Remastered "The Joshua Tree"

I'm not going to say anything about the jaw-dropping sonic differences other than "check them out!" But I do want to make two comments on the book that comes with the deluxe version of the remastered "Joshua Tree" album.

My short comment: everybody make sure to read the draft lyrics to "Streets," with several interesting differences from the finished version.

My longer comment has to do with the title itself. The story that I've always known (I don't have time to look up a source for this) was roughly that during the desert photo shoot, someone suggested the title "Joshua Tree," whereupon Bono got his Bible out, looked up something, and agreed. This anecdote has long baffled me, because there's nothing specific for someone to look up. Obviously there are many resonances with the desert, exodus, various Biblical trees, Jesus=Joshua, tree=Cross, and so on... but "the Joshua tree" per se is a phrase from Mormon history, not a Bible verse.

However, in his essay in the new book, photographer Anton Corbijn tells a different story. This version has him mentioning the phrase to Bono one night, and then the next day Bono arrives with his Bible, saying the title of the album should be "The Joshua Tree." This gap of some hours, rather than a minute or two, gives time for not just finding one reference, but doing some research -- including, wouldn't you think, at least looking through the one Biblical book actually named "Joshua"?

Well, what's the book of Joshua about? It's about the Israelites' half-finished, compromised conquest of the Promised Land, demonstrating their inability to hold fast to the pure vision of Moses. And what does that half-conquest produce? A territory that has two aspects -- one of which is dedicated to Yahweh, and another of which is still enmeshed in idols, war, complacency, plunder, etc. A situation that to me echoes directly the album's original title (and its main theme of) "The Two Americas."

I've certainly heard many comments on the rich symbolism of U2's title and its various scriptural connections. But I don't believe I've ever heard anyone mention this possibility before. Thoughts?

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