This is a great song. Lyrically, musically, I just love it.
Musically, I think the intro does a great job of both exciting you and letting you know what’s coming in the song. The moment when the drums and acoustic come in gets me every time – THAT’S one of the best ways to use acoustic guitar… as a shaker with a bit of tonality. It’s the first time I’ve heard acoustic on the disc so far (though I may have missed it somewhere in the last 4) and I think that U2 knows when to use an acoustic guitar. It’s always a good sign.
Nice catchy melody through the verses with a touch of falcetto which is fun. The guitar part is reminiscent of the Edge’s older stuff, which is again a win in my books. I’m really enjoying the drums in this song… it’s an interesting pattern with enough fills to keep it interesting, but it still sits as the backbone of the band instead of coming too far forward like so many drummers like to do. The chorus is also good, and the gang vocals on the hook/title help it feel like you’ve arrived at the punch line really well. The keys throughout the song as well as the cello (synth I think) in the bridge are also fun and, while not entirely outside of the normal for U2, they add a nice flavour to the song. This is a really well crafted and produced song, one of the poppier ones on the disc, but I think this could definitely be a single at some point.
Lyrically I feel like I’m getting this song faster than the last few, but it’s got some really great ways of saying what it’s trying to say. It’s all about change and how it takes time and persistance (“a change of heart comes slow”), and how sometimes when on the journey as an advocate to bring about change, sometimes you need to go crazy, or at least appear that way. “The right to be ridiculious is something I hold dear.”
Somehow Bono’s written a song that deals with something that is absolutely universal – change. How do we react to it? It always feels like it’s a mountain when starting to climb, and it’s ok to be frusturated and to go crazy to keep your sanity. Who hasn’t thought stuff like “Every beauty needs to go out with an idiot” (to learn her lesson)?
I also really like the biblical allusions in this song. The obvious one is “perfect love drives out all fear”, though I like the questioning approach that Bono takes. We may know it to be true, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel true sometimes. The other line that resonates really well with me is “Listen for me, I’ll be shouting / Shouting to the darkness / Squeeze out sparks of light.” I think that’s biblical as well, though it’s certainly not imagery only found in the bible or embraced by those who embrace Christianity. I love the light and dark imagery, and I think Bono picks up on something here (and in his life) that so many Christians (and other people with different beliefs) miss.
Darkness is a problem, or at least darkness is used as an illustration to refer to a problem. Light is the answer, metaphorically. So often people try to ‘shovel out’ darkness without realizing that that’s what light does. The proper response to evil isn’t condemning evil, but bringing good. Darkness can’t exsist if there’s light, and getting rid of darkness without replacing it with light does nothing. Not a perfect metaphor to be sure, but one that resonates well with me, as does this whole song!