The Joshua Tree—hmm, maybe I am too hard on it—but at another time in my life I admired it as a rare spiritually-themed album and it resonated with me. Do I now miss something about this unique album?
It meant more to me then than it seems to do now. I took this album on the road with me as I went on a sort-of “quest”, a spiritual quest really, trying to drain the spirituality I thought was in the album into my soul.
What were those spiritual themes?
The album began with Where the Streets Have No Name, an obvious metaphor I think for spiritual enlightenment that breaks downs the walls that hold one inside. For me, it came with substance and meaning, though put so simply, and a beautifully produced recording.
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, another beautiful recoding, was so obviously spiritual. A person on a search or quest and trying to connect resonated. Even when he believed, there was a need for more closing down of the walls that held him inside. Even believers need to daily die to self and find Christ at the end.
In my previous review of The Joshua Tree I missed the theme of connection, to find one’s centering, one’s middle or sense of life and being from which their life flows. Seeing this theme now changes my whole view of the album today.
With or Without You—reminded me of being with or without God—but how? That question summed up my quest. How would I find what I was looking for, if God was present or absent?
Bullet the Blue Sky evoked the atrocities of war and shining a light on it. The blue sky doesn’t deserve the slings and arrows of violence and we are still searching for peace even though blue skies signify tranquility.
And on the songs went…the first four admittedly being my favorites.
Later in life, I thought that having my quest fulfilled negated the theme of quest at the center of The Joshua Tree and made it weak. In a way it does. But there is a knowing what the album is about and how this was expressed resonantly. One can’t deny it.
There is also a need to look again at it with new eyes. The Joshua Tree is a symbol for the Cross, the cross that Jesus died on, the life of Christ sacrificing himself for others. The Joshua Tree is also about a quest. Bring these themes together and it is a quest to daily die to self and make the world a better place.