This year cannot be allowed to expireÃ‚Â until we mark the 20th anniversary ofÃ‚Â the release of one of the great albums of the last century.Ã‚Â
It’s one of thoseÃ‚Â signposts in the landscape ofÃ‚Â modern pop culture that only seems to loom larger the further you get from it.Ã‚Â It now seems incomprehensible that Rolling Stone placed this album only second on its list of the best albums of 1987 (although readers picked it #1), but it was thenÃ‚Â third on its 1990 list of the Best Albums of the 80s (behind Purple Rain #2Ã‚Â and London Calling #1), and #26 on its 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.Ã‚Â
Was it really 20 years ago?
I was between my junior and senior years of college, standing inÃ‚Â a music store in Taipei,Ã‚Â Taiwan on myÃ‚Â day off from teaching English to endless classes of extremely well behaved Chinese children.Ã‚Â Mindlessly browsing through the racksÃ‚Â for somethingÃ‚Â new to stick in my yellow Sony Walkman Sport (remember?),Ã‚Â I picked up a new cassette from U2,Ã‚Â Ã‚Â a band I had come to love through repeat listenings of The Unforgettable Fire and Under a Blood Red Sky.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â IÃ‚Â had heard next to nothing about this new album.Ã‚Â I bought it, put it in, went on my way, and didn’t take that tape out again for a very long time.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I listened to it while walking to work every day, between teaching classes, while walking back to my tiny apartment, while on public transportation, while writing in my journal, while falling asleep.Ã‚Â If I could have listened to it in the shower, I would have.Ã‚Â It became part of my subconscious.Ã‚Â What I heard was a revelation.Ã‚Â It was unflinchinglyÃ‚Â both political and religious, it was about war and drug addicton, missing children, obsessive love, deserted landscapes, death and faith.Ã‚Â I loved every single song.Ã‚Â I still do.
Where were you?Ã‚Â