Tag Archives: Bono

Bird Flying High, You Know How I Feel: Some Musings on Sonic Music

19 Sep

Has music ever made you feel high? I don’t mean high like at an Allman Brothers Band Concert or like Keith Richards before, during and after he fell out of that tree.  I’m talking about a feeling of lifting off and just soaring, free from all bonds imposed by gravity and without a care in the world.  Although U2 dreamed big like Michelangelo, Radiohead turned inward to paint tortured lyrics in the same way Van Gogh painted Starry Night and Coldplay merged them to produce an inward looking but still optimistic artist my knowledge of art history doesn’t cover. All three made music that just sounds big.  Turn the lights down, put on your big dj headphones, close your eyes and just lose yourself.

Just put on the previous clip and read on.  The slow opening synth chords move into the Edge’s guitar and the driving rhythm section which culminates into Bono‘s voice.  Like many other U2 songs, especially on the album The Joshua Tree, “Where the Streets Have No Name” makes a political and social message sound so damn cool by adding layers of synthesizers and the Edge’s unique talent for making his electric guitar more than just a guitar.  The rest of the album is just as good.  Throughout their career, U2 has changed their sound by combining elements of other genres, especially in the 90’s, but they can never be accused of dreaming small either in sound or in message.  Their early albums (The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum) capture these ideas at their finest, but checkout the following video for one of their later songs that is maybe not filled with overwhelming sound, but with overwhelming execution.

Upon writing this, I didn’t realize how much I could say in the introduction or about U2 so I decided that I’m going to do a second article about the other major bands I was going to talk about.  There is one band that I wasn’t sure if I would have the space to write about, but apparently now I do.  They are Explosions in the Sky.

If you’re one of those people that listen to music for the lyrics, then these guys are certainly not for you considering they have no vocalist or lyrics.  They do, however, convey emotion just as, if not even more powerful, through three guitars and a single drummer.  The following song, like most of their others, builds slowly and uses different effects operating on separate guitars that come together to surround the listener in a dome of sound.

Stuck in a Moment – And a Cover

26 Jul

I’m not the biggest U2 fan. I only like a few of their songs. This does not mean that I do not respect the work that Bono and the band does. Their philanthropic actions are praiseworthy and their musical contributions have been huge. But, like I just wrote, I only like a few of their songs. Out of this playlist that can fit on a standard CD (remember those), “Stuck in a Moment” has always held a special place above the rest. Perhaps it is because when I first heard the song at 14 years old I was maturing and the song’s catchy inspiration latched on like a fly to a light. I was hooked. I remember burning the track on a CD (wow I am really dating myself even though the days I speak of were only a few years ago) and listening to it on repeat. There was just something to the song.

Bono imagined “Stuck in a Moment” as a conversation with his late friend Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS, who committed suicide. Bono never was able to talk to Hutchence and persuade him against the reckless act. “Stuck in a Moment” is candid and uplifting. The song preaches the message that life is full of moments that seem incorrigibly bad, but they are just simple moments that will pass. You need to “stand up straight” and “get yourself together.” There is nothing hokey to this passionate lyric. And, with every performance, the song becomes more and more powerful.

I was reminded of it when Bono and the Edge performed it acoustically on David Letterman recently. Watch it:

It is tough to match Bono’s intensity (even when he is sitting down). But I happen to like a cover that Kris Allen, of American Idol fame, does of the song. His version is sweeter and softer. What do you think?

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