Where to start? I think it’s a great opening track, both musically and lyrically. Most bands throw their title track in the middle of their CD (or steal a line from a song from the middle of the disc), but U2 hasn’t gone that route.
The music great. It opens up with a bit of feedback and then a drum and bass groove that I can only describe as flowing (reminds me a bit of Apology by Our Lady Peace, which is one of my favorite songs by them). This song really confirmed to me how much Coldplay has drawn from U2’s musical evolution and styles – the opening could have easily been a coldplay song. The Edge throws in his great bell/piano like tones into the rif in the chorus, and Bono uses his voice in a great emotive way that he seems to have mastered, throwing “oh oh oh oh oh oh oh”s into every third line of the verses. The use of the ethereal synth sounds is a bit of a departure from how to dismantel’s more guitar driven sound, but the addition of the fuzz guitar rhythm track and the riff that carries the song after the second voice tells me that they’ve taken the best of their previous 11 albums and tried not to go too far either side. I like it. The loop in the second half of the song is really cool too, and panned right enough that it’s easy to pick out.
What exactly Bono’s lyrics are getting at… I’m sure that’s open for debate. I feel like it’s about how we often like – and assume things to be more black and white than they really are. The first verse he depicts a girl who’s constantly changing (“One day she’s still, the next she swells / You can hear the universe in her sea shells”). The second, I’m not quite sure what he’s saying (as I often find to be the case with Bono, and I’m sure I’ll find time and time again over the next 11 songs). “I know a girl with a hole in her heart / She said infinity is a great place to start” I’d like to think Bono’s hinting at a deep spiritual desire that we all have and how these simple black and white answers where we can see a line on the horizon don’t always fit with that desire.
The bridge is great musically and really resets the song to come in with the final verse. Lyrically, I think Bono is reflecting what it’s like to try to recall something and how it’s so dificult to rewind and reply with accuracy, again feeding this idea that life doesn’t give us simple answers.
The last verse talks about dreaming a dream in which he’s a trafic cop scheming a scheme and then running from police… in rue du Marais, which I’m told means “streets of March.” Again maybe a hint towards the coruption and distancing from the seemingly simple world (and justice) that should prevade in the world.
I like it as an opening track. It peaked my interest both musically and lyrically and gave me lots of good hooks to sing along with and get stuck in my head. What do you think?