Sunday, February 22, 2009

The way I see it...

Heres my take on why the new U2 album is genius, why my opinion hardly matters, why Monger has listened to too much WmtnN to appreciate it, and why THIS Journey music video plays a part, (take a few minutes, click the link and watch that video, its gold. Specifically 2minutes 8 seconds in). First of all listen to the album on, maybe while you read this. Sorry if my post is too long winded.

Let me start off by saying: I know less about music than probably everyone else. 'cept maybe Galbraith. (just kidding dude, i just wanted to say "cept") But really I'm no music critic, I dont read pitchfork or musicblogs for fun, I haven't seen all the Oscar nominated films from the past 10 years, I dont read books by Ron Weasley's quidditch keeper try-out counterpart, and I dont know what Mickey Rourke's favorite color is. So take everything I say as coming from a low place, and all my lyric analysis as probably wrong and misinterpreted...

This album is amazing, the band seems to be more contemplative and unified as they have gotten older. Signified by some slower almost retrospecive songs, and some songs that the band sings parts together (check out Unknown caller), Bono's voice can't even be discerned from the rest and I think thats pretty cool.

The album opens with the title track No Line On The Horizon. Too often we don't think about why artists or bands choose album titles or song names, and honestly I hardly ever delve deep in to the darkian depths of music.

I think the title and the song simply convey the idea that there is no clear cut idea of where we should be heading. We can't really discern an up or down, wrong or right. Its kind of ironic how the older U2/Bono gets, the lyrics are just as confused about the way things are as ever, maybe even moreso. Still hopeful though. I like the song musically alot, lots of classic Bono "Oh's" and "Whoa's"

Im going to dissect a few songs just for the heck of it.

Track 2: Magnificent- Bono's attempt at a worship song,
"I was born to sing for you
I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise…"

Still, with confusion he adds-
"I was born to be with you... After that and ever after I haven't had a clue"

and for some reason the lyrics "Only love, only love can leave such a mark But only love, only love can heal such a scar," echo with no trace of cliche in my mind the more i think about them.

Also noteworthy is Edge's guitar playing. Though the whole song is filled with typical Edge-style-delay-effect picking, his solo at 4 min. in is really of the ordinary for him, and I love it.

Track 3: Moment of Surrender- The song opens up with a beautiful symphonic swell, and moves into a groovin' soul filled tune carried by Bono's screaming voice. The guitar solo near the end again is totally different for Edge, Claptonesque and so so tasty.

This song lyrically is pretty heavy, Bono adresses relationships. He talks about the strange paradox of marriage:
"I tied myself with wire
To let the horses run free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me"

I Think we can all relate to that- we all want to let our horses run free if you catch my drift, but in order to do so we have to tie ourselves down? Its a strange frustrating concept, for guys like me atleast. Also, the "fire" that is sexual connectedness is far more dangerous than we realize.

"Two souls too smart to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day"

Im not sure if he's saying the uncertainty is a good thing or not, but I think it ties in with the idea of surrender, to God and to the oneness of marriage. We dont really know what were getting into, but surrender is the only option for new-good-change to come over us. Maybe THIS is the answer Bono is searching for in this yearning song.

Back to the song, "The stone was semi-precious" is a tasty morsel of a line.

Lines like:
"I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me"
"Every eye looking every other way
Counting down till the pain will stop"
"I did notice the passers by
And they did not notice me"-point to a irrelational world, think about it, I'm looking into a screen right now as I type this "relating" with you as you read it on a screen. The line counting down till the pain will stop is a sad reality for so many people walking around, and we do nothing to help each other.

Track 4: Unknown Caller-
I think this song is again about the technological mechanical world we live in "Force quit and move to trash" is something we've all done, and the lyrics in that part of the song are almost chanted. At the same time I think its about seeking to listen to a God we know nearly nothing about, calling us to do things without answers. Make sure and listen to the end, for another amazing guitar solo, and some organ playin thrown in there.

Track 5: I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight- guuuughhhahhh, this song is awesome. This is where the Journey video I mentioned earlier comes into play. I am here to propose that U2 was inspired by the Journey song "Faithfully" (which coincidentally appears on the latest Girl Talk album on the track Play Your Part pt. 2) to write this song. Ok not really, but the opening to "I'll Go Crazy" sounds eerily similar to Journey's love ballad, Who cares if it uses the word "baby" 3xs in a row like some other U2 song, when it sounds exactly like Journey? Anyways its a great mixture of 80's melody hooks, plus some lyrics dealing with doubt and struggle.

This song has a few good lyrical gems as well:
"Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear?" references 1 John 4:18.
"Change of heart comes slow...It's not a hill its a mountain" is a pretty cliche line, but it reminds me of the wise words of Bill Delvaux.
Also anyone remember Mr. Dark writing "kick at the darkness till it bleeds light" on the board? well Bono gets close with "Let's shout until(into?) the darkness, squeeze out sparks of light"

I did a little research and the line Mr. Dark quoted is from a Bruce Cockburn (go ahead and laugh, giggles-wise) song. That U2 actually referenced in their song 'God Part II' on 'Rattle and Hum': "heard a singer on the radio late last night says he's gonna kick the darkness till it bleeds daylight". So if David Dark, Bruce Shaftblister, and U2 (mentioning it twice) think this is important, it must be.

Track 6: Get On Your Boots- I like most disliked and mock(and continue to do so) the sexy boots line, i still dont really get it, but I think what Bono is trying to say connects with the lines in the song:
"I don’t wanna talk about wars between nations
Not right now," and "you dont know how beautiful you are."

When we are apathetic about war/politics/life we dont realize the worth of human life and ourselves, we cheapen it, we dont get it, there are people who alot of times are more worried about sexy boots, (Bono included, I think) than bombs destroying houses in the middle east. Its kindof a jab, a bucket of ice-water in our face when he shouts sexy boots.

Welp, thats all I can conjure up for now, I'll leave the rest of the songs alone. I do however encourage you to look up the lyrics online and read them as you listen, and think about them obviously. Its theraputic.

I'll leave you with one last lyric snippet
"Choose your enemies carefully, 'cause they will define you...They're not there in the beginning, but when your story ends."


  1. this is the most epic blog post of all time. I love it, and I check alot of blogs. seriously, you fucking rock justin. I really like the "kick the darkness..." line. gauuuuhhhh.

  2. "thuanks b."
    -josh floyd

  3. but seriously thanks farley, that compliment means alot coming from you.

  4. if u2 can sound like journey for a song than I can sound like Farley for a comment: this is brilliant. Brilliantly heard, thought, and written.