- 02 Nov 20
Louize Carroll shares her reflections on U2's legacy, as part of our 'Voices on U2' series.
I first discovered U2 through my sister Lisa, who was a huge fan. I shared a room with her, and I remember countless posters blue-tacked on the bedroom wall, along with Boy and The Joshua Tree being played at unholy decibels through the house. To this day, I deeply respect my parents for having allowed this indulgence!
My brother Simon used to be a metal head, which I also grew to embrace, but U2 brought a little more melodic relief into the situation.
I remember being struck at that early age by the charisma U2 carried: they were so engaging to me, so addictive to look at. Their confidence, and how immersed they were in the sounds they created completely hooked you in, and took you along for the ride. Their performances were so intoxicating.
All That You Can’t Leave Behind became one of the soundtracks to my own teenage years.
They have always had a capacity to write and produce anthems, songs like ‘Beautiful Day’, that manage to completely entrance the ears and hearts of a stadium full of people. They really honed the craft of how to own the largest of stages – and to fill every corner of it.
There has always been an essence to the band that conveyed a stoic resistance to, and a drive to fight, injustice. It is there in ‘Walk On’ and again in ‘Peace On Earth’, the two most political tracks on All That You Can’t Leave Behind. U2 were – and are – capable of being provocative and political without being anarchic. And they were evocative without being overly melancholic. They consistently struck a balance that garnered widespread respect – not only for their talent and their music, but also for their ability to brilliantly represent our country across the globe.
I think, for Ireland, they delivered a sense of pride and possibility. In fact, in many ways, they encouraged young aspiring musicians, me among them, to believe that they could aim higher, wider, broader and that – if they worked at it – maybe just maybe, they could peek their own talented heads above the noise too.
They brought a lot of weight to our music industry – and showed globally just what kind of quality musicians we can grow out of this little green island. With that, though, of course came the propensity for that uniquely Irish duality of being proud but also being inclined to smack you over the back of the head to bring you down to earth, just in case, you know?
But 40 years on from the release of Boy, their achievements speak for themselves. Long may they continue.
• The Blizzards’ single, ‘One Good Thing’, is out now.
With two anniversaries rolled into one, 2020 is an important moment for U2 – marking 40 years since their extraordinary debut album Boy, and 20 years since their marvellously resonant All That You Can’t Leave Behind. To celebrate, we released the Hot Press U2: 80-00-20 Special – out now!