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U2 — Bullet the Blue Sky
Album: The Joshua Tree
Avg rating:
7.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1641









Released: 1987
Length: 4:31
Plays (last 30 days): 1
In the howling wind comes a stinging rain
See it driving nails
Into the souls on the tree of pain
From the firefly, a red orange glow
See the face of fear
Running scared in the valley below

Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue
Bullet the blue

In the locust wind comes a rattle and hum
Jacob wrestled the angel
And the angel was overcome
You plant a demon seed
You raise a flower of fire
See them burning crosses
See the flames higher and higher

Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue
Bullet the blue

This guy comes up to me
His face red like a rose on a thorn bush
Like all the colors of a royal flush
And he's peeling off those dollar bills
Slapping them down
One hundred, two hundred
And I can see those fighter planes
And I can see those fighter planes
Across the mud huts where the children sleep
Through the alleys of a quiet city street
You take the staircase to the first floor
Turn the key and slowly unlock the door
As a man breathes into a saxophone
And through the walls you hear the city groan
Outside is America
Outside is America

Across the field you see the sky ripped open
See the rain through a gaping wound
Pounding on the women and children
Who run
Into the arms
Of America
Comments (186)add comment
 MattRudely wrote:
I "don't like U2" but this was clearly their best album, and song possibly.
 

"Where the Streets Have No Name" is my vote for their best song, but I agree about the album.
Best song from these douche bags
One of their best, likely their heaviest and most groovy. Great drums, driving bass and a very edgy Edge. Sweet!
 Noni163 wrote:
Best U2 song
 
No. It's not. So there.
I "don't like U2" but this was clearly their best album, and song possibly.
Best U2 song
Good album
"And he's peeling off those dollar bills, slapping them down : one hundred, two hundred ..."

'MERICA.
Still gives me shivers up my spine every time I hear this.
U2 at their best. love this song.
 maboleth wrote:

+1 Exactly. U2 are boy-zooropa. Everything after that is pure garbage. 
 
Subscribing to this statement
Nice Timing Bill,  I just picked up my tickets for the The Joshua Tree show coming to Phoenix in Sept! 
... and run into the arms America.

 Nope, not today, not anymore.
 Shmelo wrote:
Great song. It reminds me of what a tragic stream of tripe this band has become and how far they've fallen.

 
+1 Exactly. U2 are boy-zooropa. Everything after that is pure garbage. With the exception of Hold me Thrill me Kiss me Kill me.
Very nice segue from ELP's "Stone of Years" to this one!—Kudos to the DJ   {#Cheers}
                      Injected as much code into '' is''' as I'd manage.
                             Threw some ? marks into the bargain.
                                 Threw all the statements out.
                             Afterall, they say it's a doing word.
                     
Love that slide guitar.
Beautiful segue from ELP. 
 Dorothyhancock wrote:
Amazing perfomance

 
Agree


Great song. It reminds me of what a tragic stream of tripe this band has become and how far they've fallen.
Before Bono enrolled into MKUltra summer camp. . . 
Amazing perfomance
8 —> 9

Sonic and lyric power in spades. 
High water mark of a once-great band.
"One hundred, two hundred ...", and all the while, that guitar screams and wails, and the drum kit hammers steadily, "... pounding on the women and children, who run, into the arms of America."
Maybe this song is not for you.. And I can understand. (Bono serious dark political shizzle)
But this album (The Joshua Tree) is quite good all-in-all. To me a classic.
Give it a listen
Not my taste!
Melodramatic caterwauling twaddle. Too over-the-top for my tastes.
Not much of a U2 fan but a great song is a great song. Live even better,
Anyone who loves and appreciates live music should not fail to experience "Bullet The Blue Sky" in concert. Pretty powerful.
Great song and album, says the No-U2 fan!
 perrygibbs wrote:
How about limiting U2 to only every other day? Or start by havng just 1 day off a month and progressing from there?

 
Perry, is there something you'd like to share with us about...addiction?  {#Drunk}{#Cowboy}




love this song...  this album is one of the top ten of all time...

Joshua Tree National Park


Not the biggest fan of this release, but this song is tops.
with Shins fading out and this starting I thought it was Down In The Park by Numan

marvelous...
 
U2 fan WAY back in the day — I remember clearly when this LP came out — it's absolutely genius then and it still is now.  U2 fell out of favor for me after this one — I was at the filming of the Rattle n Hum stadium shows (they weren't playing huge shows, yet, BTW - they sold those tickets for $5 to fill it :-) and for me that was it, and I haven't listened to them in almost 30 years.  HOWEVER when I now hear songs from The Joshua Tree, I remember what an absolutely amazing LP — and band — they were.
I have listened to this album hundreds of times, and never get tired of it. After visiting the Joshua Tree National Park with this CD on the car ... This album is just WOW! I just would like to hear some of the other brilliant songs here, "Red Hill Mining Town" maybe?
How about limiting U2 to only every other day? Or start by havng just 1 day off a month and progressing from there?
 Cynaera wrote:
I never really listened to the song with lyrics in mind, because the music overwhelmed me. But - lyrics. And how money buys power. Even if you hate Bono and his glad-handing, at least give him credit for knowing the enemy...
 
Well said, friend...  miss you...

 
The song is great, but that guitar solo... WOW! Masterful work by "the" Edge. It deserves a place as one of the best 50 guitar solos of all time.
 sirdroseph wrote:


U2 is a good band, this song is really good. No one in their right mind has ever compared them musically to Led Zepplin though they may end up selling more records than Zep. Selling records and good music only occasionally hang out together though and are not really good friends.
 
I came of musical age with the Beatles and the Stones and my high school was definitely a stronghold of the Zeppelin, Who, Floyd fanatics.

Really love Zep and the Who - Floyd not so much, but as I moved on to first Bowie and then punk and on the Elvis Costello, U2s arrival on the rock radio scene were welcome breaths of fresh air - that I inhaled in massive quantities - so my affection for them still exceeds mine for Zeppelin.

And really its for one main reason - and if you see who my mainstay's were you can tell - its the songs.  The tunes.  The well crafted musical stories.  Zep was a mind blowing Blues/Rock/Hardass kicking quartet with fantastic players and an incredibly charismatic front man. Floyd was a mind blowing Blues/Prog/Atmospheric/ neo-Classical  bunch of amazing players.

But in my humble opinion, U2, like the Beatles and Stones, the Who, Bowie, and Elvis - just wrote - and occasionally sitll write - better songs than Plant, Page, Waters, Gilmour et al.
 lemmoth wrote:

Absolutely —- a show stopper live.....
 

I agreee !!!!!!!!!
 MiracleDrug wrote:
this song KILLS live...
 
Absolutely —- a show stopper live.....
An understanding of bullets. Eloquently executed explanation.,
Terrific song but there's been an awful lot of U2 lately, no? I have the albums, y'know.
 MiracleDrug wrote:
this song KILLS live...
 

Didn`t kill me, I liked it.
6 months of Radio Paradise and first time Ive had to listen to that nob,please RP leave U2 to the crap commercial 
stations to play. Bono,you sold out years ago. 
So when did RP become the U2 channel? Not necessarily complaining, but there have been as many U2 songs in the past week as my local "Dave" FM station plays—and that's a lot.
this song KILLS live...
 sirdroseph wrote:
U2 is a good band, this song is really good. No one in their right mind has ever compared them musically to Led Zepplin though they may end up selling more records than Zep. Selling records and good music only occasionally hang out together though and are not really good friends.

In general I'd agree, but this particular song sounds very much like Zep, particularly the bass/drums. (Try playing it back to back with "When The Levee Breaks".) Not saying that's good or bad, it just is.
 coloradojohn wrote:
I remember well the first time I heard this; I was talking to my room-mate Mary at 745 Arapaho, and this thing came over KBCO and we both fell silent as I reached for the volume knob and gave it a crank.  We freaked!  Sure, I had a good green buzz on, but...this was something else...It felt like the room was moving, the floor was heaving, as the sky was being ripped open by fighter planes and bullets were strafing down and Bono's voice breathed into the microphone and that bass wailed and Edge played and jagged shards came right out of my speakers and the neighbors pounded on the walls but we made them wait till it was over...YEAH!
 
That's what rock and roll is about.   I had a similar experience the first time I heard Nirvana's Smells like Teen Spirit.  Was working at a Best Buy in the computer section.  Somebody in the stereo section next to us cranked up Nirvana so half the store could hear it.  I was working two ailes down and should have went over there and turned it down, but instead, I was like, "Wow"...  that freakin' rocks...  and let it play LOUD. 

YEAH! 
 On_The_Beach wrote:
Led Zeppelin Live 1975
 

U2 is a good band, this song is really good. No one in their right mind has ever compared them musically to Led Zepplin though they may end up selling more records than Zep. Selling records and good music only occasionally hang out together though and are not really good friends.
I NEVER get tired of Joshua Tree — U2's finest. This track, as an earlier poster so aptly said, is FIERCE!
Led Zeppelin Live 1975
 Jahgal wrote:

I think I need to join your party! Third Album I ever bought. Still makes my heart skip a beat hearing it. 
 
 


I know what you mean...  this is a GREAT song, and this album is a classic...  you are welcome anytime!

 
I remember well the first time I heard this; I was talking to my room-mate Mary at 745 Arapaho, and this thing came over KBCO and we both fell silent as I reached for the volume knob and gave it a crank.  We freaked!  Sure, I had a good green buzz on, but...this was something else...It felt like the room was moving, the floor was heaving, as the sky was being ripped open by fighter planes and bullets were strafing down and Bono's voice breathed into the microphone and that bass wailed and Edge played and jagged shards came right out of my speakers and the neighbors pounded on the walls but we made them wait till it was over...YEAH!
 romeotuma wrote:


Everybody in my hotel room loves this song, and this whole album...


 
 
I think I need to join your party! Third Album I ever bought. Still makes my heart skip a beat hearing it. 
 
 mandolin wrote:
...oh, this is just perfect rolling out of puscifer's green valley...
 

I agree!


Everybody in my hotel room loves this song, and this whole album...


 
Someone called this a screaming guitar, and that's wonderfully descriptive.  Powerful music, and "outside it's America" with screaming, jangly guitar noises.

great album!  don't "diss" bono!


 romeotuma wrote:

The Joshua tree is a plant in the southwestern United States, with sword-shaped leaves and greenish-white flowers grouped in large panicles...

a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century named the plant the Joshua tree, after Joshua of the Old Testament— the forks of the tree reminded them of Joshua's hand raised as he prayed, and also the shape of the leaves reminded them of Joshua's spear...

the name of U2's album, The Joshua Tree, is complicated... first, the entire album has a religious theme... second, the title is a tribute to the global power of the United States... third, the album also shows U2's fascination with American culture, politics, and forms of music...

this is a great song...


YES IT IS!
 


...oh, this is just perfect rolling out of puscifer's green valley...
I never really listened to the song with lyrics in mind, because the music overwhelmed me. But - lyrics. And how money buys power. Even if you hate Bono and his glad-handing, at least give him credit for knowing the enemy...

In the howlin' wind
Comes a stingin' rain
See it drivin' nails
Into the souls on the tree of pain.

From the firefly
A red orange glow
See the face of fear
Runnin' scared in the valley below.

Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue
Bullet the blue.

In the locust wind
Comes a rattle and hum.
Jacob wrestled the angel
And the angel was overcome.

You plant a demon seed
You raise a flower of fire.
We see them burnin' crosses
See the flames, higher and higher.

Woh, woh, bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue
Bullet the blue.

Now this guy comes up to me
His face red like a rose on a thorn bush
Like all the colours of a royal flush
And he's peelin' off those dollar bills
(Slappin' 'em down)
One hundred, two hundred.

And I can see those fighter planes
And I can see those fighter planes
Across the mud huts as children sleep
Through the alleys of a quiet city street.
Up the staircase to the first floor
We turn the key and slowly unlock the door
As a man breathes into his saxophone
And through the walls you hear the city groan.
Outside, is America
Outside, is America
America.

See across the field
See the sky ripped open
See the rain comin' through the gapin' wound
Howlin' the women and children
Who run into the arms
of America...


 SaintPeter wrote:
Bill!!

These guys are tiresome.  Let them RIP.
  Bill really likes U2 and knows that a lot of us really like them too. I, for one, find this album to be a masterpiece along with The Unforgettable Fire and Achtung Baby. That said, I also think that Bono can a pretentious twit. I don't blame him for moving his money to the Netherlands because he doesn't want to bankroll Ireland. He freely uses his money at HIS discretion, not his government's. But they have in recent years put out music that can be at best, very formulamatic.

That said, this is a great song off a great album. The United States really is that frightening to the rest of the world! Trust me on this. I have seen our country thru the eyes of others, and they are often wide and full of disbelief.




The Joshua tree is a plant in the southwestern United States, with sword-shaped leaves and greenish-white flowers grouped in large panicles...

a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century named the plant the Joshua tree, after Joshua of the Old Testament— the forks of the tree reminded them of Joshua's hand raised as he prayed, and also the shape of the leaves reminded them of Joshua's spear...

the name of U2's album, The Joshua Tree, is complicated... first, the entire album has a religious theme... second, the title is a tribute to the global power of the United States... third, the album also shows U2's fascination with American culture, politics, and forms of music...

this is a great song...



You too.
I stay; want to hear the screaming guitar.

 
SaintPeter wrote:
Bono needs to go.
 


 SaintPeter wrote:
Bill!!
These guys are tiresome.  Let them RIP.
   
What?  And miss out on "Spider Man, The Musical?"          {#Smile}


Bill!!

These guys are tiresome.  Let them RIP.
Whooo hoo oo hoo oo oooohhh!!!
Inside is the Americans dreaming the American dream. Outside is America. 
"The God I worship isn't short on CASH, MISTER!!!"
I've heard the reggae version of this, and it's great in its own way.  Still, this song, with its driving beat and guitar, makes me wanna go out and revolute.
Bono needs to go.
 Bookmaniac wrote:


Before they got religion and lost their edge.
 
That's not true.  They always had a religious (read: Christian) undertones to their music, owning to the active faith of most members.  Many of their songs touch on this, going all the way back to "I Will Follow".  From what I understand, that song is loosely written from Jesus' point of view as he calls out to a wayward soul "Walk away, walk away - I will follow."  In other words, grace.
 hopalong wrote:
There is no bad U2 song.
 
but there is a great U2 song named Bad ;)

i've never been able to shake the feeling that if bono had been born 20 years earlier he'd be making a living singing 'danny boy' at funerals.
There is no bad U2 song.
Patti Smith influences? {#Ask}
 flatpicker wrote:
Great tune!
Back when they were awesome!

 

Yes! Before they got religion and lost their edge. Glad to know it's not just me.
 Danimal174 wrote:
Recommendation for a setlist -

Patty Griffin - "Blue Sky"
U2 - "Bullet the Blue Sky"
Pink Floyd - "Goodbye Blue Sky"
 
How 'bout "Sky Blue Sky" by Wilco in your set?

 Danimal174 wrote:
Recommendation for a setlist -

Patty Griffin - "Blue Sky"
U2 - "Bullet the Blue Sky"
Pink Floyd - "Goodbye Blue Sky"
 
Yes. Then end it with Billie Holiday - "How High is the Sky".


Fierce.
Recommendation for a setlist -

Patty Griffin - "Blue Sky"
U2 - "Bullet the Blue Sky"
Pink Floyd - "Goodbye Blue Sky"
Great tune!
Back when they were awesome!

This is a nice little set! Harder! Harder!
 eddief wrote:

Barely play, huh?  Nobody, that I've heard, has even reomotely come close to sounding like The Edge.  Maybe he's just over your head, pal.   I'm truly sorry you don't get it.

Bono once said that notes are expensive and the Edge is the master of knowing when to use them.  I agree.  Sometimes less is more.  And sometimes the true measure of a guitar player, or any musician for that matter, is knowing when NOT to play. 
 

Excellent comment and I agree completely. I love how guitar players love to cut down Edge about his playing. Too many guitarists think that the song is about how fast they can play a scale or finger tap their way through the solo. Edge has an ear. A lot of players don't.
If you work too hard at the mechanics of guitar playing, that's how you play, mechanically.
...outside it's America
The Edge is on fire!
My goodness, I sincerely LOVE reading these comments. {#Arrowd}
 That_SOB wrote:
Typical Limey !! Go East young man, go east and STAY ! S. Ireland man don't need you hanging around anyway. . . While Bono ( Irish) may be a jerk he has at least used his clout to raise a billion pounds for African Charity. While the Brits still look at the world as their colony. . Austrilia's a good example. Everyone knows it's down there and no-one gives a damn.
Must be the Brit penal colony thing, aye mate ?
 
I'm sure there are University courses on social media, and I would like to propose this comment as a topic for an assignment. Or maybe be a thesis.

One commenter has expressed a view about Bono, to which he is perfectly entitled: "U2 on the other hand are vastly overrated and do not deserve a quarter of their fame. Bono is a jerk" However, the response from That_SOB has several elements worthy of note.

1 Let's start with a national generalisation "Typical Limey"
2 Let's add in the gratuitous use of exclamation marks
3 I'll ignore the reference to 'S. Ireland'
4 Next the respondent AGREES that Bono might be a jerk
5 But although That_SOB doesn't seem to dispute the opinion about Bono, s/he then suggests that all British people are locked in a colonial mindset 
6 Austrillia? see point three
7 In one paragraph, That_SOB has skipped away from a comment about Bono into a tirade about British imperialist attitudes towards Australia

Genius.

With freedom comes responsibility. Discuss.
 

 pojms wrote:
i have never been an admirer of U2. however  this tune did catch my ear while i was painting my bedroom. maybe it was the paint fumes  {#Tongue}
 
Having worked in house painting and construction for years, I did develop an appreciation for some songs which I would not have if I were not standing on a ladder or engulfed in potentially hazardous fumes.  This song sounds good loud in the aforementioned situations. 


Reminds me of Sept. 11.
SO TRUE!! 

chirpie wrote:

It's not about how many notes, it's not about skill, it's about emotion.

There's more than one way to enjoy a song.

snowcat wrote:


One of the best statements ever made on a song review forum.



 romeotuma wrote:

There is deep meaning in the title of this album...

 

Care to elaborate?
GAH!  so much crappy negativity on this board!  chill out people {#Sunny}

I know day jobs suck, and sitting alone in front of your computer at 2am sucks too, but that's what blogs are for...

music is good stuff.  Haters Relaaaax


 romeotuma wrote:

There is deep meaning in the title of this album...

 
Buried in it is the code to The Matrix.

 jagdriver wrote:
MOTH-er.....I want to....YARRRTRGGHHHGHGGYG......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
{#Laughing}

 ChardRemains wrote:
The Edge= a human effects box who can barely play. What a poser.
 
Barely play, huh?  Nobody, that I've heard, has even reomotely come close to sounding like The Edge.  Maybe he's just over your head, pal.   I'm truly sorry you don't get it.

Bono once said that notes are expensive and the Edge is the master of knowing when to use them.  I agree.  Sometimes less is more.  And sometimes the true measure of a guitar player, or any musician for that matter, is knowing when NOT to play. 


MOTH-er.....I want to....YARRRTRGGHHHGHGGYG......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IMHO, a real turning point for this band.  I really liked this CD - and nothing since.
i have never been an admirer of U2. however  this tune did catch my ear while i was painting my bedroom. maybe it was the paint fumes  {#Tongue}
Terrific song from an excellent album.  May be their best.
By the way, the version of this on the U23D IMAX film has a spectacular guitar solo, very much outside Edge's normal sound.  Worth checking out.
 chirpie wrote:
It's not about how many notes, it's not about skill, it's about emotion.

There's more than one way to enjoy a song.

 

One of the best statements ever made on a song review forum.

There is deep meaning in the title of this album...

they were at their best for me - stunning
crazy wrote:
somebody shoot me.please :eyes: :skull:
I prefer to drown my victims. But come over anyway, I'm sure we can work something out. I am in the general area of the world and would be glad to accomodate you. I'll put a bullet in your blue sky piehole. :ass:
ubastard wrote:
I've worked and lived on N and S Ireland, Great place. U2 on the other hand are vastly overrated and do not deserve a quarter of their fame. Bono is a jerk. :puke:
Typical Limey !! Go East young man, go east and STAY ! S. Ireland man don't need you hanging around anyway. . . While Bono ( Irish) may be a jerk he has at least used his clout to raise a billion pounds for African Charity. While the Brits still look at the world as their colony. . Austrilia's a good example. Everyone knows it's down there and no-one gives a damn. Must be the Brit penal colony thing, aye mate ?
This is great...but I give it only an 9 because its not as good as the live version on Rattle and Hum. :bounce:
Ahnyer_Keester wrote:
Gotta be the coolest U2 song of all.
U gotta B kidding...? :beat:
Gotta be the coolest U2 song of all.
somebody shoot me.please :eyes: :skull:
HazzeSwede wrote:
Anyone knows who came up with the name U2?
From the U2 wiki article:
The origin of the name "U2" is unclear; on a list of six names provided by the Dublin punk rock guru Steve Averill,<10> "U2" was chosen for its ambiguity and open-ended interpretations, and because it was the name that the members of the band disagreed with the least.N3 <11>
As for who came up with the name of the spy plane the band took the name from, I suppose it was someone at Lockheed Martin.
slartibart_O wrote:
Blehh. So what? Ted Nugent did it first with stranglehold.
I knew this reminded of some other song, but just could not put my on it ... Stranglehold was OK in my more youthful days. Can't take it now. Guess that explains my lack of patience with this.
Anyone knows who came up with the name U2?
slartibart_O wrote:
Blehh. So what? Ted Nugent did it first with stranglehold.
Yeah, but I have certain images of Ted burnt in my head that make it hard to enjoy his songs sometimes... https://www.celebrityweek.com/uploadimages/Celebrities(N-Z)/TedNugent.jpg ;-)
ChardRemains wrote:
Point taken. You got me on that one!
Thank you kindly. :-) I, of course, don't begrude anyone for not liking this song, it can be a bit preachy. ^_^
Blehh. So what? Ted Nugent did it first with stranglehold.