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Old 03-10-2009, 09:01 PM   #76
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The first time I heard White As Snow....sounded like it stole the rhythm from the old Christmas song O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
Oh, it totally is the same melody, and Bono's mentioned it in interviews, so it was definitely intentional.
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:18 PM   #77
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The first time I heard White As Snow....sounded like it stole the rhythm from the old Christmas song O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
Ditto, although I'd bet the melody is not really from that song. Most hymns are a set of lyrics and then a melody from somewhere else. It sounds like something 15th century to me. Wouldn't be the first time U2 used an older, traditional melody for a song (Van Diemen's Land).
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:47 PM   #78
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180 lbs
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168.2 lbs 03/10/09 (i'll be back next week)
All righty then. . .

126 lbs.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:02 PM   #79
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What is a U2?

And what does this u2 have to do with the web-based community known as U2 Interference - U2 Fans, Pop Culture Webzine, & More

No, seriously, good to see everyone again. I've enjoyed reading this thread. This is one of those albums which, when I listened to it for the first time last Thursday, I probably looked goofy driving in rush hour traffic with a huge grin on my face. The music is solid and the lyrics are beautiful. Although I understand that different listeners will infer the songs in different ways, I personally concur with Dreadsox and maycocksean on the spiritual (specifically Judeo-Christian) themes of this new album. I'm of the opinion that the last 3 albums (including NLOTH) have had their own modern psalms of praise, stuggle, redemption, grace and doubt thrown into the mix. These three albums, to me, have been much more overt (though not as much so as OCTOBER) in their Judeo-Christian messages and imagery. The previous three albums had similar messages, but were perhaps more subliminal in their delivery.

But each listener has their own ears and mind to hear the songs and interpret them on their own; that's the most that can be said for any song, movie, book, etc. Of course we may be guided by the author's commentary in interviews, liner notes, etc., but that shouldn't preclude anyone from letting a song inspire them in a way that applies to their life situation.

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Old 03-10-2009, 10:13 PM   #80
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Ditto, although I'd bet the melody is not really from that song. Most hymns are a set of lyrics and then a melody from somewhere else. It sounds like something 15th century to me. Wouldn't be the first time U2 used an older, traditional melody for a song (Van Diemen's Land).
While you are correct about a lot of hymns being lyrics set to music which is from another source/song, Veni Veni (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel) is based on an early Christian monastic processional hymn.

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Old 03-10-2009, 10:22 PM   #81
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Exactly, the lyrics pre-date the tune.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:42 PM   #82
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Sorry; my parentheticals were a little misleading; the "Christmas song" we know as "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" was based on the monastic chant "Veni Veni" which was the original (Latin) lyrical and musical composition. This is different from the trend in many hymns of borrowing tunes; I think there are several hymns in the UMC hymnal which use th "Dix" tune. However, "Veni Veni" is the chant and the tune, one in the same.

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Old 03-10-2009, 10:54 PM   #83
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I think the theme is that many times we find people full of Pride looking for God in the church, when the work of God is to be among the poor, the down trodden ... When you answer the door to that person knocking, that stranger at the door - seeking help, assistance, charity - there you will find God.
I like your interpretation Dread! I think it actually bridges Irvine's and coemgen's seemingly very different interpretations quite nicely: if you want to reach out to God, start by reaching out to other people who are in need, especially through whichever means your own unique attributes make you particularly suited to. The longing to be part of something greater than yourself, to live for more than just your own immediate pleasure, is something our connections to God and our connections to other people have in common, and both suffer when we become preoccupied with our own private fears, grievances and possessions.

Almost always I feel people aren't giving Bono nearly enough credit as a songwriter when they try to insist some particular lyric has only one 'true' meaning, that any others people find in it must either be wrong, or else some kind of red herring cleverly slipped in to make it palatable for the Shallow People. There's no reason a lyric can't intentionally be about both (e.g.) one's failings as a husband and one's failings as a Christian. Chances are the two failures share a common cause anyhow.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:48 AM   #84
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Pappa Bamma is that you???????????????? My goodness man it is so extremely good to see you post.

Be well.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:21 AM   #85
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Dread, I enjoyed your detailed analysis. A lot of it resonates with me.

I just read the worst review in TIME magazine about No Line on the Horizon. It wasn't that they panned the album (though they did), it was that the reviewer seemed to really not know anything about U2! I think there are legitimate critcisms that could be made about the album--the biggest one being that it doesn't really break a whole lot of new ground. But I'm okay with that, because U2 is U2 and there comes a point where you stop trying to be something other than what you are. I think NLOTH could be that point.

But this review, this Josh Tyrangiel clearly doesn't understand U2 at all. A few examples:

He mentioned that U2 produced a string of hits and he includes "Wild Honey" in this list. Did I miss something somehow? Was this song a huge hit of All That You Can't Leave Behind and I somehow didn't notice? "Stuck in a Moment", yes. "Elevation" yes. "Beautiful Day", of course. But "Wild Honey?"

He completely misses the spirituality in Magnificent and thus describes the line "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" as delivered ambivalently; a song that sounds "less like a love song and more like a grievance." How does he hear that? I realize that a lot of people aren't interested in the spiritual overtones of U2's music or choose to gloss over them, but I don't think any serious U2 listener would completely miss or ignore those aspects of the band as Tyrangiel did.

He later claims that Bono is singing primarily about his life as a famous person which I totally do not see at ALL.

His criticisms of the album's lack of unified feel, I could see but then he says that "melody--dodges in and out but rarely makes itself at home". What? This is one of the most melodic U2 albums in years. If it doesn't have solid melodies then what's that that keeps getting stuck in my head all the time. With Atomic Bomb, I still can't quite recall how some of the songs go--but a few weeks in, I can recall the melodies to almost every song on NLOTH (even Moment of Surrender which I've only heard a handful of times--it's the only tune I don't yet have on my computer--file was too big for my friend to send me, so I'm waiting for the CD to come in the mail from Amazon).
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:25 AM   #86
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i would also add that there's not a bad song on the album. i prefer some songs to others, but there's not a single track that i'd skip over on a consistent basis. that's not the case with any other album they've put out since Achtung Baby. it could be because it's new and i haven't gotten sick of any of it yet, but every song seems worthwhile.

i'm still wondering about "land/lamb" in White As Snow. and here's why. one of my favorite lyrics on the album is in MOS where he sings, "i was speeding through the subway / on the stations of the cross." and a few lines later, in the lyric sheet, it says "couned down 'till the Pentecost" but whenever i listen on the album, and i've listened very closely, he clearly sings "counting down 'till the pain would stop."

why would they do this? it seems intentional, so what kind of meaning is Bono trying to get at here, where "pain would stop" evidently equals "Pentecost"?

i also think that White As Snow is much more despairing than some seem to think. whether or not it's "lamb" or "land," it seems that this image of purity is not of this world, that it might exist somewhere, but it seems to provide cold comfort ("and the water / it was icy" -- which i find to be one of the albums most breathtaking moments) as the soldier lays dying, i assume, in a shallow creek bed and he's haunted by images of his life. a life of searching, perhaps for the lamd as white as snow or the lamb as white as snow (which suggests, to me, that they might be the same thing), but he's never attained it. he's never found it. not here. and he wishes, he pleas, for the human heart to be as pure as that image ("if only a heart could be as white as snow"), but it's not.

so i find it a song of doubt, of doubt that creeps in during a dying person's final moments. there's no intervention in the song, no Deux Ex Machina, no one is coming to save him. it's just a lament for the world as it is vs. how we thought it could be, and it almost reminds me a bit of the famous Springsteen lyric, "is a dream a lie if it don't come true / or is it something worse?"

also, is the soldier supposed to be an Afghani or a Westerner? i assumed that it was an American, specifically an American from the heartland ("where i came from there were no hills at all").

i also think that "Breathe" is fast becoming one of the most interesting songs on the album, and i think it offers the redemption -- not in the world, in the land, or in the lamb, but "in the sound" -- that haunts like a present absence the world of White As Snow.
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:29 AM   #87
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In the booklet of the box set the line reads: "counting down 'til the pain would stop"
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:31 AM   #88
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On WAS, I hear "lamb" in the first verse and "land" in the second. Maybe it's both?
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:39 AM   #89
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In the booklet of the box set the line reads: "counting down 'til the pain would stop"


i have the digital deluxe version thing, and it says "Pentecost."
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:53 AM   #90
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i'm still wondering about "land/lamb" in White As Snow. and here's why. one of my favorite lyrics on the album is in MOS where he sings, "i was speeding through the subway / on the stations of the cross." and a few lines later, in the lyric sheet, it says "couned down 'till the Pentecost" but whenever i listen on the album, and i've listened very closely, he clearly sings "counting down 'till the pain would stop."

why would they do this? it seems intentional, so what kind of meaning is Bono trying to get at here, where "pain would stop" evidently equals "Pentecost"?

i also think that White As Snow is much more despairing than some seem to think. whether or not it's "lamb" or "land," it seems that this image of purity is not of this world, that it might exist somewhere, but it seems to provide cold comfort ("and the water / it was icy" -- which i find to be one of the albums most breathtaking moments) as the soldier lays dying, i assume, in a shallow creek bed and he's haunted by images of his life. a life of searching, perhaps for the lamd as white as snow or the lamb as white as snow (which suggests, to me, that they might be the same thing), but he's never attained it. he's never found it. not here. and he wishes, he pleas, for the human heart to be as pure as that image ("if only a heart could be as white as snow"), but it's not.

so i find it a song of doubt, of doubt that creeps in during a dying person's final moments. there's no intervention in the song, no Deux Ex Machina, no one is coming to save him. it's just a lament for the world as it is vs. how we thought it could be, and it almost reminds me a bit of the famous Springsteen lyric, "is a dream a lie if it don't come true / or is it something worse?"

also, is the soldier supposed to be an Afghani or a Westerner? i assumed that it was an American, specifically an American from the heartland ("where i came from there were no hills at all").

i also think that "Breathe" is fast becoming one of the most interesting songs on the album, and i think it offers the redemption -- not in the world, in the land, or in the lamb, but "in the sound" -- that haunts like a present absence the world of White As Snow.
What lyric sheet are you looking at? The CD I have has "pain would stop" in the printed lyrics for MOS . . . and it has "lamb as white as snow" for WAS.

EDIT: Just saw your last post. Interesting. I still don't think that means he meant to say "land" in WAS. It wouldn't make sense — "Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not?/Only the land as white as snow"???? You just have to face it — Bono's Christianity is in his lyrics. : )
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