Music: War


War is the third studio album by U2, released in 1983. At the time it surprised many for being a New Sound Album where the band grew the beard as songwriters. Many songs, including the hits "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "New Year's Day" were very political and directly referred to the civil war in Northern Ireland. It's widely regarded as their first classic album.


  1. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" - (4:38)
  2. "Seconds" - (3:09)
  3. "New Year's Day" - (5:38)
  4. "Like A Song..." - (4:48)
  5. "Drowning Man" - (4:12)
  6. "The Refugee" - (3:40)
  7. "Two Hearts Beat As One" - (4:00)
  8. "Red Light" - (3:46)
  9. "Surrender" - (5:34)
  10. "40" - (2:36)

Principal Members:

  • Bono - lead vocals, guitar
  • Adam Clayton - bass
  • The Edge - guitar, backing and lead vocals, piano, bass
  • Larry Mullen Jr. - drums

New Year's Tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: While the album's title is fitting, the word is only mentioned in a line in "The Refugee" (the plural form, "wars," is heard in "New Year's Day").
  • Apathetic Citizens: "Sunday, Bloody Sunday"
    And today the millions die
    We eat and drink while tomorrow they die!
  • As the Good Book Says: "40" has lyrics based on Psalm 40 of the Bible.
  • Atomic Hate: "Seconds".
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The album cover is in black and white.
  • New Sound Album: Compared to their earlier albums this record way more political and confrontational.
  • One Man Song: "Drowning Man".
  • One-Word Title: "War".
  • The Power of Love: "Two Hearts Beat As One".
  • Protest Song: "Sunday Bloody Sunday" aimed at The Troubles in Northern Ireland, directly referencing the bloodbath of January 30, 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland when 26 civil rights protesters and bystanders were shot dead by British soldiers. "New Year's Day" was inspired by the Polish solidarity movement which came into blossom in 1980 and provided a stance against the communist government.
  • Shout-Out: "Seconds" contains a clip from the 1982 documentary "Soldier Girls".
  • Special Guest: Kid Creole and the Coconuts performed backing vocals on three of the tracks.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: The Edge sings the first two stanzas of "Seconds".
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: The child on the album cover, who consequently was the brother of a friend of Bono.
  • War Is Hell: A huge theme, especially in "Sunday Bloody Sunday".

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