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Old 03-12-2009, 06:04 PM   #136
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The cockatoo thing just makes me laugh though-any other song in history that uses the word cockatoo?

I just picture him writing the rest of the line and thinking..not going to buy anyone's..how about cockatoo? Yeah that randomly occurs to most people

It makes me laugh and for that I'm grateful. But it's still a wtf
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:52 PM   #137
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Yeah, I have to say that "cockatoo" was not easy to adjust to for me... reading the reviews on Breathe before the release of the album had me thinking it would be an instant fave.. but I stumbled over that word a bit and it took me longer to warm up to the song.

Moment of Surrender was my instant favorite, and Breathe quickly came in as second after a few listens.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:01 AM   #138
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So I've had a lot of thoughts about the new U2 album and I've been waiting till I had sufficient time to organize them. I'm not sure that this is actually that time, but I thought I'd go for it any way.

I've found that the U2 albums I like best aren't growers for me. I know right away that they are something special. That was my experience with AB, with Joshua Tree, with Unforgettable Fire. Some may find Zooropa debatable as to whether it is one of U2's best but it is one of my favorites, and though I hated it for years, once I reached the point in my life where that album made sense to me musically and lyrically, the change was instantaneous not gradual.

Such has been my experience with No Line on the Horizon. I don't know that it is a Great album but it is certainly a solid effort. I can't help but compare my experience on first hearing NLOTH to Atomic Bomb. I listened to Bomb repeatedly waiting for it to grow on me. . .and you know what? It never really did. NLOTH I listened to repeatedly because I just couldnt' get enough of it. The songs just stick in my head. I find myself hoping that they'll do an Zoo TV type tour where they play almost everything from their new album, even if it means cutting some old favorites. (I'll never forget my friends coming back from that first show in Lakeland, FL, horrified, just horrified that so many of the old favorites had been cut).

As to whether U2 has "broken new ground" or not, I think that is perhaps an unfair question. I feel like U2 is increasingly burdened by their past achievements. That they were even able to completely reinvent themselves once is amazing in itself. Few bands have ever pulled that off. And yet so many DEMAND that they do it again, even with EACH new album. I think that's unrealistic and unfair. I think it's that first reinvention that made them a band for the ages, in the same league with Beatles. If not for AB, U2 would have disappeared as a viable music force, known primarily as an 80's band. They might still be touring but it would be the same tunes from the 80's and the same sound. Their willingness to keep experimenting has kept them in the public mainstream much longer than they otherwise would have.

That said, I don't think U2 needs to win over the world yet again. When U2 was huge in the late 80s and early 90s--all over radio and stuff, they had a lot of casual fans. People who really didn't care deeply about U2's music, but liked this or that single. To appeal to this type of fan I think you kind of have to be young. And U2 is not young anymore. However, U2 will continue to gain new, young fans--they'll be different types of fans though. They will be young people who deeply appreciate the music of U2 and other artists that have stood the test of time (as a middle school teacher I always have at least one of these types of kids in my class every year, a kid whose knowledge and appreication of music runs well past whatever flavor of the month is playing on the radio. These are the types of kids who will become fans of U2). As for the rest, the "pop kids' as I believe Bono called them, they don't need them.

So in the end it doesn't matter to me if No Line conqueors radio or not. It's conquered my heart and that's enough for me. I think they'll add a new generation of fans with this album that while smaller in number will more than make up for it in heart.

Well, I know I rambled and I probably should edit, but I have to run so here it is.
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Old 03-13-2009, 04:53 PM   #139
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3. Cedars of Lebanon -- the world comes crashing back, with a vengeance, and through the gritty images and gritty life of the narrator, we see a narrator wondering where the Love Divine or The Sound (and in this, the album's quietest song) is in all of this pain and suffering: "unholy clouds reflecting in a minaret / you're so high above me, higher than everyone / Where are you in the Cedars of Lebanon?" and then the album ends on a note of hard won wisdom, lived-in wisdom, that's about this world, and about nothing more, and about how what you do hear defines who you are.
I have a hard time pinning down the intended feel of this song, because of how Bono intones it. Looking at the lyrics booklet, it reads like this could be a character who in his own way is as anguished as the soldier in WAS. But when I actually hear it performed, it does seem like a much 'grittier' persona, as you say--wry, worldly, ironic, and altogether lacking in the 'wide-eyed' vulnerability that somehow seems to characterize WAS' narrator despite his alienation. So that by the time he muses that couplet about the Cedars of Lebanon, it almost feels more like intentional irony than anything else--as if the question itself doesn't matter to him and probably never has, he's never been given to contemplating the significance of either the presence or absence of a 'love divine,' but the signs that others do are all around him--the minaret, the war itself, the historical symbolism of the place as embodied in the image of the cedar, perhaps too the looped 'al-agajibra' or 'al-gajib ra' or whatever exactly that is in the background (don't know what it means)--so that it emerges as a natural continuation of his reverie.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:04 PM   #140
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Yeah, he's definitely asking where God is.

You’re so high above me, higher than everyone
Where are you in the Cedars of Lebanon?

Also, the term Cedars of Lebanon is all over the Old Testament, which is interesting.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:42 AM   #141
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^ Yeah, I'm familiar with the symbolic meanings associated with the cedars of Lebanon in the Bible, and the seeming implications of the song actually being titled that weren't lost on me. I just have a hard time reading or hearing that lyric as being primarily about a crisis of faith...it feels like its primary narrative concerns are far more 'wordly' than that: what is it that's keeping this man in a war zone rather than 'returning a call to home' which he clearly doesn't want to face; how does he manage to stay sane in the face of all this senseless carnage he's powerless to stop. And I think the tough but fair philosophy of life offered by the last four lines, neither a 'religious' nor a 'nonreligious' one as such, explains both his regrets and his capacity to endure quite well, with no need for an appeal to divine providence to fill in the blanks for him or for us.


Anyhoo...I flash-read the new Rolling Stone U2 cover story at the grocery store earlier this evening, and there were several quotes from Bono, mostly near the article's end, that were kind of interesting with regards to this thread. I didn't purchase it, so unfortunately I don't have the exact wording at hand, but one concerned how "all the problems" in our world begin and end with "the human spirit," that this idea is core to U2 and therefore many of their songs deal with "spiritual" matters, and that he (Bono) liked to think their music reminds people what "the human spirit" is capable of. I thought it was interesting that he emphasized the link between 'spirituality' and 'the human spirit' in this way, as opposed to the common tendency to equate 'spiritual' with 'intended to promote some particular faith tradition.' (Which made me think in turn of the interview from the Observer (UK) posted in IAMJ last month, where Bono commented that some of the people he admires most aren't religious at all, and that to him some of them, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, "are more Christian than the Christians.") He also explained that "vision over visibility" refers to the importance of maintaining belief in the dream of what the world could be like, all the things we could change, even when we don't quite have the way there figured out yet. I think these kind of sentiments may help to explain why so many U2 lyrics read so well as simultaneously addressing crises of faith on the one hand, and 'spiritual' crises in the sense suggested by the RS article on the other: that as a Christian Bono understands and naturally articulates many kinds of crises--addiction, war, alienation, greed, infidelity etc.--through the vernacular and worldview of that faith, but at the same time he's also viewing them as crises of 'the human spirit'; failures to love, to act unselfishly, and to take responsibility, which all of us have both the susceptibility towards, yet also the means to rise above.

He also mentioned concerning Cedars of Lebanon (particularly those last four lines) that when he wrote that he had on his mind the wastefulness of the Iraq war, that if only all the conviction and sacrifice (and money!) so many poured into that had been directed towards eradicating poverty instead, imagine how much progress could've been made in that time.
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:15 AM   #142
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The cockatoo thing just makes me laugh though-any other song in history that uses the word cockatoo?

I just picture him writing the rest of the line and thinking..not going to buy anyone's..how about cockatoo? Yeah that randomly occurs to most people

It makes me laugh and for that I'm grateful. But it's still a wtf

Isn't that the beauty of what this band has done forever though? Hiding their message behind lyrics that people can think about and digest and have AHA moments long after the songs have been in our heads?

I love that LYRIC - and I agree with Anne - I originally thought - wow he is not giving us great LYRICS - but a month later -


"16th of June, nine-oh-five, door bell rings
Man at the door says if I want to stay alive a bit longer
There’s a few things I need you to know
Three

Coming from a long line of
Traveling sales people on my mother’s side
I wasn’t gonna buy just anyone’s cockatoo
So why would I invite a complete stranger into my home
Would you?"

Its almost to me an evangelist coming to the door and delivering the standard messsge. Originally I thought the three things that were needed to know was the Holy Spirit. But now I think:

“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.”
St. Thomas Aquinas quotes (Scholastic philosopher and theologian, 1225-1274)

So why would we listen to what the evangelist is saying? He is just a cockatoo - selling me someone elses words.

I feel the song is divided into the three things in a way -

Here is: "to know what he ought to believe"

Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn
Every day I have to find the courage
To walk out into the street
With arms out
Got a love you can’t defeat
Neither down nor out

Every day we stumble and make mistakes - but the love that cannot be defeated brings rebirth.



Here is the "to know what he ought to desire" which I think the lyrics emphasize it almost in an opposite way.

16th of June, Chinese stocks are going up
And I’m coming down with some new Asian virus
Ju Ju man, Ju Ju man
Doc says you’re fine, or dying
Please
Nine-oh-nine, St. John Divine on the line, my pulse is fine
But I’m running down the road like loose electricity
While the band in my head plays a striptease

The roar that lies on the other side of silence
The forest fire that is fear so deny it

This verse demonstrates a failure to recognize what we ought to desire. Worried about Stocks (money) Health, Sex.......Ignoring St. John Divine who is on the line.......Ignoring the things we ought to be focused on the things we ought to focus on. St. John on the line brings me an image of a call on hold, that is not being answered.

Finally - to know what he ought to do


Walk out into the street
Sing your heart out
The people we meet
Will not be drowned out
There’s nothing you have that I need
I can breathe
Breathe now
Yeah, yeah

We are people borne of sound
The songs are in our eyes
Gonna wear them like a crown

Walk out, into the sunburst street
Sing your heart out, sing my heart out
I’ve found grace inside a sound
I found grace, it’s all that I found
And I can breathe
Breathe now

We ought to demonstrate God's grace to others would be the third thing.
If I may steal a line from Wiki about GRACE - "grace is the receipt of a positive benefit that one does not deserve to receive". And how does someone demonstrate God's grace?

I would say go back to Crumbs From Your Table!!!!!

Peace.

Happy Sunday.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:02 PM   #143
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Anyhoo...I flash-read the new Rolling Stone U2 cover story at the grocery store earlier this evening, and there were several quotes from Bono, mostly near the article's end, that were kind of interesting with regards to this thread. I didn't purchase it, so unfortunately I don't have the exact wording at hand, but one concerned how "all the problems" in our world begin and end with "the human spirit," that this idea is core to U2 and therefore many of their songs deal with "spiritual" matters, and that he (Bono) liked to think their music reminds people what "the human spirit" is capable of. I thought it was interesting that he emphasized the link between 'spirituality' and 'the human spirit' in this way, as opposed to the common tendency to equate 'spiritual' with 'intended to promote some particular faith tradition.' (Which made me think in turn of the interview from the Observer (UK) posted in IAMJ last month, where Bono commented that some of the people he admires most aren't religious at all, and that to him some of them, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, "are more Christian than the Christians.") He also explained that "vision over visibility" refers to the importance of maintaining belief in the dream of what the world could be like, all the things we could change, even when we don't quite have the way there figured out yet. I think these kind of sentiments may help to explain why so many U2 lyrics read so well as simultaneously addressing crises of faith on the one hand, and 'spiritual' crises in the sense suggested by the RS article on the other: that as a Christian Bono understands and naturally articulates many kinds of crises--addiction, war, alienation, greed, infidelity etc.--through the vernacular and worldview of that faith, but at the same time he's also viewing them as crises of 'the human spirit'; failures to love, to act unselfishly, and to take responsibility, which all of us have both the susceptibility towards, yet also the means to rise above.


i have the new Rolling Stone, and i can' say that you've certainly got the gist of it right. and i think the above ties into the overriding theme of the album -- "vision over visibility," a phrase Bono says is sacred to him -- and how nicely that ties into the title of the album: no line on the horizon. distinctions between the possible and the impossible, between life as it is and life as it should be, are eradicated that particular moment (as they are in the album cover -- and i take those two "bars" to be both representations of Eno and Lanois as well as overtly demonstrating an equality between sea and sky. i think we could point to the sky as being the vision part of that equation, since you cannot touch the sky, it's something that cannot be experienced with the flesh, and the sea is the visibility part of the equation, something that can indeed be experienced and is very much a part of the flesh world (and in fact all life came from the sea to begin with).

so in many ways, it's tying back into a very old-school U2 theme that first surfaced in the 1990s. that's where things that appear to be opposites are revealed to be mutually implicated in the same paradox. sex and god, plastic and soul, etc. here, in keeping with the more organic sounds of this album and it's concern with more pastoral settings -- rather than the rainy streets of post-communist Eastern Europe and exploding urbanism and a hurtling popular consumerist culture -- makes sense in the context of this album. i think that's also consistent with some of the complaints that this album isn't the revolution (for U2) that Achtung was. i'd say that's because Achtung was a deliberate movement into electronica, into man-made sounds, into machines, and trying to squeeze the beauty from that and force the connection between God and the machine.

in NLOTH, we have the use of more traditional instruments and more traditional sounds arranged in ways that we've never heard them before (again, for U2), and the point of that, seems to me, is to take things that are very much of the flesh and to reveal their connection to the spirit, to the vision and not the visibility. distinctions between sea and sky disappear, and the sea is the sky, and the sky is the sea, and thus ... transcendence?
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:23 PM   #144
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:49 PM   #145
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i think Bono is rejecting the salesman aspect to religion because he's answering the door and someone's selling him something -- he responds that he knows exactly what that guy is doing ("long line of salesmen on my mother's side") and he's not going to fall for the bullshit.
stop helping god across the road like a little old lady
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:57 PM   #146
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i have the new Rolling Stone, and i can' say that you've certainly got the gist of it right. and i think the above ties into the overriding theme of the album -- "vision over visibility," a phrase Bono says is sacred to him -- and how nicely that ties into the title of the album: no line on the horizon. distinctions between the possible and the impossible, between life as it is and life as it should be, are eradicated that particular moment (as they are in the album cover -- and i take those two "bars" to be both representations of Eno and Lanois as well as overtly demonstrating an equality between sea and sky. i think we could point to the sky as being the vision part of that equation, since you cannot touch the sky, it's something that cannot be experienced with the flesh, and the sea is the visibility part of the equation, something that can indeed be experienced and is very much a part of the flesh world (and in fact all life came from the sea to begin with).

so in many ways, it's tying back into a very old-school U2 theme that first surfaced in the 1990s. that's where things that appear to be opposites are revealed to be mutually implicated in the same paradox. sex and god, plastic and soul, etc. here, in keeping with the more organic sounds of this album and it's concern with more pastoral settings -- rather than the rainy streets of post-communist Eastern Europe and exploding urbanism and a hurtling popular consumerist culture -- makes sense in the context of this album. i think that's also consistent with some of the complaints that this album isn't the revolution (for U2) that Achtung was. i'd say that's because Achtung was a deliberate movement into electronica, into man-made sounds, into machines, and trying to squeeze the beauty from that and force the connection between God and the machine.

in NLOTH, we have the use of more traditional instruments and more traditional sounds arranged in ways that we've never heard them before (again, for U2), and the point of that, seems to me, is to take things that are very much of the flesh and to reveal their connection to the spirit, to the vision and not the visibility. distinctions between sea and sky disappear, and the sea is the sky, and the sky is the sea, and thus ... transcendence?
I like this very much
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