11. Cedars of Lebanon

The last song on the disc… and the one that’s taken me the longest to blog about (reformatting the computer and being sick haven’t helped…). Check out previous blog reviews of No Line on the Horizon starting here.

For me, this has been one of the more striking songs on the disc. There’s a lot of seeking in this song, struggling in both the lyrics and music. Musically, there’s not a huge dynamic range in ths song, but it fits quite well. I really enjoy the snare work that just moves the song forward the whole time. The bridge with the guitar/bass lead line is also really apropriate for the song I found, very dark with a measure of hope. Bono’s vocals are fairly monotone throughout, and with the Edge singing the chorus it’s got a great airy feel. I really like the guitar tones throughout, but there’s no surprise there… it’s the Edge.

Lyrically, I’m trying to figure out if the whole song is talking aboug God or if it’s split between a person and God. It’s pretty obvious that there’s a bit of a backstory which Bono gives enough of to peak the listeners intrest while not giving enough for anyone to really know what happened. It’s obvious it’s sung from the perspective of a journalist who has to deal with seeing some pretty unjust things. The second verse and the first half of the third seems to be about a woman, someone from his past whom the ‘return the calls to home’ is about.

The fourth verse is probably my favorite. I love the line “the best of us are geniuses of compression” – I relate to that really well. It seems like there’s usually too much going on and too much information presented when people get stressed. The best of us know how to compress and articulate.

The fifth verse really talks about justice and God as far as I’m understanding it. It’s also where the title of the song comes from… or it and the next verse. Interestinly enough, I’ve heard the term “cedars of lebanon” a fair amount lately. It’s used often enough in the bible from the Psalms where it talks about God’s strength to Song of Solomon where they’re used as a metaphor for Solomon’s good looks (see references here).

The use of the word “minaret” also intreagued me, fairly obviously referencing the arcitecture of a mosque. Why there are unholy clouds reflecting in the minaret is beyond me at this moment, though it’ll probably come to me at some later listen through the song.

It’s an interesting way to close the album. It’s got a whole bunch of really good insteresting ideas, but I have no idea how they all tie together. I’m going to guess that it’s someone struggling with what seems like God allowing bad things to happen in this world, but I’m still not entirely sure how that fits in with everything in this song. It’s a great way to close the album though, makes me want to go back and listen to it all over again…