Welcome to day/track 8 of the review of No Line on the Horizon. Check out the previous track posts or my intro post if you’re interested. Here goes:
Interesting double track. I’m again reminded a bit of Coldplay’s latest album where they’ve got a couple of tracks with two separate songs/ideas within one track. I guess it’s the new in thing to do?
The first one (I’m not sure sure if the title is supposed to be for both, so I’m going to assume that the hyphen is telling me to divide the title… therefore, the first one is FEZ) is an interesting musical interlude. I feel a bit like it should be in a James Bond video game. The modulation thing with the synth half way through is really cool. There’s also some cool panning with the “let me in the sound” thing that is borrowed from Get on Your Boots. I like it, it’s nice to have a bit of an instrumental on the disc, but not have it waste a full track. I think that’s one of my pet peeves – bands putting on an instrumental track and then leaving the disc at 10 or 11 songs. Either way, 2 points to U2 for doing the instrumental right on this album.
Being Born probably has some of my favorite moments on the album. I love the intro, the driving snare/tom/kick pattern with the driving guitar and then the chiming lead line on the guitar and bell like synth. Very cool. At first, I really didn’t like where Bono came in with the “ohhhh… oohhhhhhhhh” thing. It sounds emotive, but a bit out of tune and didn’t sit quite right with such a tight and interesting intro. I’m warming up to it now, but I’m still not sure sometimes. The gang vocals on the second verse are nice, as with the instrumental section after it. The synth sounds that they use really remind me of any of the “Tubular Bells” albums that my dad used to play lots when I was a kid. Some good memories there actually… I should listen to those again. In fact, I’m doing it right now. Check it out on youtube, just type in tubular bells and see what you come up with. Who doesn’t like some guy telling you what instrument is coming in next?! (or the Exorcist theme song)
Lyrically, it’s an interesting song. There is no chorus, just two verses – or that’s what I’m going to call them. There is no lyrical hook, just musical ones.
I don’t know exactly what Bono’s trying to say, but it’s more of a story than most of the stuff he writes. He’s managed to communicate in relatively few lines someone rushing to catch a ferry on time (from Spain from what I have read on the Bay of Cadiz) to go home to Africa.
The second verse seems to be using enough good birth imagery that it could be talking about a real baby’s birth. I don’t think this is Bono’s story of a baby being born, though it might be. The “I’m being born” thing makes me think he’s reaching at something metaphorically through this birth image. There’s a picture of speeding down highways and being on airplane runways that comes into my mind whenever I hear these lyrics and no pictures of real birth. It feels to me like a strong sense of starting something new and life changing, but still being caught up in the speed and busyness of life. It resonates with me well – I feel like it’s something that happened not unexpectedly, but quickly enough that there’s not enough time to really react thoughtfully. That feels like life to me, and I think that’s one of the things I love about this song.