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Old 10-08-2001, 02:59 PM   #1
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Read this nice article about U2

Post-Tragedy, U2 Songs Say It All
Orange County Register, October 05, 2001


Ben Wener

It's official: I'm an idiot.

It's taken three weeks for that truth to set in, though I started realizing it the day after the day no one will ever forget. That was when, depressed like anyone with a heart still beating, I turned to the radio for solace.

Never mind solace. Try release. And after scouring the dial and finding nothing but the usual suspects, I discovered what spoke to me.

A quietly churning funkless funk beat, so faint you barely notice it. Atop it, doleful keyboard tones, resolving into that throbbing bass no one can mistake. A plinking guitar, like Roger McGuinn warming up. And out comes the voice. It belongs to a guy that has seen enough, done all the crying he can. He's almost bland, monotone and cold, the way Lou Reed can sometimes be. Just there, stating matter-of-factly.

He says: In New York, freedom looks like too many choices. He says: In New York, I found a friend to drown out the other voices.

Those voices: Voices on a cell phone, voices from home, voices of the hard sell, voices down a stairwell.

In New Yorrrrrk.

His voice swoops low, then he tells us he just got a place there, before returning to his usual wail.

And I'm hooked.

The song, off U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind, has been growing on me all along. I liked it well enough on record, liked it more when Bono danced around the aorta of the band's stage at the Pond. Now I can't get enough of it.

No, more than that: I can't do without the entire album. Suddenly songs that seemed so inconsequential now resonate almost too deeply. It's downright eerie how in tune with what's happening they are -- how "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" speaks to rebuilding wounded pride, how "Walk On" spills over with realistic compassion and encouragement, how the simple-mindedness of "Peace on Earth" now comes across as justifiable and righteous.

I know, I'm doubling back on myself, but sometimes it takes a jolt for reality to set in. So many years of hearing U2 carry on about the troubles of the world when America has rambled on unharmed has taken a toll. For too long now I have wanted more dazzle and invention from the band because I didn't need its salvation and spirituality, its humanity and hopefulness. I overlooked, for instance, that while I and many others have been living as comfortable consumers, they have been keeping creative tabs on the ugliness of the world.

They have seen their homeland torn apart. They have taken stock of strife in Bosnia, in Rwanda -- throughout Africa, really. They know what the Third World looks like, even as they've witnessed decay of the First from the seclusion of a limousine.

Look, this doesn't change that Bono is often overbearingly mopey and pathetically self-important. But face it: They have foresight many of us will never have.

Foolish, then, to think that there was something wrong with U2 -- that the guys weren't doing enough to keep us interested and supporting their causes. Maybe it's the other way around; maybe we're boring them. Maybe it's that they're fighting the good fight and have grown restless at our own self-absorption, our pointless materialism, our vapidity.

Somehow All That You Can't Leave Behind doesn't sound nearly as retrograde as it once did. Its moody urgency just arrived. Its vitality just reared its head.

But I suspect both were there all along. I just couldn't hear it.

And for what it's worth -- which right now is exactly nothing -- it will win the Grammy for Album of the Year. Bet me.

10 U2 SONGS

"If God Will Send His Angels" (1997) -- Would everything be all right?

"Seconds" (1983) -- "In an apartment on Times Square / You can assemble them anywhere / Held to ransom, hell to pay / A revolution every day."

"A Sort of Homecoming" (1985) -- Hopefulness: As the city walls come down, we run and don't look back.

"Until the End of the World" (1992) -- Drowning sorrows in waves of regret and joy.

"Bullet the Blue Sky" (1987) -- Disturbingly amazing how it fits any atrocity.

"Wake Up Dead Man" (1997) -- Looking for order in disorder when Jesus doesn't seem to have the answers.

"Please" (1997) -- Like all of their political statements, written for one set of troubles, applicable to all.

"Walk On" (2000) -- Stay safe tonight.

"Peace on Earth" (2000) -- "Tell the ones who hear no sound / Whose sons are living in the ground."

"40" (1983) -- How long to sing this song?


Orange County Register, 2001.

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Old 10-09-2001, 03:01 AM   #2
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Thanks! Great article. A lot of people seem to feel that ATYCLB is meaning more and more. It seems to be a record that really speaks in a universal way and that is a great thing.

Personally, I always loved New York.



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Old 10-09-2001, 03:03 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot! Maybe we do have a shot at the Grammys.
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Old 10-09-2001, 03:04 AM   #4
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That's from my local paper.
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Old 10-09-2001, 03:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by scatteroflight:


Personally, I always loved New York.

Yeah, I was very surprised to here people's negative reactions to New York. I believe its one of the stongest tracks on ATYCLB.

But, where is Alphaville?

New Yorker w/out a clue,

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Old 10-09-2001, 03:08 AM   #6
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Agreed. It's nice to see that some people are begining to understand that U2 still has so much to offer. The amazing thing about ATYCLB is that it really does strike a very personal note, at least in my opinion. It makes on feel as though the words were written for you. I'm glad that people have begun to see that. They know we've got to get ourselves together....

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Old 10-09-2001, 03:12 AM   #7
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CK,

I believe that Alphaville is a reference to Alphabet City, downtown near the village (Avenue A, B, C). It could also be a reference to this really old movie (50's I think) which was called "Alphaville". I am still deciding which one I think he meant (maybe both)...

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Old 10-09-2001, 03:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hawk269:
CK,

I believe that Alphaville is a reference to Alphabet City, downtown near the village (Avenue A, B, C). It could also be a reference to this really old movie (50's I think) which was called "Alphaville". I am still deciding which one I think he meant (maybe both)...

AJ
Yeah, I know about Alphabet City. Alphabet city has now become "East Village" and some people call it "East Soho". But I've never heard anyone call it "Alphaville". Was that movie referring to NYC?

CK


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