Sunday, December 4, 2011

I believe in what I'm doing (U2 from Celebration)

The last copy of Q that I read had U2 on the cover. In the inside story Bono claims that U2 are 'the most loved and the most hated band on Earth'.

Now I can't claim to speak for the world (unlike Bono) but U2 is certainly a band I have had a love/non love (why would you ever hate a band?) relationship with over the years.

I seem to prefer the less bombastic corners of their oeuvre as you can sense from my top five selections. I'm thinking of Pride, Bullet The Blue Sky and all of Rattle and Hum when I say bombastic.

Often those corners shelter the love songs and more tender slithers of Bono's soul. Not just romantic love (Wild Honey) but love for lost ones (One Tree Hill), love for his universal brothers and sisters (One), and love of God (Gloria)

Gloria (1981)

The first U2 song I heard, the first U2 single I bought, and the first U2 video I saw (nothing matches your first time). I love the way Bono is throwing his rock star shapes and The Edge just looks cool.

One Tree Hill (1987)

I was born in One Tree Hill in Auckland (in a US military base hospital left there after World War 2) and I grew up and played in the shadows of an area called One Tree Hill, also known as Cornwall Park or Maungakiekie. The song is about the death of a NZ friend of Bono's. The emotions surrounding that and the location make this a rare U2 song - one that I can connect to in a personal way.

It's appropriate, then, that the video uses stills from Nu Zild in general.

Wild Honey (2000)

Bless him - Bono couldn't write a straight love song if he tried - it wouldn't work. Instead we are lucky to have fantastic songs like Wild Honey in the U2 canon. This is an example of a light touch U2 song - they don't appear to be trying too hard (and boy are they capable of THAT). This one just swings along really easily.

One (1991)

The well known stand out song from the great great Achtung Baby album. I love the way The Lighthouse Family used a fragment from One in their song I Wish. I'm a sucker for that kind of homage - like when Hootie And The Blowfish sing a fragment from Dylan's mighty Idiot Wind in Only Wanna Be With You.

New Year's Day (1983)

The live version from Red Rocks is my favourite (on the Under A Blood Red Sky album). It is so atmospheric and seemingly pessimistic - torn in two and nothing changes on New Year's Day but I prefer the optimistic view - that we can break through...we can be one. I like the way that Bono's lyrics feed back and feed forward. Interesting that New Year's Day contains ideas that he explores elsewhere such as One and With Or Without You.

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