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  3. The Top 25 Songs That Matter Right Now

The traditional path to success in the music business pretty much no longer exists, and even if it did, a band like U2 would never, ever have gotten the creative control they asked for and received. No record label still in business today would have let them release a third album after the battles around the second one, October. And even after achieving international fame and fortune with The Joshua Tree , their fifth album, back in , they came crashing back to earth with its follow-up, Rattle and Hum , which every rock critic in the world interpreted as U2 trying to teach America about American music.

Record companies certainly want bands to keep doing the thing that made them all that money, over and over again. Every single of member of U2 was convinced at one moment or another in the early days at Hansa Studios — the same place that David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and others have gone to find magic, or at least inspiration — that this was the end of U2.

And then one day Lanois suggested to the Edge that he combine two separate guitar parts. They do not have to do any of this, and the fact that they insist on continuing to do so, over and over again, comes from the same stubbornness and dogged determination that got them a record deal in the first place. This leaves us with songs to discuss. This is quite possibly the most overrated track in the entire U2 repertoire. But so what? It is otherwise flat and featureless, and nowhere near adjacent to its final form.

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Reasonable beat, but stupid lyrics and inane title. It is a terrible way to end an album. Perfectly acceptable as a B-side. Fake it till you make it. It worked. For some reason, the band decided they needed to add one more song, and one that they wrote in the studio. Adam also sings lead vocals, such as they are. Succinct and delightful. Juju is, at its core, a bouncy, highly danceable music form, and it definitely influenced this polished outtake from the TJT sessions.

Not strong enough to make the album.

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It was leaked on the internet, probably when a CD of rough mixes was stolen from a photo shoot in France. It is much better live , but honestly would still need a lot of work lyrically before it would be worthy of all the hype. No, a jazzman would ask how the hell they thought this should go on the record. It has an engaging, expansive melody, but the lyrics just do not hold up to scrutiny, and the synthetic strings are cringeworthy.

The concept revolved around a soldier in Afghanistan, but the lyrics could have come from one of those hymns. It is loud and brash and shouty and ever so earnest, and you just want to pinch its freshly scrubbed, rosy-pink, punk-rock cheeks. No one can write a good song about the Clash, to be fair. Definitely one of their best songs of the last 20 years. Eno was not pleased. There are elements of love and faith, and the music is compelling. The melody here is controlled but unsettling, with a guitar solo that sounds like an SOS. The trumpet is courtesy Kenny Fradley of Kid Creole and the Coconuts who sing backing vox , who just happened to be in town.

Points for trying to do something different with it. David Bowie would like a word, gentlemen. Extra credit to Larry Mullen Jr. But if you listen to a live version the one from the Marquee Club on the deluxe edition of Boy , for example it sounds like a completely different band, capable and self-assured. This is a group of and year-old kids, and this track is absolutely as valid as as anything else coming out at the time. Except that the lyrics are overwrought, even for Bono.

Every other member of the band was in lockstep, but there was no room to breathe for the lead singer. He was willing to talk to anyone from any side of the political spectrum in any country if he thought they could contribute money, or help him contribute money.

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B and U2 as backing band, this track was another collaboration between U2 and director Wim Wenders. It walks a line between Zooropa and Pop , but is polished, sharp, and evocative. Unlike a lot of these leftovers, this is an actual, realized song and would have fit very well on How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. If anything, it almost foreshadows what the band would do later on the Zoo TV tour, with the sample from a documentary about female soldiers in the middle.

You can hear all of this: the spiral staircase and the dizziness of young love the two had only been married for two years, though they were teenage sweethearts ; the two of them sitting at the top of their tower, watching the sun set over the seaside town. The track has some solid moments, mostly thanks to the Edge pulling a sinuous guitar line out of the mess of a song.

Asses and Angels, A Journey from Abuse to Achievement by Gail L. Black | | Booktopia

It sounds like U2 trying too hard to to do U2-type things in a U2-type song. It falls apart a little with the bridge because it takes you out of the giant rumbling noise. Still, very fun. Nice red pants, Bono. The choruses are bright and impassioned. But the version on Boy is almost unrecognizable from the original — the latter being almost pop-punk parody, while the album rendition is larger and more interesting. There needs to be some grit and space, or U2 is not interesting.

The Top 25 Songs That Matter Right Now

The bridge is kind of interesting, and after basically not being able to hear Larry Mullen Jr. Mostly forgettable, though. It is particularly sympathetic to its protagonist, and was a definite counterpoint to how women appeared in other songs of the time. The band contributes a solidly constructed soundtrack that feels like the hustle and bustle of a big city, and the tension of one person trying to find or fight their way through.

It feels just a tiny bit dangerous, which is a pretty great thing coming from some fiftysomething former punk rockers. Bono said in the liner notes that this is meant to be about the first time U2 went to L. Then again, that is the entire story of Pop , depending on who you talk to: not enough time and not the right people. It is gray and brittle, the sound of frozen tree branches and faded autumn leaves trapped in the first layer of ice on a pond.

Also: Sometimes there can be too much backstory to a song, no matter how inspirational it might be. And the Edge does so with aplomb. The xylophone that rings in the background adds both tension and fragility. This is how U2 were going to write about sex. The question, then, is whether you get up from the ground or surrender. When they got no response, they recorded it themselves — only for Willie to ring them up the next time he was in Dublin. They recorded a lovely version with him on lead vocals and released it on another single later. The cool detachment of the early verses open up to an impassioned pleading.

You get all of that, for sure, but if you have the slightest bit of imagination, you can see the scenes in your head, and you suddenly have the urge to visit Morocco. The video is fantastic.

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Sound familiar? Obviously not, or we would still be playing it live. U2 have also characterized it as a drinking song, and made that point most definitively on the Zoo TV tour, where the Fly would go out on the catwalk, find an attractive young woman, spray Champagne around, and serenade the lucky lady on Handicam. They were attending regular meetings of the group while trying to put together the album, which was causing Bono, Edge, and Larry to question everything, including their membership in the band.

The whole thing shimmers with gold. The band only performed it live once, on an Irish TV benefit for the victims of the Omagh bombing in , where they deconstructed the song and made it more U2, and, understandably, more personal. This is not a bad thing. He finally got his wish when he recorded it with Jools Holland in Yes, Holland is a skilled bandleader, but the vocals are Bono in full torch-singer mode. But they never heard back from Frank, so Bono recorded it himself. To be honest, this would have been perfect as a background scene in Oceans 11 , Bono dressed as an aging version of the Fly in one of the casinos up on Fremont Street.

It is a vast, expressive piece that bears no resemblance to traditional verse-chorus-verse rock or pop songwriting from a vocal melody standpoint. The soft melody would have fit into The Unforgettable Fire. Adam Clayton, the bass on this created the deepest, most unexpectedly danceable rhythm. But where this song excels is in the dance remix by Steve Lillywhite , which pulls out the bass line and keyboards and digs a solid groove.

He even works in a Van Morrison reference, to boot. A commentary on the —85 U. The song is a masterful composition of despair and helplessness; the anguish in the vocals in that last bridge is truly heartrending. On the other hand, Island would have pushed hard for it to have been a single, and that would have been difficult to walk back from, taking away from the mood set by the actual singles. In this rolling, surging melody, with Bono half-singing, half-speaking, his delivery is a mixture of Nick Cave, Michael Stipe, and maybe a little Allen Ginsberg.

The breathless, conversational style is matched by an equally urgent melody behind it. When the band finished the record and went back over the outtakes to cull material for B-sides, they decided this track was too strong, so they put it aside. Bono pulled together a lyric and rerecorded the vocal. It is not a bad song, just a curiously sequenced one, and did not help U2 in service to the story they were trying to tell with the album and, later, movie.

Anywhere else, it would have made sense, but at the top it was just too precious. Sorry, Edge.

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There was, however, no need to play it twice during a show, which U2 were entirely too fond of doing. There is blame and pleading and confessions and insistence and obsession and regret. Otherwise it fits beautifully into the Songs of Innocence and Experience cycle. It soars and zooms and creates a mood. Every single member of the band turns in a stunning performance, the instrumentation providing both delicate shade and solid counterpoint, the vocals raw and impassioned, and the lyrics grounded in adoration of both spiritual and physical.

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