track, myself,” Edge chimes in. “I disagree with Bono. He’s very hard on himself.”
So what exactly would Bono want to change about the band’s soaring anthem? “‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ is not a great lyric. I just wouldn’t have rhymed ‘hide’ with ‘inside’. I knew I could write that better,” the U2 frontman admits.
“Where The Streets have No Name” isn’t the only classic U2 song Bono feels that way about.
“I feel the same way about ‘Bad’,” he says about the track from 1984’s “The Unforgettable Fire”, with The Edge disagreeing once again. “That is mad.”
After praising the rest of the band’s musical performances, telling them they’re only gotten better with time, he doesn’t feel the same about his voice on the classic album.
“I don’t feel the same about my singing on “The Joshua Tree”. It wigs me out a little bit to listen to it so I haven’t listened to it, but I feel much better about it now,” he admits. “I would say I’ve caught up to the band in terms of their musicianship. I feel like now I can sing those songs.”