The Troubles – U2

U2 - The Troubles

I would love to be able to post the full audio here but unfortunately I have not found one. Please feel free to check out this short clip of the song as reference (and if you find a full version of the song I can share please post in comments).

Listen here.

This is easily my favourite song on the new album Songs of Innocence and the closing track for the album. Lykke Li provides partnering vocals to Bono and that is something that I think was long overdue. Her voice is a perfect foil for Bono’s and it really adds some energy.

Lykke Li

Lyrics here, more below:
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till someone else was in control

You think it’s easier
To put your finger on the trouble
When the trouble is you
And you think it’s easier
To know your own tricks
Well it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do

I have a will for survival
So you can hurt me and then hurt me some more
I can live with denial
But you’re not my troubles anymore

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till somebody else was in control

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till someone else was in control

You think it’s easier
To give up on the trouble
If the trouble is destroying you
You think it’s easier
But before you threw me a rope
It was the one thing I could hold on to

I have a will for survival
So you can hurt me then hurt me some more
I can live with denial
But you’re not my troubles anymore

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till somebody else was in control

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till somebody else was in control

God knows it’s not easy
Taking on the shape of someone else’s pain
God now you can see me
I’m naked and I’m not afraid
My body’s sacred and I’m not ashamed

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till somebody else was in control

Somebody stepped inside your soul
Somebody stepped inside your soul
Little by little they robbed and stole
Till someone else was in control

I love that they took a topic that is so associated with the band (those Irish Troubles) and turned the tables. For me there’s two aspects to this song and it is a very common U2 theme they often try to hide or massage. The song starts of dealing with a controlling relationship. By the end I’m left wondering if the relationship is with God. “Somebody stepped inside your soul”. “I can live with denial”. “Until you threw me a rope”. And of course the last non-chorus verse.

Whether feeling controlled, having doubts and then being thrown a rope by the very thing you’ve been fighting and that saves is how this song feels to me. The layers are important and part of why I think is such a good song.

U2 Songs of Innocence

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When A Giveaway Is Not A Giveaway?

U2 Songs of Innocence

“You’ll have noticed the album is free to U2.com’ers from the band. It’s also free to everyone on iTunes thanks to Apple. To celebrate the ten year anniversary of our iPod commercial, they bought it as a gift to give to all their music customers. Free, but paid for. Because if no-one’s paying anything for it, we’re not sure “free” music is really that free. It usually comes at a cost to the art form and the artist… which has big implications, not for us in U2, but for future musicians and their music… all the songs that have yet to be written by the talents of the future… who need to make a living to write them.” – Bono

The above quote came from a letter posted on u2.com. Call me annoyed. Call me jaded. When the richest band in the world can’t give away music themselves, I get upset. You may ask me why.

To be clear, what happened with Songs of Innocence is not a new business model. It is not a new marketing strategy that new bands can follow. It is not attempt to change the game. It is simply a brilliant marketing maneuver by two of the biggest music corporations on Earth. And yes, U2 is a corporate dynasty.

For clarity, I am a U2 fan. The new album is impressive though will not take the world by storm except for the fact that anyone with an Apple device can listen to it. This will neither help nor hurt their legacy. The follow up album, Songs of Experience, will tell the tale whether U2 exits (and consider there could be a third album – the long rumoured Songs of Ascent) band life on top or just trying too hard to be relevant.

What irks me is that U2 could not find it in themselves to give away the album to their fans themselves. They HAD to be paid. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be paid but let’s face a fact here. U2 will get more credit for the free album giveaway because their name is on it. Most people won’t pay enough attention to realize Apple is giving it away.

U2 made over $700 million on the last tour (U2 360). If there was a band on this planet that could afford it, it’s U2. But they just couldn’t do it. Incredible marketing ploy? Sure.

That need to get paid gives all the appearances of a certain self-righteousness. They have earned their millions. I do not deny them their success. They have homes in places like the south of France, Manhattan, Malibu. They hang out with stars. They hang out with power players. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Bono hanging out with the poor. Has he forgotten the humble beginnings? He may write about them, but does he remember the real struggles? Maybe he has, maybe he hasn’t. I don’t really know. Appearances tell me perhaps he has. I wonder if Larry is really the one who feels that need to be paid. Or is it all of them?

From my perspective either charge for the album or don’t. This idea that you getting paid because someone else was willing to give it out free is somehow supporting the art and the art form is pretty ridiculous.

A business analyst on CTV news in Toronto was discussing it this morning. “The biggest giveaway in music history…perhaps the biggest sellout in music history”.

Curious who thinks I am an ass and if anyone agrees.

U2 Songs of Innocence

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U2 -Songs Of Innocence

U2 Songs of Innocence

Available for free if you are on iTunes.  Available elsewhere October 13, 2014 (Deluxe version will include acoustic versions of some songs plus 4 new tracks).

Track List:

The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)

Every Breaking Wave

California (There Is No End To Love)

Song For Someone

Iris (Hold Me Close)

Volcano

Raised By Wolves

Cedarwood Road

Sleep Like A Baby Tonight

This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now

The Troubles

 

To see my initial thoughts on each track, please go here!

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Lost Futures

Lost Futures 1

As I lay here
Pondering the earth
Lost in the universe
I can’t find my anchor

I look at it all and wonder
Wander in search of answers
And all I see is cancers
Killing us all

I want peace of mind
I want peace in my time
I want to know the future
Is something we can find
Not some stolen concept
From a corporate crime
Not the end
In some revelation line

I break
Not so much in tears
More like endless fears
At the insanity

When all I can see
Is the blindness of the manipulated
Irrational face of the uneducated
And the sureness of those who don’t know

I want peace of mind
I want peace in my time
I want to know the future
Is something we can find
Not some stolen concept
From a gospel crime
Not the end
In some desperation line

And now the pain
That comes from seeing truth
The lies that come from truce
All those wishful thinkers

And leaders here
Who don’t give a shit about you
Death is your only thing that you’re due
Where’s the humility live?

I want peace of mind
I want peace in my time
I want to know the future
Is something we can find
Not some stolen concept
From an illicit war crime
Not the end
In some preservation line

And now again I watch
Humanity has a place
In this destructive human’s race
Though no one wants to see

If we can rise above
All those petty virtues
To a road that we can all choose
My mind could finally rest

Lost Futures 2

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Could U2’s Album Be Called “Infinity”?

U2 Sirens

I’ve been have a field day playing around with the bits and pieces of the U2 news in recent weeks.  I am holding firm on my belief the album will be released November 4th (see this).

And this not official but pretty official looking teaser for Sirens contains some interesting details.

It may be real though u2.com has not posted it as I write this. Could be an awesome fake. The part that made me think it might be real was the “8” figure at the end.

Now “U2 8″ seems like bullshit but one never knows. The way it was put together made me wonder if the album might not be called “Infinity”. THAT title plays into my ongoing conspiracy theory that this will be end for U2. More on that if this turns out to be real. Perhaps the second album release during this coming tour (did I mention ongoing conspiracy theories?) will be called “Resurrection” or maybe “Omega”. Remember you heard it here first (notwithstanding my array of terribly wrong predictions!).

Oh! When I tried to go to u2infinity.com, I ended up on a Bing page. So? When I tried u2.infinity.com and infinityu2.com what did I get? Page requested not found. Hmmmm…..

U2 Sirens 2

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Where I Am Going

Where I Am Going
I marked the date on the calendar
Like it was a cross
Some form of endless remembrance
Of some piece of time I had lost

I walked to the door and it opened
Don’t recall if that was my fault
It seemed like principled idea
Now burning like a wound full of salt

The driver said this was place
This was where I had wanted to be
But when I stepped out there was nothing
Barren landscape I needed to flee

Words can escape
From my mouth
Or just me
And a dice roll might remind me
From whence it came
But where I am going
Might just be insane

Second turn to minutes
And hours turn to dust
Black water into oil
And gold into rust

My blood glows and glistens
Through my rice paper skin
As my fist slams into
My patronizing grin

Lest ye believe
That violent refrain
Red curled lips
My own disdain

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Do We Have A U2 Release Date?

U2 Album

Please check out my guest blog entry at Alan Cross’ Journal of Musical Things to see what I’ve discovered…

You can view my blog post here!

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