From the Musical Attic

| December 7, 2019

Been on the road again – twice (the second trip is not quite halfway done). And as longtime readers know, I listen to a lot of music while driving.

So yeah: that means you’re about to be subjected to some off-topic musical musings – a auditory walkabout, if you like.

Consider yourself forewarned. (smile)

. . .

The Iriish band U2 is a favorite of mine. And during recent travel, I had the chance to listen to one of their albums I hadn’t listened to recently: their 2000 release “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.”

While I don’t regard it as the band’s best, it’s still highly regarded. It received a Grammy Award for Best Album (plus several others for songs/performances) and is on several “best of all time” listings regarding popular music.

Like most albums, I find it a mixed bag. Some of the tunes IMO qualify as simply time filler; I don’t bother to listen to them much. But several of the cuts from the album are as good as anything the band has ever done.

The album’s first four tracks IMO stand out in particular. That’s not solely my opinion; they also happen to be the 4 singles from the album. Moreover, each of these tunes received an indiviaual Grammy Award as well.

And IMO each deals with a common – and very human – condition.

The first, “Beautiful Day”, deals with boredom, disillusionment, and the opportunity for change. The second – “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” – deals with depression and suicide. The third – “Elevation” – deals with seeking out comfort, whether from another person or something else. And the fourth – “Walk On” deals with perserverance during adversity.

Three of these themes should be quite familiar to most veterans. Unfortunatley, for many all four will be painfully familiar.

I’ve linked each tune to it’s title above. If you feel inclined, have a listen; they’re IMO excellent tunes, and I think it would be worth your time. Sorry about any ads; YouTube seems more infested with then each day, even in “privacy protected” mode.

But its a fifth tune on the album that I think might actually be one of the band’s best. IMO it captures the “vibe” of a certain place absolutely perfectly; it’s better in that respect than all but a handful of other tunes I’ve ever run across. If you’ve ever been there, I think you’ll agree.

It also deals with an unfortunately common human theme many vets have experienced as well, often after leaving Acitive Duty: the proverbial “mid-life crisis”. And I also believe a certain Navy vet and former frequent commenter to TAH who seems to only comment rarely these days will doubtless enjoy the tune, too. (smile)

New York. Even if you’ve only visited it briefly, I think you’ll find the above tune (and 3rd party video, which is by the way excellent) spot on.

There’s another tune from the album that also IMO hits home – hard. Perhaps that one gets a future article of its own.

. . .

Well, that’s it for today’s walkabout. Back to taking care of some necessary tasks before hitting the road again in a few days.

Category: Pointless blather, Who knows

Comments (13)

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  1. Comm Center Rat says:

    I’ve been a U2 fan since the early 1980s and saw them live on the Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby tours. Their early work especially was infused with Biblical references and Christian imagery. Beautiful Day is my favorite U2 song of the last twenty years.

    The band’s early work though remains my favorite and New Year’s Day (1983) is my all time favorite U2 song. Bullet the Blue Sky (1987) is a close second and my favorite song performed live:

    In the howlin’ wind
    Comes a stingin’ rain
    See it drivin’ nails
    Into the souls on the tree of pain

    In the locust wind
    Comes a rattle and hum
    Jacob wrestled the angel
    And the angel was overcome

    You plant a demon seed
    You raise a flower of fire
    We see them burnin’ crosses
    See the flames, higher and higher

    Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullens, Jr. and Adam Clayton have been U2 since 1976. I hope they’ve got another 43 years in them!

    • Hondo says:

      It’s not only the band’s early work that’s replete with religious and biblical references. 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb has a song titled “Yahweh”. And yeah, it’s clearly referring to Who you think it is.

  2. NHSparky says:

    Yes, Hondo. One of the questions I ask myself from time to time is where has Master Chief gone? No doubt busy slaying the dragons so many choose to ignore, but it would be nice to hear from him from time to time.

    And my contribution from U2 comes from, IMO, their best album outside The Joshua Tree. This track didn’t get as much play as some of the other tracks. C’est dommage.

    https://youtu.be/QSUMYlheSNQ

    • Hondo says:

      Achtung Baby was indeed an excellent – and very different, stylistically – follow-up to The Joshua Tree. I’ve read that the difference was by design.

      • NHSparky says:

        My understanding was that was mostly due to the criticism over Rattle and Hum.

        And that it damn near caused them to break up.

    • Comm Center Rat says:

      Until the End of the World is my favorite song on the Achtung Baby album! For non-U2 fans: this song is about Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus Christ from the perspective of Judas.

      “Waves of regret and waves of joy
      I reached out for the one I tried to destroy
      You, you said you’d wait
      Till the end of the world”

      U2 is the greatest Christian themed band in music history IMHO.

  3. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    U2 has a lot of great lyrics….this was a welcome post Hondo…things have been in upheaval for me lately as well…

    Working for a former competitor these days, it’s a change in my role and has taken some time to get used to…we are building a new component to the business right now and it’s a wild ride fraught with learning opportunity and mis-steps which is great to keep my old brain engaged and actively curious to partake of new learning opportunities…

    I’ve always loved the U2 song, All I Want Is You….

    A powerful lyric as well I think…the start of the chorus is italicized and it says far more in two lines than many other songs say during their entire duration….

    You say you want
    Diamonds on a ring of gold
    You say you want
    Your story to remain untold

    <iBut all the promises we make
    From the cradle to the grave

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      well I meant to italicize, clearly blew the tags…

      But all the promises we make
      From the cradle to the grave

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    “It’s a Beutiful Day”

    Thanks…that hit the spot here.

  5. Thunderstixx says:

    Being one of the few living people that actually saw Led Zeppelin in concert, Kingdome, Seattle, 1977, festival seating, main floor tickets !!!
    I gotta say that beyond the fact that Annie Wilson looks like she weighs over 300 lbs and really doesn’t look good, she can still rock the show.
    With Jason Bonham, John Bonham’s son, setting the rhythm section on fire, Heart does this version of “Kashmir” better than Led Zeppelin EVER DID !!!!

    • NHSparky says:

      Saw Page/Plant in 1995, San Diego Sports Arena.

      They had an Egyptian group with them, as well as part of the SD Philharmonic.

      They teamed up and did a 20-minute version of Kashmir. Out-freaking-standing.

    • MCPO USN says:

      Heresy! Nobody on that stage could touch Jimmy Page, recorded or live.

  6. 5th/77th FA says:

    Turn it up!