The Little Things That Give You A Mercy Rip Off

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Headache in a Suitcase

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U2start has this on their story. Apparently a taper has had it for years and was just hording it, as is the tradition.

https://m.soundcloud.com/denny-noreir/the-little-things-demo-aka-mercy-20?fbclid=PAAaZfUmuMcFg-DAQ91v75A_WjtR-_6mIG5_mb_0WWFmWVbAKZ6YIoeEnUvu4

It's as if they recorded Little Things over the music of Mercy. Do not like, but interesting nonetheless.
 
The taper owned it though. Oh wait….

It’s interesting. I wonder what year it was from. I remember reading that they had tried multiple versions of this song and it wasn’t until 2017 that they finally felt like they nailed it (they indeed did).
 
The most interesting part of this for me is that they were still working on 'Mercy' in some capacity as recently as the SoE sessions (i.e. the most recent album).

They performed it during the 360 tour, and when it wasn't released in SoI (whereas another previewed song, 'Every Breaking Wave' was), I assumed they just scrapped it.

I still love 'Mercy' to this day, and this gives me hope that there's at least a chance they'll release it some day. The u2songs guy apparently interviewed Daniel Lanois about it, who said he'd push for U2 to include Mercy as part of a 3 song 'trilogy' within Songs Ascent, so who knows. (It's been a while since I read that, so don't quote me on it).

Having said all that, the final 'Little Things' track definitely sounds like the better song than this demo.
 
This is a really wild find, not a lot of stuff like this available to us that I know of. Very interesting to see how much the band holds on to over the years and evolves things.

I suppose this is something of an explanation for why they've never properly released Mercy, they don't like the 2004 version for whatever reason, but knew there's still good stuff in there. Considering how the final version of Little Things doesn't ultimately use anything from the original Mercy, I wonder if the song (or elements from it) are still in their back pocket to be used at a further date (SOA maybe?).

I remember reading that "The Morning After Innocence," which was mentioned by Bono in 2014, turned into Little Things. And I know U2songs lists "Lead Me in the Way I Should Go" as a 2003 demo that turned into Morning After Innocence. And now we have Mercy to add to the tapestry of songs that evolved into Little Things. It's not always documented as far as I know, but this kind of thing seems really typical for them, just wild how fluid the song process can be for them. I know for example Desert of Our Love became Rise Up which became I Still Haven't Found (which is more obvious with the Lilywhite 87 Alternate mix). In the end they included them all on the super deluxe boxset, which I hope is how we'll finally get a quality Mercy.

Personally, I think the final Little Things product is one of their best ever songs. This version is fascinating but I think they were right to keep pushing.
 
I'd been listening to Little Things in the last week, it really is an amazing song. Interesting to hear this version and the ongoing saga of Mercy. You never know, one day they might get round to releasing a studio version of it they are happy with or have made their peace with,
 
Let's just all collectively say "Thank goodness" that they didn't release a song called "Morning After Innocence"
 
Listening again, I actually really love the instrumental to this, and possibly prefer it - instrumentally speaking - to TLTTGYA. There's some beautiful guitar work, atmosphere and build up.

The main downside for me of this early version (and the reason I think the finished version works better as an all-round song), is the vocals/vocal melodies; it feels like the main priority was the lyrics, and (in recent Bono style) trying to cram as many words in as possible, at the expense of the vocal melody. The vocal never gets a chance to soar with a simple yet big melody (e.g. like the "wide awake" in 'Bad'), and it's so non-stop that the instruments get no time in the spotlight, and so there's no space for the song to breathe. It's like a finished poem was just grafted onto an unrelated instrumental, there's no relationship between the two.

I would really love if they pursued Mercy. This version - again, instrumentally speaking - even manages to build, evolve and improve upon some elements of the original. I think there's still some potential here. Fingers crossed they finally make something with it.
 
What a wild find. Seems so jarring hearing two very familiar songs pretty much meshed together, and with the benefit of knowing Little Things in its final version, it does sound like something they're still working out. Yet still miles and miles better than all their recent awful single releases in recent years though.

What are the chances that this is from the No Line sessions? I think there's notes they attempted a version with Eno which, considering that was the last time they worked with him, would possible check out.

Some nice ideas going on, but much prefer the final version we got. One of the rarities in recent years that shows the genius never really left them.
 
Not much to add to the thoughts here - some random other thought-bubbles from me:

- vibe is similar to Stars Don't Go into Iris. A bit more upbeat/dancey and they ended up toning the music down to suit the subject matter.
- Mercy/little things and the development process reminds me a lot of the Achtung Baby process of building The Fly/Ultraviolet/Lady out of the same demo.
- The thematic use of riffs in multiple songs isn't new to them, and it's possible this wasn't a progression of Mercy, rather just something meant to be heard in the same context - Achtung Baby uses the same riff through Acrobat and then into Love is Blindness, SOI/SOE use the Volcano Riff, SFS melody.
- I don't hate it, but I like that they added bono's fabled "drop of acid" to the finished product - that kind of songwriting sublety/sensibility has been part of their problem in the last few decades. Still - I'd LOVE to hear the 2013 SOI and the 2015 SOE.
- Assume this was captured as part of the recording being done during innocence + experience. We know they were recording on the road, and this is clearly a studio track with bono singing live over it (the double tracked vocals are very much like the first version of American Prayer). That might infer that there is a lot more that was captured through an IEM at the same time?
 
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Little Things is one of my all time favorite U2 songs, freaking masterpiece.

I really dislike the "sometimes" section of this one. The lyrics of that section in the album version of Little Things are brilliant and sad. They are especially for me, because I listened to that song and album when my Mom was dying. For me the lyrics of the sometimes section make it feel like it's a separate song from the other lyrics.

They should be doing Little Things in Las Vegas
 
Really interesting find, but jarring was definitely the right word to describe it. :lol:
The Songs of Experience version is a late-career masterpiece.
 
I really dislike the "sometimes" section of this one. The lyrics of that section in the album version of Little Things are brilliant and sad. They are especially for me, because I listened to that song and album when my Mom was dying. For me the lyrics of the sometimes section make it feel like it's a separate song from the other lyrics.


Agree. I think I might prefer the verses in this demo to the album track, but the Sometimes bit here is pretty weak. Few things are as devastating "Sometimes, I'm full of anger and grieving, so far away from believing that any sun will reappear." Like goddamn.
 
i agree that Little Things is phenomenal... and yet they never released it, and didn't perform it on the tour promoting the album.

fucking hell.

They’re Dumb.
And the live version with the more prominent piano and less produced/more guitar-focused crescendo beat the hell out of the album version.
 
Agree. I think I might prefer the verses in this demo to the album track, but the Sometimes bit here is pretty weak. Few things are as devastating "Sometimes, I'm full of anger and grieving, so far away from believing that any sun will reappear." Like goddamn.

When i first heard Little Things, i thought the line was ''any song will reappear''.
 
They’re Dumb.
And the live version with the more prominent piano and less produced/more guitar-focused crescendo beat the hell out of the album version.

Well, let's pump the breaks on that. The album version is actually one of the better studio tracks they've released since the 90's...and really the only song I go back to on SOE at this point (Unless you count the SOS version of LOH).

But yes, the live version was also great.
 
Certainly a fascinating listen, but I think they figured it out in the end. Little Things is one of their more recent strong entries.

20 years for Bomb in 2024. Hopefully a proper version of Mercy will finally see the light.
 
Certainly a fascinating listen, but I think they figured it out in the end. Little Things is one of their more recent strong entries.

20 years for Bomb in 2024. Hopefully a proper version of Mercy will finally see the light.

20 years, my god. Where did all the time go?:sad:
 
Agree. I think I might prefer the verses in this demo to the album track, but the Sometimes bit here is pretty weak. Few things are as devastating "Sometimes, I'm full of anger and grieving, so far away from believing that any sun will reappear." Like goddamn.

I totally agree - it's one of U2's best ever moments. 'Sometimes I wake at 4 in the morning, where all the darkness is swarming, and it covers me in fear' just hits me like a truck.
 
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