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Old 10-01-2002, 02:30 AM   #1
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October

October
From these opening lines of desperation...

I try to sing this song
I...I try to stand up
But I can't find my feet
I try, I try to speak up
But only in you I'm complete


Bono unleashes just as passionately an album that for many fans has become the lost album in the minds of many, while in conversation highly praising the bands debut album 'Boy' while leaning onward to U2's third offering, War, that appeared to pick up the broken pieces and saved the band that almost watched themselves unravel with a spiritual album that so went against the flood of music that was being produced at that time.

To the ending lines, tongue in scarcasm's cheek maybe?...
Is that all you want from me
Is that all...


Say what you want about October, but I find the album to sound just as fresh and recklessly abandoned as when it first appeared 20 years ago. October was an album that U2 had to make, an album that possesses all the qualities that have made U2 what they are for just as long.

Say what you want about Bono's lyrics, the structure of the songs, the disconnectedness of the album from where the band had ended with 'Boy'...the greatness of October lies in its vulnerability, its desperation, its rawness, its brashness, its uniqueness, its randomness. October appears to have no direction, because it is born out of a spiritual yearning to grasp hold of this music of the soul, but still have the conviction of living one's life for God in the midst of rock's trappings. Bono appears lyrically to be everywhere, but when you rip your heart wide open to the question that breathe for an answer, you sometimes feel that way, I know at 20, I did.

'Gloria', a opening, primal scream of desperation...
Gloria...in te domine
Gloria...exultate
Gloria...Gloria
Oh Lord, loosen my lips


turned prayer...
Gloria...in te domine
Gloria...exultate
Oh Lord, if I had anything
Anything at all
I'd give it to you
I'd give it to you


'I Threw A Brick Through A Window' of disillusionment and frustration...
I was walking
I was walking into walls
I'm back again
I just keep walking
I walk into a window
To see myself
And my reflection
When I thought about it
My direction
Going nowhere
Going nowhere


to sheer, brutal honesty...
No one...no one is blinder
Than he who will not see
No one...no one is blinder
Than me


Rejoice, in the midst of uncertainty of country and oneself...
It's falling, it's falling
And outside the buildings
Are tumbling down
And inside a child on the ground
Says he'd do it again


to unwavering belief that a solitary life can make a difference...
And what am I to do
Just tell me what am I supposed to say
I can't change the world
But I can change the world in me
If I rejoice


Tomorrow, a haunting ode to loss and despair...
I'm going out
I'm going outside mother
I'm going out there


to an uplifting hope in the midst of unceasing sorrow...
Won't you be back tomorrow
Won't you be back tomorrow
Will you be back tomorrow
Open up, open up
To the lamb of God
To the love of he who made
The blind to see
He's coming back
He's coming back
I believe it
Jesus coming


A Stranger In A Strange Land, where I believe we see the essence of Bono so desperately trying to convey the very things he sees and experiences, and wanting to be understood as a very young man of the atrocities, the temptations, the joys, the ugliness, the beauty that seered at his conscious, and begin his love affair with words in order to transpire his feeling into a music that would be for him and the fan, a soul transfusion of the enemy as well as the Spirit to any ear that would listen...
I wish you were here
I wish you were here
To see what I could see
To hear
And I wish you were here


I guess I've always loved October because it is an outcast in a sense, and maybe for many of us who at times feel like outcast, we find October to be comforting, it feels good on, it lets us in, and makes us feel a part, not to mention all of what has been said wrapped around the Edge's ethereal, grudge guitar, Adam's worldly, naive bass thumping, and Larry's bashing, and crashing of flesh and bone drumming in perfect rhythm and timing.

Say what you will about October, but I'm going to let a lusty appreciation shout forth of an album that for me is worthy of standing head and shoulders with all the other great albums U2 ever produced.

Is that all? October, its always been enough, and more than that for me. Happy 20 years old October...you've never sounded or looked better.

Chris
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Old 10-01-2002, 03:30 AM   #2
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Old 10-01-2002, 08:48 AM   #3
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Spanish Eyes you gotta write a book or something, that was great!
I like October too, although at times it seems to get lost in itself. But for me the greatest thing about U2 has always been the honesty, I love listening to four guys in a room with their instruments just stripping back the bulls**t and saying/playing it like it is (or like it is to them at least). I mean how many other rock bands write songs like Gloria or Jerusalem? In this respect October is a great album, and Tomorrow will always be one of the greatest rock songs ever!
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Old 10-01-2002, 01:23 PM   #4
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Agree completely with you, Chris. Once again one of those posts that are simply right. :yes
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Old 10-03-2002, 06:09 PM   #5
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ah bro, as always, you manage to hit the proverbial nail on the head. october is one of my favorite early U2 albums if for nothing more than the sheer brutal honesty and desperation it seems to convey. musically and lyrically. today i found myself repeating under my breath "I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me...if I rejoice" as I sat outside in the sun under a bright blue sky and squinted at the whiteness of the snow on the Alps. U2 is taking on new shades and nuances of meaning for me as I make my way through my life journey and as I listen to their music in different settings (like the one i am in now). And an album like October still sounds fresh and young to me as it ever did. So here's to October.

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Old 10-03-2002, 08:13 PM   #6
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Oh well, just another EXCELLENT post by Chris

I've always loved October-especially Gloria. I heard it on the radio the other day and felt so much joy. I feel that every time I hear that song.

October is of course a great month too, because it was in October of 1976 that U2 started as Feedback, after Larry put up that famous note.

Happy 26th Birthday to U2!
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Old 10-04-2002, 12:16 AM   #7
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Awesome as usual, Chris! I'm pulling out October right now to give it another listen...for the umpteenth time. That album makes me run a gamut of feelings:


Quote:
Originally posted by Gina Marie
Happy 26th Birthday to U2!

OH MY GOSH. Has it been 26 years? That's SO hard to fathom! That's well over half of my/Bono's/Larry's/Edge's/Adam's lives! Why does time speed up as you get older???

I love the colored leaves of October....and the very song itself just "feels" of October....I can almost smell the burning leaves....
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Old 10-12-2002, 02:01 PM   #8
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Hot Press Review of October

Autumn Fire
Neil McCormick reviews "October"

Hot Press, October 10, 1981

A celebration is in order. A smile, a tear, an emotional response to an emotional situation. To passionate friends: this music gives birth to a swelling gladness within me. U2 have kept a promise.

That U2 are important to me, to a lot of people reading and writing for Hot Press and to many more besides, cannot (nor should it need to) be denied. The reasons why they are important should be understood. It begins with their music which has a power to move that most rock music has forgotten; it is the guitar chords U2 strike within you; U2 really do play their songs in the key of life. It is the life within the group, the people, their personalities, their skills, the combination that makes them special.

But caring about a group does not mean you must be faults. U2's debut LP Boy was a magnificent record, epic in scope and personal in touch. I waited for their second LP. I worried slightly, and finally October came. I played it and felt "good." And that reaction was disappointing. A week later the LP has grown and grown, expanding towards "great," rushed on by the explosion of superlatives. Celebrate!

From the growing cry of the opening song "Gloria," from a wistful echo to a glorious shout, it is made clear that U2 have at last openly embraced in their music the Christian faith that has been running in more subtle form through the lyrics of "I Will Follow," "An Cat Dubh," and "Shadows..." and which has been the mainstay of three members' lives, singer Bono, guitarist the Edge and drummer Larry. "We don't want to be the band that talks about God," said Bono at the end of last year. So instead they sing about God. "O Lord, if I had anything/Anything at all/I'd give it to you" he sings on "Gloria." What they have is their music...

October is a Christian LP. People will react to this fact in different ways: snide, disappointed, alienated, unconcerned, overtly happy. I accept it because at the core of U2 is honesty, and therefore, the only way their music can continue to be successful is if they are honest. And honesty is...

"I try to stand up but I can't find my feet/I try to speak up but only in you I am complete/Gloria in te domine."

October is a musical and spiritual growth for U2, a passionate and moving LP for me. U2 have evolved constantly, songs changing and growing over a period of time. Boy was an incredibly impressive LP because it caught a group who had grown for five years. October is the product of one more year, and so it isn't a leap into the unknown, rather a step forward, and a refinement of ideas.

Musically, the Edge's picturesque playing improves as time gives him the skills to equal his imagination. The guitars throughout are superb; slicing, scratching, charging, plunking, always echoing the song's feel. Larry's drumming has taken a plunge off the high-diving board of possibilities, integrating discords, funk, Phil Collins thudding patternwork and things that go bump in the dark, making the drums the most immediately impressive part of the sound. Adam's bass work remains simplistic, but he too has taken new funk rhythms in his stride, adding twists that are, as ever, a fully integrated part of the whole. And Bono's singing has become more confidently modulated, capable of being harder and softer without cracking. Lyrically he has become more basic, without losing his flights of almost subconscious poetry -- his words still provide the basis of a picture, which the group and listener fill in.

October divides into its two sides, together making up a unified whole. Side one is the most immediately impressive, opening up with the inspiring "Gloria" and continuing through four more tracks of driving dance music.

"I Fall Down," opening with piano and evolving into a rolling rhythm, echoes the self-questioning of "Gloria," concerning one of the album's central themes, the struggle within yourself to remain good -- a battle between good and evil that, fortunately, has wider interpretations than just Christian ones. "I Threw a Brick Through a Window" is the most immediately outstanding track, touching on funk, effectively using echo and hammered drums. Here the self-doubt in the song "No one is blinder than he who will not see/No one is blinder than me" is given the uplifting optimism of Bono's call to "Be my brother/There is another way out of here." The song has a passion both epic and personal, it is a call founded in a desperate wish to communicate.

"Rejoice" is the album's second theme. It does. "What am I to do/Just tell me what am I supposed to say/I can't change the world/But I can change the world in me/I rejoice!" The guitar and drums turn this into the most exciting anthem U2 have come up with. Built on affirmation, it leaves the fearfulness of "Out of Control" firmly in the past.

The side closes with "Fire," the last single dealing again with a personal struggle, edged with optimism. And it is the contradiction in their positive attitude to the struggle that strikes such an emotional response in the listener. Side one is a powerful battle, but it is never depressing, nor shallowly uplifting.

Side two is less immediate. It advances the basic theme of the struggle to a more positive celebration of God, and in doing so forsakes the swift thrust of side one.

It opens with "Tomorrow," a musical adventure that will surprise you. Using haunting uileann pipes to provide a traditional Irish atmosphere, it unfolds a tale of family loss, a mixture of emigration and death, that eventually become a cry for Jesus, with U2 powering in on top of the pipes. It is one of the most successful and impressive folk/rock combinations I have heard because it relies more on feeling and association than on purism.

"October," the title track, fills the place occupied on Boy by "The Ocean," and probably intentionally so. Once again it is a short song dealing evocatively with nature, but it moves from "The Ocean" 's adolescent desire to change the world to U2's more mature acceptance of their Christianity. The Edge plays a drifting piano while Bono sings sadly of shifting seasons, until he adds, "But you go on...and on."

"With A Shout" is cartoon world U2 -- the album's weakest track, it is a shout of pain and joy that unfortunately sounds like U2 playing a U2 song with a badly written chorus. It exploits few of the tensions and dynamics in evidence elsewhere, and the use of a horn section seems purely technical rather than soul-felt.

"Stranger in a Strange Land" more than makes up for it, however. A complex, sad, powerful travelogue that catches the distance and strangeness of being alien to a place, grasping at the insights it gives you, It could be about the north of Ireland, America, England, emigration or simply the experience of being distanced by your own feelings. Bono's delivery of "I wish you were here/To see what I can see/To hear...I wish you were here" is filled with poignancy. It is his perpetual call. It is what the album wants to achieve.

The final two songs are inarticulate in the most positive way. An optimism pervades both, which takes the emotions up. "Scarlet" says "rejoice" with a sleepy magic, while "Is That All" grows from the staccato guitar originally used in "The Cry" and asks, unbelieving, "Is that all you want from me?" -- a response to the offer in "Gloria," "If /had anything...I'd give it to you."

The album logically closes with tracks that lift you out of the emotional confusion U2 charge into elsewhere. October ends in celebration.

Is that all? October is an LP of exciting, emotional, spiritually inclined rock: the most uplifting rock LP of the year, a modern dance that studies no trends, relies on no false aura of cool. It is a Christian LP that avoids all the pedantic Puritanism associated with most Christian rock, avoids the Old World emotional fascism of organised religion and the crusading preaching of someone like born-again Bob Dylan. It is fortunate that the main spiritual issues dealt with can be related to a wider frame of reference than Christianity: man's struggle to know and control himself and his own nature is something that comes to everyone in some guise. And its celebratory sound has the same positive touch as gospel music, it rejoices, and that feels good.

Well, is that all I want from U2? No. U2 can touch and involve as the best art should do, but I cannot relate to all their words because often they respond to the basic problems of life and youth with the catch-all of having a saviour. With a group like the Jam, I can respond with intellectual as well as emotional interest. I can only relate to what U2 sing in a broad rather than specific sense.

But it is broad enough for me to become happily lost. U2 are running with the wind, accelerating at the speed of life, breathing in an air of magic, shouting out. "I can't change the world," they sing, but they can and do add something to my world.

They rejoice. I celebrate. Passionate friends.

Hot Press, 1981.
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Old 10-22-2002, 02:46 PM   #9
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Re: October

Quote:
Originally posted by spanisheyes

...we see the essence of Bono so desperately trying to convey the very things he sees and experiences, and wanting to be understood as a very young man of the atrocities, the temptations, the joys, the ugliness, the beauty that seered at his conscious, and begin his love affair with words in order to transpire his feeling into a music that would be for him and the fan, a soul transfusion of the enemy as well as the Spirit to any ear that would listen.
Chris,
I think you just described my life here...from "wanting to be understood by....to....the beauty that seered at his conscious."

Thank-you.
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Old 11-03-2002, 03:57 PM   #10
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Wow, that is ALOT better than the book Walk On, I have big probloms with that book. But anyways you have a great grasp on the lyrics, and quite frankly, made October even more fun to listyin to (as i am doing now).

best
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