this is my overdue u2 post. i ask that you read until the “more…” after that, you can feel free to not read, tho i’m not really doing this for my own health…

songwriters and musicians often say that they don’t do the writing, that the songs they come up with are things that are given to them, or that come to them, or are channeled through them by a higher power. they are just outlets for things that exist somewhere. that they are mediums. and there are times when this seems like the only explanation for music. er, well…some music. maybe not all of it. good music i’d say (of course, with “good” open to interpretation though i consider myself to be very fair when it comes to judging a good or bad song…i pride myself in the ability to think something is good even if i don’t like it *ahem*thebeatles*ahem*).

sometimes it just hits me that there was a point in time where a certain song didn’t exist. and i find that very hard to believe. the song that strikes me the most in this regard is “with or without you” by u2. i cannot wrap my mind around the fact that before 1987 this song did not exist. that the world went on without ever knowing this song. i don’t consider it to be u2’s best song, i’d say it’s in my top ten and maybe top five, but…they’ve done better work, and there are things they’ve done that i like more. but it’s mainly this song in their whole body of work that i think, there is no way this song didn’t exist before “the joshua tree”. in general i don’t even like “the joshua tree”, i like half of it, the rest bores me. but “with or without you” hits me as this song that holds some kind of power that makes it absolutely eternal. it existed before it’s creation and it will exist forever. it’s immortal you could say.

i think it’s hard to explain.

some of what u2 and the general public consider to be their best work, i have a love/hate relationship with. i’ll focus on the 2 big ones…

1. “one” from achtung baby. i hate this song. i love this song. i hate this song because it is so perfect. aside from the unpleasant associations i once had with the song (i’ve gotten over that) i hate it. it’s over played, it’s over thought about, it’s over discussed. it’s the song that u2 claims kept them together when things were at their worst within the band. blahblahblah. boring. and then sometimes i hear it and i realize how phenomenal the song is, how perfect it is, how the lyrics are some of the most…accurate i have ever heard. accurate is not really the right word, but i don’t know how else to explain it. it is the most appropriate and accurate description of human relationships i have ever seen. and i hate it. it’s powerful and emotional and a masterpiece. it’s overdone, and overplayed but it’s perfect.

2. “stay (faraway so close)” from zooropa. i don’t like this song. seriously. i don’t really care for the music, and i don’t understand how bono can claim that it may be the best song they ever wrote. and then you get to the lyrics. this song is completely different from “one”. “one” is perfect, “stay” is not. but “stay” holds that same power that “one” has. no one knows “stay” (hell no one knows zooropa), it’s not over done, not every band on earth has covered it (have any?)…i even forget the song was made, and then i hear it, and all i can ever say is “i forget how incredible this song is”. it’s hard to explain how this song makes me feel, so i don’t know if i should say anything else, i feel that i’m not saying much and not getting my point across. where “one” is about the entire package, “stay” is about the lyrics…they are incredible.
And if you look, you look through me
And when you talk, you talk at me
And when I touch you, you don’t feel a thing

If I could stay…
Then the night would give you up
Stay… and the day would keep its trust
Stay… and the night would be enough

I admittedly am not familiar with u2’s early albums (pre-joshua tree) aside from the singles. If you were to classify my fandom i’d be a 1990s-u2 fan – achtung, zooropa, pop (yes i like pop, er half of it). So I’m not going to address their early albums. I have a problem with u2. every u2 cd i own i hated at first listen. with the exception of pop. i liked the first 5 songs on joshua tree, hated the rest. i hated all of achtung except mysterious ways. i was indifferent to zooropa. i don’t really remember pop, i got it when it came out, and listened to it tons, but was detached and i don’t remember really having an opinion on it (except that i hated “the playboy mansion” and to this day i think it’s one of the worst songs ever created by man). i thought “all that you can’t leave behind” (ATYCLB) was boring. and “how to dismantle an atomic bomb” (HTDAAB) was a huge let down…but anway…

the joshua tree – i am expected to like joshua tree because EVERYONE likes joshua tree, because it’s such a great album, one of the greatest albums of all time, u2s best work, blahblahblah. well no. i don’t like joshua tree. it’s boring. it’s not bad, it’s fantastic work, it just bores me. but i guarantee anyone who only knows joshua tree would have their mind blown by post-joshua tree u2. the general public knows parts of 2 u2 albums…the first 3 tracks of joshua tree and 2 or 3 from achtung baby (ok and some from that last one that made everyone get through sept11th)…but they are seriously missing out on u2’s gems and what i consider to be their best work.

achtung baby – hands down u2’s best album. when i got it, i hated it, but i dug it out 4 months later and was completely blown away. i could not understand how i had not liked it when i first listened. it has some of the most incredible songs on it, including my favourite song of all time “love is blindness”. to me, nothing is better than “love is blindness”. it is the most haunting song u2 has recorded, and sometimes i feel like it just sinks into your bones. achtung baby is one of the only albums i’d consider to be perfect – every song is good, there is no filler. there is no reason to have a fast forward button.

zooropa – i feel like this album was one big giant experiment. it sounds nothing like u2’s past (well…i’m not sure anyone expected achtung after joshua tree either). i was rather indifferent at first, but then i got to the point where i loved it, and found it very uplifting (…tho there i can’t seem to think if there is a low point in the album, and i mean low in the emotional sense, there is nothing depressing on it…) there is nothing about it that should be uplifting, it’s mostly devoid of any sort of spiritual message that would be uplifting (exception: the first time) but something about the music makes it so. but then there’s “the wanderer” with johnny cash that just ruins the experience of the album. burn it on a cd for yourself minus the last track and it’ll be fine haha

pop – everyone hates pop. and it’s a shame really. this was bono’s last great lyrical album. after this he lost his touch. again, it sounds nothing like what u2 is supposed to sound like (but i never understood why that’s a bad thing, for any band, to grow and change etc). it just further alienated everyone who thought joshua tree was the be all and end all of u2. i like half of this album, but i’m beginning to appreciate all but 2 songs. “the playboy mansion” as i said, is the worst song ever created, and “miami” is high on that list as well. i’ve learned to appreciate “please” after hearing it live, “velvet dress” is incredibly sensual, and “wake up dead man” is ok…this album features “gone” and “staring at the sun” which i consider to be a few of u2’s best songs. without getting into the history of the album and how it was unfinished, u2 definitely grew into these songs by playing live and i can’t imagine u2 being u2 without this album.

all that you can’t leave behind – i read a review of ATYCLB where they said that u2 had created their 3rd masterpiece. i disagree, but i don’t think anyone is surprised – it was recorded post 1990s hehe. again, hated the album, but dug it out after seeing u2 live, and realized it wasn’t so bad. seriously, it got me through the emotions of sept11th. it sounds cliched but it did. i don’t know why. listening to it made me happy no matter what kind of mood i was in. every song but “grace” was fun for me. but since then i’ve gone back to only liking half of it (see a trend? hah). “walk on” saves the entire album. “walk on” is an amazing song and i don’t know why it took them so long to come up with it.

how to dismantle an atomic bomb – i am still in the phase where i don’t really like this album. it has some really incredible lines in it, but it was a huge let down after all the hype about it being a “guitar driven” record, with “vertigo” being the first single and that it’s so fun, and after 5 years since the previous album – i expected more. it fell short. it’s not bad, but i’m not in love with it. the temple bar “vertigo” mix is hilarious tho hahah. i have the love/hate thing going on with “miracle drug” because i think it speaks for me and i hate that it does. i find that i can’t really listen to it at the moment because it makes me too emotional. and it contains “yahweh” which is on the list with “miami” and “the playboy manson” and if they play it live, that’s when i’ll go to the bathroom.

i’m not the kind of person to like everything a certain band has ever created, be it u2, nine inch nails, whoever…if a song sucks, it sucks, and i’ll say it. there are alot of things u2 have done that i don’t really like, you can’t please everyone. but u2 is u2 and everything they’ve created is who they are. it’s bono, edge, adam and larry and it could never be anyone else.

the rest of this post, under the cut, is what i find to be u2’s most incredible lyrics. i have my reasons for liking the ones i choose, feel free to try to figure out why…if you made it this far, you might as well keep reading, maybe you’ll get struck by a few…

bad – If I could through myself/Set your spirit free/I’d lead your heart away/See you break, break away/Into the light/And to the day

the unforgettable fire – Stay this time/Stay tonight in a lie/I’m only asking but I…/I think you know

with or without you – My hands are tied/My body bruised, she’s got me with/Nothing to win and/Nothing left to lose

running to stand still – You got to cry without weeping/Talk without speaking/Scream without raising your voice

She runs through the streets
With her eyes painted red
Under black belly of cloud in the rain
In through a doorway she brings me
White gold and pearls stolen from the sea
She is raging
She is raging
And the storm blows up in her eyes

red hill mining town – Our love runs cold/In the caverns of the night/We’re wounded by fear/Injured in doubt

(in reading the joshua tree lyrics i feel as if i should give it another chance)

god part II – You glorify the past/When the future dries up

even better than the real thing – We’re free to fly the crimson sky/The sun won’t melt our wings tonight

one – Did I ask too much/More than a lot/You gave me nothing/Now it’s all I got

until the end of the world – In my dream I was drowning my sorrows/But my sorrows, they learned to swim

who’s gonna ride your wild horses – Took a drive in the dirty rain/To a place where the wind calls your name/Under the trees the river laughing at you and me/Hallelujah, heavens white rose/The doors you open/I just can’t close

so cruel – (all of it really haha) Her lips say one thing/Her movements something else/Oh love… like a screaming flower/Love… dying every hour… love

the fly – Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief/All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief

mysterious ways – One day you will look… back And you’ll see… where
You were held… how By this love… while You could stand… there You could move on this moment Follow this feeling

tryin to throw your arms around the world – How far you gonna go/Before you lose your way back home/You’ve been trying to throw your arms/Around the world

ultraviolet – Sometimes I feel like I don’t know/Sometimes I feel like checkin’ out/I want to get it wrong/Can’t always be strong/And love it won’t be long…

acrobat – No, nothing makes sense/Nothing seems to fit/I know you’d hit out/If you only knew who to hit

love is blindness – Love is clockworks/And cold steel/Fingers too numb to feel

zooropa – Don’t worry baby, it’s gonna be alright/Uncertainty can be a guiding light

lemon – And I feel
Like I’m slowly, slowly, slowly slipping under
And I feel
Like I’m holding onto nothing

She wore lemon
To colour in the cold grey night
She had heaven
And she held on so tight

stay – A vampire or a victim/It depend’s on who’s around

dirty day – You’re looking for explanations/I don’t even understand/If you need someone to blame/Throw a rock in the air/You’ll hit someone guilty

discotheque – I want to be the song be the song that you hear in your head

But you take what you can get
‘Cause it’s all you can find
Oh you know there’s something more

do you feel loved? – With my teeth at your back/And my tougue to tell you the sweetest lies

mofo – Lookin’ for a sound that’s gonna drown out the world

staring at the sun – I’m nearly great/But there’s something missing

last night on earth – The more you take the less you feel/The less you know the more you believe

gone – You’re holding on to everything so tightly/Till there’s nothing left anyway

You’re taking steps that make you feel dizzy
Then you get to like the way it feels
You hurt yourself you hurt your lover
Then you discover…
What you thought was freedom was just greed

please – and you never knew how you’d stoop to make that call/and you never knew what was on the ground till they made you crawl/and you never knew that the heaven you keep you stole

beautiful day – You’re out of luck and the reason that you had to care

stuck in a moment you can’t get out of – I am still enchanted by the light you brought to me/I still listen through your ears, and through your eyes I can see

walk on – And if the darkness is to keep us apart/And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off/And if your glass heart should crack/And for a second you turn back/Oh no, be strong

kite – I’m a man, I’m not a child/A man who sees/The shadow behind your eyes

Who’s to say where the wind will take you
Who’s to know what it is will break you
I don’t know which way the wind will blow
Who’s to know when the time has come around
Don’t wanna see you cry
I know that this is not goodbye

new york – In the stillness of the evening/When the sun has had its day/I heard your voice a-whispering/Come away child

hold me thrill me kiss me kill me – You don’t know how you got here/you just know you want out/believing in yourself almost/as much as you doubt

vertigo – It’s everything I wish I didn’t know/But you give me something/I can feel

miracle drug – (all of it) I want a trip inside your head/Spend the day there…/To hear the things you haven’t said/And see what you might see

sometimes you can’t make it on your own – Listen to me now/I need to let you know/You don’t have to go it alone

city of blinding lights – Can you see the beauty inside of me?/What happened to the beauty I had inside of me?

all because of you – i’m not broke but you can see the cracks/you can make me perfect again

a man and a woman – The only pain is to feel nothing at all/How can I hurt when I’m holding you?

crumbs from your table – You speak of signs and wonders/I need something other/I would believe if I was able

one step closer – I’m ’round the corner from anything that’s real/I’m across the road from hope/I’m under the bridge in a rip tide/That’s taken everything I call my own

i fear that some of the more important songs are going to be cut from the live show, and that’s really a shame. i really liked “new york” live, but it’ll get cut most definitely. i wouldn’t mind if they cut “one”. i don’t know what my ideal playlist would be, but it would include “love is blindness” definitely, “acrobat” and “so cruel” would be nice…

top five favourite u2 songs in no particular order:
love is blindness
with or without you
hold me thrill me kiss me kill me
walk on

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