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Old 07-06-2011, 09:42 AM   #31
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Okay, let's review the perfect timing of this post.

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Originally Posted by BlueSilkenSky View Post
Starting off my sure-to-come succession of posts with an easy one...

My favorite song in the world is One Tree Hill by U2. I swear, they have never written a better song. When I listen I can feel the grief it was born from.

The song is powerful, with a great vocal performance. It brings this aura of darkness, or maybe mystique, in it. I also find the shift from Trip Through Your Wires to One Tree Hill on the Joshua Tree a very perfect match. Every time I listen to the album I get excited- five more songs, four more songs, three more songs... It's also a pleasure to have my least favorite song on the album preluding my favorite.

The layers of this song are deep and haunting. There's the ever-so-subtle bass, those complicated drums, the scratchy guitar that I can hear underneath all this, never fading away, and the other instrumental work- I've never been able to tel what those other instruments are. It sounds like a synth, or likes waves unfolding. But all my praise wil forever go to the vocals. Quite clearly the best part of the song- and recorded in ONE take. How did something so perfect come out of one take? The mind boggles.

Here I find Bono's voice soft and soothing, not over the top like in Bulet The Blue Sky or pleasantly deep like With or Withot You. This is a tone of voice I love. Sounds a bit choked too. The lyrics are poetry, with the continuing "You/It/We run like a river" bringing it all back around. I love the word change on each of the choruses. The lyrical progression is pretty interesting to- from a personal first verse, to a political second verse, to a third verse that seems to blend both themes. In the third verse comes my favorite lines- "I'll see you again when the stars fall from the sky, and the moon has turned red over One Tree Hill."

Then, of course, everything changes by the end. The end is phenomenal. "And when it's raining, raining hard... that's when the rain will break my heart..." The guitar turns agressvie and the vocals change from melodic to screechy. I'm still not sure how anyone can scream until a word is no longer a word, it is a sound. Anway, this part is so emotional, I just adore it. "Rain" will never mean the same thing to me again. As the impassioned screaming continues, the song has broken from the ever-building form of the previous verses, and then it's just- silent. This would be the part to turn it off. However, after a moment of silence the words are drawn back in- "Oh great ocean, oh great sea. Run to the ocean, run to the sea." By far this is probably the easiest part of the song to sing, and it's the most powerful of all. I love the emotions conveyed through the vocals. That's when I realize, I have not just listened to a song, I've listened to an epic poem.

Live does the song justice. The screaming is usually dropped out in favor of a killer guitar solo, but in the version from the Point Depot Lovetown show (not sure which one) there's this frenzy of scat-singing, very emotive. It grabs my heart. I freaking love it. I want to die listening to this song, or have it played at my funeral (though I get the idea that the song's exclusive and can't be played for just anyone).

And that's all I have to say about One Tree Hill. Ask for me later, at 11 PM or so, and I'll go into more detail with different music.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:49 AM   #32
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Wow hahaha! Awesome!
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:14 AM   #33
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I know, isn't that so weird?!
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:17 AM   #34
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U2 has always been a band adept at squeezing musical genius from the essence of sorrow, whether it be a political context (the anger providing Bullet's visceral edge, the hopelessness giving contrite beauty to Miss Sarajevo) or something more individual (Edge's marriage resulting in pretty much all of Achtung Baby, the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi inspiring Walk On), but U2 is also able to fabricate it brilliantly. Stay is one of my favorite U2 songs because, in spite of having no explicit inspiration, it manages to be the very sound of loneliness, making it almost seem beautiful and grand.

Simply analyzing the instrumentation, you realize what it is the band is trying to evoke; Edge's guitar is twangy and sorrowful, a rare tone for him, and the instruments are stretched far apart in the mix to provide a sense of space and loneliness. This is the visage of the broken person that Bono sings about in the song, constantly in a state of tragedy and alone for the ride. However, right when you expect it to be a typical teary ballad, there's a roar that comes through in the mix that makes the track vaguely terrifying. It puts the listener on edge and grabs their attention, giving tension to the proceedings. As the Infinite Guitar Edge used on WOWY gives the song an ethereal quality, so that blaring guitar line gives Stay a sense of terror.

One thing I really love about the track is the fact that the lyrics don't force you to feel one way or another about the protagonist; it's merely a sketch, and its neutrality prevents you from feeling sorry for anyone in particular. Indeed, they are a vampire or a victim, and while their situation is certainly dire, you get the sense that they are dragging others down with them. But to say the song is just about one person is slightly off the mark; I also find the song effective as an embodiment of that dreary, detached feeling you have on those grey mornings where you're not entirely with it, not at all feeling like part of the human race just yet. That hollow, isolated sensation apparent in the wee hours of the morning when you feel as if you're only one in earshot at all times.

I remember listening to it one night at 3 in the morning when I was 11 years old, and I had never felt so isolated as I did at that moment. I was listening to something, but everything around me felt quiet, and the same thing goes on at the end of the song. It's not even as if there's a light hum going on in that final verse...the roar is gone. When Larry does that last crash, it feels as if it's almost performed in a vacuum. This relates to the lyrics in a profound way: the protagonist is, for all their self-destructive bluster, ultimately very much alone when it's all said and done. Stay sketches out its subject effectively, but so much more about the song, including its production, makes it work as the soundtrack to a person who is lonely not entirely by choice, but certainly by necessity; nothing can be done for them, and it's probably for the best that we watch the car crash they've dressed themselves in rather than intervene.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:29 AM   #35
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Nicely said, LM. I have always found the line "the night would be enough" particularly moving: the protagonist just wants to appreciate the moment rather than constantly thinking about where things are going and what needs to be done. It's a supremely romantic song that manages not to succumb to a single cliche - that is an enormous accomplishment.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:47 AM   #36
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it is a very unique guitar performance from Edge. Took me a while to come around to this song, but I love it now. One of his best 90s vocals, and I love that final drum crash, which throws you completely off because it's not, as yup says, the crash you expect to hear.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:45 AM   #37
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That's exactly how I feel about the song. Beautiful.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:36 AM   #38
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It's no secret around here that I loves the punk rock. So, I figured this would be the proper thread to express my thoughts on it.

What's that? I made a punk rock thread? That's nice.

Now, the task at hand.

I'll fully admit, my first taste of punk rock (or, to be more specific, pop-skatepunk) was a result of trying to impress a boy. I'm not proud of it, but hey. It was ten years ago, I can't remember the boy's name and I found a genre of music that I enjoy and connect with. Prior to obtaining Green Day's nimrod. I was one of those Top-40 girls who only listen to what the radio tells them to. Now-Me wishes I could slap Then-Me So. Hard.

Wait, that's not correct. In 1998, I bought both The Offspring's Americana and blink-182's Enema Of The State. I was 13 and didn't know what punk rock was at the time, but those were actually the first two punk rock albums I owned. I just knew they kicked more ass than the boy-band crap I was listening to, and hey, Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) and What's My Age Again? are funny songs.

Moving back to 12th grade. The boy I was trying to impress was a Green Day fan. I thought this made him a total badass. I'll do it for you: I was 16, I live in freakin' Utah. Anyone who dared to curse and wasn't listening to crap like Jericho Road and the Tabernacle Choir was a total badass. So I bought nimrod. and WARNING:, thinking "This will make me cool." And I really did fall in love with the music. My parents had just divorced and the man my mom was dating was the biggest prick to ever walk the face of the earth, my friends all shunned me because my parents divorced (NOTE: Never pick all your friends from one religious group. They will band together and turn on you.), life sucked. The punk rock spoke to the anger and turmoil I was feeling inside. The Grouch became my anthem. I told my mom's boyfriend to go fuck himself any time he tried to speak to me and I got a new set of friends and told the holier-than-thou's to suck my left nut. The rest of my senior year was a blast.

I spent the next few years listening to alternative radio and discovering music. I wouldn't say I was necessarily focused on one genre or anything. I didn't have an iPod or the internet (or a job to buy music), so the radio and I were pals. And then, American Idiot came out. Well, I wasn't totally on top of the release. I didn't even realize Green Day had come out with a new album until I heard Boulevard Of Broken Dreams on the radio. So I got it as a Christmas gift and it rekindled my love for Green Day and punk rock in general. I listened to that CD so much, I wore the damn thing out. I started watching Behind The Music and Storytellers and Classic Albums of Green Day stuff (yes, I was a VH1 addict. Back when, you know, VH1 actually had music programming) and really got into the band. I got a job and bought all their albums and played the shit out of them.

I wanted more of this sound. So I explored their influences: Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols. I explored their side projects and former bands: Pinhead Gunpowder, The Frustrators, The Network. I got into the East Bay scene and I've never looked back since. I don't know what sort of approach I've taken to navigating through it all. One good band leads to another, I'd say. Green Day even led me back to U2 when they paired up to do The Saints Are Coming.

But besides all that, what I really loves about the punk rock is just...the sound. I can't really explain it. Be it skatepunk, noise rock, queercore, riot grrl, no wave, psychobilly, Oi!, or even blues punk (yes, it exists and it's glorious). The thrashing, sometimes badly-played guitars, the drummers who make as much rhythmic noise as possible, and the bass riffs that somehow tie it all together, and the lyrics that are screaming out discontent. I guess the reason I love it so much is because it's not, to borrow a term from The Onion, the "trite crapola" that encompasses so much of pop music today.

There's balls in punk rock, confidence. I mean, there is a band I adore. Their only claim to remote fame is a 13-second spoken-word track on a punk compilation album. I love that. I love the DIY bands who record an entire album in one take, produce and mix and press it themselves for the love of it. Sure, it sounds lo-fi and scratchy and unpolished, but that adds to the whole feel of it.

Here's the difference between punk and more mainstream music. If the lead singer of, say The Bouncing Souls, came out onstage and simply gave the crowd the finger for ten minutes cause they didn't feel like playing, sure, the crowd would probably give him the finger back and there'd be a small riot in the mosh pit, but we'd also laugh about it and talk about it like it was the best thing we'd ever seen. You can't take it seriously. Either the band is pulling a stunt, or they're taking themselves too seriously and therefore need to be laughed at to bring them down a peg.

I wish my thoughts were gathered better and I could express more of what makes punk rock great to me. I just feel it, and it's awesome.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:19 PM   #39
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I'm not a big fan of the genre but I loved Americana, Enema of the State, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, Conspiracy of One and Warning back in the day.

 
I still think Adams Song is really good.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:31 PM   #40
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The last time I listened to Pretty Fly (for A White Guy), I thought of you, Cobbler.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:15 PM   #41
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Pretty much describes my life yes.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:44 PM   #42
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The first step is admitting you have a problem.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:46 PM   #43
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tl;dr
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:19 PM   #44
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:24 PM   #45
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My second music post. Not sure if it'll come out right.

So, though I am the biggest INXS fan I know personally, I think that only comes of being 15 years old with peers who don't know great music, because I only have two of their albums. I'm trying to collect them all as soon as possible, and my number one priority is X. This is because there is one song on it that I absolutely must have, a song that nearly changed my life.
"We'd like to play a new song, from X... it's called The Stairs."
That was the intro to a powerful, moving song that deeply touches my soul. The first time I heard it was when I was digging around YouTube for music to listen to as I whiled away the hours of the night and I unearthed a live version of an INXs song I'd never heard before. So I thought, okay, let's see if it's any good. Boy, was I clueless. It was not only good. It was great. It was fantastic. As soon as I clicked on the video my eyes were glued to the screen. And that's NOT because I was getting some very good eye-candy. It was because the song was so riveting.

The Stairs started out with a sort of piano-synth, though I think it was piano that I was hearing. The camera swooped among a forest of waving arms clapping to the beat. I stared at the audience, huge enough to fill Wembley Stadium, and a flashback came to me- watching U2's performance of Bad at Live Aid on YouTube. With this reminder, the music grew more moving. It sounded familiar, and yet it was unique in its own way.

The vocals don't begin until far into the song, though it doesn't have an epically long intro like Streets. Instead, the intro is calming, and I could listen to it all day and be perfectly happy without any singing. But as always, when the singing kicks in it becomes my favorite part of the song. I could feel it coming when a guitar was added to the gorgeous piano, streaming into the air with a raw yet smooth tone I never thought I'd heard before. From its start the song had me spellbound. It still does hold me spellbound. The singing began.

Now, normally I have to like the lyrics to like the song, but sometimes there's a voice that just touches me and makes my head fall back and a moan start in my throat, a wanting to sing the words but not knowing them and not wanting to ruin the beautiful tone. With this song, the lyrics were not only top-notch- sheer poetry- but they were swathed in the most gorgeous voice I've ever heard. What was I thinking when I named Chris Daughtry as the best male vocalist ever?!?!?! I shudder now at the thought. Michael Hutchence surely takes (or maybe took) the cake. I'd do plenty of things for that voice.

The lyrics of The Stairs are, as I said, brilliant. But that's not all there is to it- the story, the evocative imagery in the song really connects with me. From the first lines it sounds like a tale about a city. I don't know about you but I can really connect with cities. Not only do I live in a beautiful one, but there's always been a part of me that's longed for an urban home and a sunny sky. The Stairs is certainly not a sunny song- though the build is very positive, my imagery of the city is a rainy one. But the music thrumming beneath the lyrics overtakes the poetry, so if it weren't for the swoon-inducing voice I would just like an instrumental of this song. As it is, I appreciate the gorgeous lyrics for what they are.

The tune is a thing to be admired, I swear. The way the lines "Seperated by incidents" turn to "Listen to the walls" is gorgeous, yet hard to sing at times. The lines "Story to story, building to building, street to street we pass each other" AKA what could be called the chorus, are beautifully underwhelming. I can just tell there's something brewing beneath the surface. With a rturn to "Listen to the walls" the song just seems to be preparing for something deep. And then it comes.

"The nature of your tragedy is chained around your neck
Do you lead, or are you lead?
Are you sure that you don't care?"

This is not my favorite verse in the song, but it's an explosive all-get-out part. In the video, the camera cut to a view from behind, showing Jon Farriss drumming, tossing away his left stick, and insatly pulling out another one. That's what I call talent. The song moves into its most uplifting verse, my favorite in the entire song-

"There are reasons here to give your life, and follow in your way
The passion lives to keep the faith
Though all are different, all are great."

This verse is sung so, well, passionately, and with such heartstring-puling lines, that I teared up when I first heard it. It seriously gets under my skin. The verse is probably designed to make the listener feel something, but it's pulled off so freakin' wonderfully. This verse is something I believe in deeply. It should be written on my heart.

And then comes the reward of sitting through the entire song, if that prevous verse wasn't enough. For casual listeners, one might be confused about the name of this song. By using delayed gratification, it comes in the lines of the chorus, repeated once more but with an addition- "We pass each other on the stairs." Oh, say the casual listeners, and switch the song off. For me- and for everyone in their right mind- this revelation isn't enough. I need more. The lines of "on the stairs" do, however, reveal more to the city mystique. It's about dark urban life, and it sucks me in further. Might I add that in the video, I love the way that line is sung- "We PASS each other on the stai-airs..." with an arm toss as the lights instantly dampen. Suddenly they blast back with an awesome guitar solo that wrenches into my heart and cleanses it. The entire band has gotten into the song, playing furiously yet relaxed (Andrew Farriss performs some really nice head-bopping/spinning) as that guitar solo plunges and takes me higher, to a better place.

Finally the chorus is sung one last time, again with that heavenly note-lift on "stairs", and the song ends abrutply. All that, and it was building up for a sudden ending. The chorus is sung that last time in a higher range, a beautiful thing to witness with your ears, though it does sound a little straining to me. That was why the first chorus was so underwhelming. It was preparing for this.

There are some songs that you listen to and think "They've done everything right." For me, The Stairs is one of them. It's my go-to song, one that I can listen to no matter what mood I'm in and it'll still fit. The emotions I go though when listening to that song cannot be described. What I wrote is probably half as much as I feel because I just can't explain myself. I can't wait to buy the album. The only versions up on YouTube are live versions and one with really bad audio. I know the album version isn't going to be as powerful as the Wembley live version, though. That's okay. It's still magnificent in every way possible.

(That didn't come out right at all... )
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