Five years ago, I wrote a piece for www.atu2.com about the 30th anniversary of U2’s album October. Upon its release, the record wasn’t received well by critics, but it has been meaningful and enduring for many fans. It’s spiritual themes, reflecting the Christian commune that Bono, Edge and Larry were a part of, convey a hopeful, optimistic message, demonstrating the “anti-cynic” attitude of four adolescents who wouldn’t let their futures be dictated by the despair of 1970’s Dublin. You could almost hear Bono singing, “Don’t let the bastards bring you down.” But, of course, it would take another decade to develop that idea.
On this 35th anniversary of October, I offer, once again, my review from 2011, which also includes a rare U2 interview from 1982.
October is a wonderful month. It’s a month of contrasts and collisions. Where I live, in California, it can be 100 degrees and raining or 40 degrees and foggy. It’s a season in which there are still roses in my garden but also trees that are turning yellow and red. October is about change, movement, transformation.
I think that’s why I’m drawn to the album October, and especially the song of the same title. “October” is a song of contradictions; it’s a parable of the temporal and the eternal, of the unstable and the unchangeable . . . .