233. October – U2

OCTOBER (1981)


Considered to be U2’s most “Christian” sounding album, October is a stunningly sad sounding album, with visions of the Fall and a seemingly “orange and grey” sound to the album. It is also beautiful, haunting and unforgettable. The only hit single from the album, Gloria, and the praise driven “Rejoice” remain the most upbeat on an album that, in an odd way, is almost worshipful at times.

Three of the band members were intensely involved with a religious organization that caused them to consider what to do with the band and the content of the albums. Where the predecessor, Boy, dealt with the life of youth and the follow-up, War, shows them as adults living and shouting in the “real world,” it is October that serves as this transitional album. The religious overtones are more upfront here than on nearly any other entire recording in their long career.

the struggles of faith and fame, sin and sanctification take center stage as the band worked through these life lessons through the cathartic songwriting process. Ironically, it is also this album in which many of the lyrics were taken from the bands hotel room and Bono found himself “improvising” on many songs including Gloria. Bono once joked about the difficulties of making a sophomore release for any band, but how they added to the difficulty by making it about God.

October is listed as the poorest selling album in the band’s history and many have ignored what a great album it really is. There is so much growth as musicians and songwriters on this album as The Edge incorporated piano into many songs and the band delivers a diversity of musical expressions.Most notable on the back to back “Tomorrow” and “October.” Atmospheric guitars and stark solo piano make these songs stand out for their simplicity and haunting qualities.

It was with this album, though, that many young Christians discovered the band and, as a result, hold a very special place in many CCM rock fans hearts.

  1. paul
    November 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    This is my all time favorite U2 album and would put in my top 10 albums. All of the songs are great and the whole album is a great listen from start to finish. Although not billed as a christian album the lyrics are very much so. I think my favorite song is “Gloria”.

  2. Paul
    November 24, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Definitely a part of my collection. However, it seems rather choppy, it lacks the flow of later albums. I didnt really gain an appreciation for U2 until Achtung, Baby, although I loved the eclectic splendor of Rattle and Hum.

  3. Shawn McLaughlin
    November 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Agree with Paul #2 that this album is a bit choppier than later work. I feel that the last 2 records are pretty much as overtly spiritual as October. I could see “Yahweh”, “All Because of You” and “Magnificent” as worship songs in more progressive churches. Good point about the expanded musical palette though.

  4. Brian
    November 25, 2010 at 1:18 am

    I lost U2 after Joshua Tree….something changed.
    This album was my first listen to U2 and it made me a fan.
    TOMORROW and OCTOBER are hauntingly wonderful…the war torn feeling and faith living in the moment together. “Will YOU come out tomorrow?”

    But the frantic Fire is also a standout. This album could have only made it in the early 80’s as new wave/punk was in flux and taking a larger piece of the pie from classic rock genre. It is a blend of each.

    I cherish this as a whole release and individually each song in its own right.
    Boy – Joshua Tree was were I truly enjoyed U2

  5. Tony
    December 1, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    This is such an underrated/maligned album by the Dublin lads! I still think it is their deepest album ever. The choppiness just adds to the appeal…it just seems real without the over-production. I miss this blatant Christianity-themed era of U2!!!

  6. June 18, 2011 at 1:56 am

    I used to hate U2 before I found this album. I don’t consider myself as a fan even now but still I like “October” and “Joshua Tree” very much. This is often a forgotten album from U2 indeed. Althought it is the poorest selling album in their history, it is maybe the most important album from them for the Christians.

  7. Grenville
    July 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I Fall Down from this record is one of my favourite songs of theirs, killer dynamics and arranging, and a leap forward from the debut album.

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