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Old 12-09-2004, 04:48 PM   #1
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SYCMIOYO - My Take

Just heard SYCMIOYO for like the 100th time. My muse has been inspired:

12/9/04

"Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" might very well be U2's most memorable ballad. A gut-wrenching, soulful lament about the death of Bono's father, the song skillfully defamilarizes the frustration, hopelessness, and desperation that accompany the death of a loved one. The poignancy is apparent in virtually every aspect of the song: the Edge's mournful guitar, Adam Clayton's haunting bass line, Larry Mullen's indifferent drum beats, and, of course, Bono's somber eulogy croon.

Unlike its sister ballad, "Stuck in a Moment," "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" is an epic journey. The ballad's first word is a defiant metaphor: "tough." Bob Hewson, Bono's father, is here strangely dehumanized; he's not a person in this song, but an idea (in fact, Bono originally considered calling this song "Tough). "You think you've got the stuff," Bono complains, "You're telling me and anyone you're hard enough." But there emerges an opportunity that Bono's father and Bono himself have heretofore ignored. Bono pontificates: "You don't have to put up a fight, you don't always have to be right." Beneath the stubbornness outwardly manifested in their lives lies the faded recognition that Bono himself could have been his father's armor and protection ("Let me take some of the punches for you tonight"). It's a recognition that Bono yearns to have felt when his father was alive; indeed, he cries for his father to hear this recognition now: "Listen to me now, I need to let you know, you don't have to go it alone."

The song then shifts tempo to a falsetto that is nothing short of majestic. The catharsis emerges in Bono's tender confession: "And it's you when I look in the mirror, and it's you when I don't pick up the phone." Bono next alludes to the essence of his relationship with "tough"--i.e., unending quarrel. But where before Bono may have considered his differences with his father to be insurmountable, he now proffers an easier explanation: "We're the same soul," he solemnly concludes. In fact, the strange reality is that it is Bono's peculiar similarities with his father that are the source of the unending quarrel, not the differences ("If we weren't so alike, you'd like me a whole lot more").

The song takes a dramatic turn when Bono confronts himself in the mirror and wonders why his father won't talk back, and why he couldn't tell his father what he meant to him. And what did Bono's father really do for Bono? The answer is captured in the most memorable line of the song, and possibly of any U2 song. "You're the reason why the opera is in me," Bono repines. Bono's father was an opera singer by profession, so this is a rare moment of humility for Bono (Bono's own nickname, "Bono Vox," means "good voice" in Latin, a nickname given to him by the kids he played with at home). But the line also refers to the frenzied beauty and meaning of opera itself, a medium of music that ironically encapsulates the substance of Bono's relationship with his father.

Attempting to bring closure to his father's death, Bono concludes by asking the fateful question: "Where are we now?" All that remains is the physical grave of Bono's father--a "tough," stone-cold exterior (an exterior probably not all too different from the exterior of Bono's own mansions). But "a house doesn't make a home," Bono reminds himself and his father. Weary, alone, and in despair, Bono can only deliver an adolescent cry: "Don't leave me here all alone!" Finally, as if attempting to regain courage, he comforts himself by deception. "The best you can do is to fake it," Bono reminds all those who believe they can live their lives comfortably without the help of a lost loved one. To Bono, it's simply an undeniable fact: "Sometimes you can't make it on your own."


--Amjad M. Khan
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Old 12-09-2004, 04:54 PM   #2
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SIAMYCGOO is not the sister ballad of SYCMIOYO. Just because their initials are similar doesn't make them the same sub-genre among U2 songs.

SIAMYCGOO is U2's attempt to quiet the bubblegum pop crowd with a lite sing-along-boyband sound.

SYCMIOYO is an economy version of "One" kinda like how Please is a cheaper version of Sunday Bloody Sunday.

There is a world of difference between the two songs. There you have it.

Cheers,

J
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:33 PM   #3
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They're similar thematically.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:39 PM   #4
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SYCMIOYO may be sneaking up on my top 5 U2 list, especially after the Brooklyn performance.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:47 PM   #5
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After what I'd read on here, it took me by surprise that I loved Sometimes... instantly. because I expected it to take time to grow on me..but no! instant classic for me and definitely up there with their very best songs.
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:55 PM   #6
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I look at One and Sometimes to be related morseo than Stuck for some reason...
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:57 PM   #7
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Agreed! they just evoke the same kind of feel to me somehow.
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:05 PM   #8
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I also am one of those who detests and fails to see the connection people are making between these two songs. Perhaps because I'm protective of SYCMIOYO, as I think it is a blinder of a song, where as Stuck is good for sing-a-longs but not much else.

As for your 'musing', akhan, I enjoyed it, thanks for taking the time to write it and post it. Although I must ask, is Adam's bass line really haunting? Mournful guitar? The falsetto majestic? And Bob Hewson wasn't an opera singer by trade, nor was Bono's nickname given to him because of his signing voice.

Sorry for being an annoying negative prick. I guess I don't think this song is in need of being dressed up as something it isn't, it is beautiful as it is.
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:44 PM   #9
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thx for musing

SYCMIOYO best song of HTDAAB imo...it was apparent instantly for me
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:47 PM   #10
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...man, music bigotry should be a crime
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Old 12-09-2004, 09:07 PM   #11
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SYCMIOYO is the sister of Kite - Kite is the road headed into darkness, SYCMIOYO is the road out.

Wouldn't this seem to make more sense, as they are both directly or indirectly about his father - Kite being more about Bono's relationship with his children, with undertones of his relationship with his father and terminal sickness (Something, is about to give, I can feel it coming, I think I know what it is...) -, and SYCMIOYO is just straight up about his fathers death as well as their relationship.

Stuck is about suicide - Michael Hutchence.

I just don't see the connection between Stuck and SYCMIOYO, whereas SYCMIOYO feels to me to be the conclusion of Kite.

And his voice is beautiful on the song.
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:55 PM   #12
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sorry for the inaccuracies in my posting. i was just free-writing and didn't take the time or care to confirm details... i see similarities in melody between "stuck" and "sometimes"... i agree that "kite" is probably closer to "sometimes" thematically (especially considering that bono dedicated "kite" to his dad while on tour)...
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:40 PM   #13
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I would hardly call "Please" a cheaper version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday." They treat similar themes, yes, but so do numerous other U2 songs. "Please" is an indictment of the men who are behind the incidents chronicled in "Sunday Bloody Sunday." In it's own way, it is more confrontational and more direct while still retaining a degree of lyrical ambiguity.
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:47 PM   #14
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To me STYCMIOYO is so passionate and honest, right to the bone. Especially when he sings" the best you can do is to fake it". The break in his voice, the pain that he is feeling and the sadness. He has a hard time hitting the note on fake, it seems that he is about to cry, and maybe he did. They kept it in the song and Wow, how raw with feeling. I had a grandfather that was more like a father to me and this song really hits home for me. After he died , i got into drugs and alcohol that i am now in A.A and sober ( thanx to God). This song is a super special song in my heart for ever. Stuck in a moment is also a very special song because i was out there living a crazy life and that song kept me holding on. Basically grabbing the chair with both hands and going through the ride. It gave me hope that i would get through that time and i did.Bono's voice has been so soothing for me for at least 20 years now. they are an inspiration about life, love, hope ,peace, and a higher power that everything will be ok.
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Old 12-10-2004, 12:01 AM   #15
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Its simply because Sometimes You Cant Make It On Your Own and One are much better written then Stuck In A Moment You Cant Get Out Of.

I would say Sometimes You Cant Make It On Your Own is now definatly my favourite track on this CD and I would rate it very close to One in quality which would make my top 5.
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Old 12-10-2004, 12:02 AM   #16
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Better bring the lighters for this song on the tour too!
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Old 12-10-2004, 12:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by jick
SIAMYCGOO is not the sister ballad of SYCMIOYO. Just because their initials are similar doesn't make them the same sub-genre among U2 songs.

SIAMYCGOO is U2's attempt to quiet the bubblegum pop crowd with a lite sing-along-boyband sound.

SYCMIOYO is an economy version of "One" kinda like how Please is a cheaper version of Sunday Bloody Sunday.

There is a world of difference between the two songs. There you have it.

Cheers,

J
SIAMYYCGOO is actually a good take on soul musically, a tribute to one of Bono's close friends. I'd also like to see the day a boyband has the great lyrics and the passionate performance of that song.

SYCMOYO is even more emotional, and I do think we've got a new "One" here.
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Old 12-10-2004, 12:28 AM   #18
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U2 are the biggest damn boy band in the entire world! And I am damn proud of it! haha thats the way boy bands should play music!
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:43 AM   #19
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please, siamycgoo & sycmioyo are three distinct examples of the most brilliant music ever done that only this band is able to do
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:49 AM   #20
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I only just got to hear the album a few days ago. (yes, very behind but if you see where i live you will understand why).

I found that the album as a whole was definitely one I had to listen to several times to "get into". But "sometimes" had me from hello. And last night, every time it came on, I found myself welling up with tears. Maybe I am jumping the gun, but I would venture to say we have a new classic with this song. Definitely bring your lighters to the shows.
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