U2: “Like a Song…”
Honestly, I thought I’d be posting more frequently while in Ireland, but it’s been a week since my last post, my longest break ever. Sorry to those of you who have come to expect a little more regularity from me…
In any case, we spent a couple of days in Northern Ireland earlier this week, touring Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, and some other very cool parts. It included a brief stop in Derry, where we got a look at the Bogside neighborhood, where the “Bloody Sunday” massacre happened in 1972, later the inspiration for U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” on their 1983 album, War. Seeing that firsthand, as well as getting an even closer look at the now relatively peaceful but still tense areas of Belfast, made a pretty strong impression as to how terrifying things must have been there at the peak of The Troubles. And knowing that the members of U2 grew up in Ireland during the worst of that happening so near to them, the drama of their first few albums makes even more sense now. Bono’s stridency on those albums seems less a matter of self-importance (as many have accused him of) and more a matter of urgency. Of course, the “self-importance” part is probably more appropriate to Bono as his fame grew.
But I’ve never been one to deride Bono too much — U2’s music, particularly up through and including Achtung Baby, was simply too good for me to dislike him for his personality. Sure, he’s been known to be a blowhard, but he also had an important message that he was trying to get across, so he can be given a pass. And his message is clear in today’s song, “Like a Song…,” from War:
And we love to wear a badge, a uniform
And we love to fly a flag
But I won’t
Let others live in hell
As we divide against each other
And we fight amongst ourselves
And in addition to the strong message, the song is one of U2’s best straight-ahead rockers, done before the Edge was as heavily into the atmospherics and guitar textures. As a whole, the band charges ahead with passion, making “Like a Song” one of the best songs, and probably my favorite, on an already great album.
As I finish this post, I see today’s headlines of new clashes in Belfast due to the annual July 12th “Orange Order” march; so “Like a Song” seems an even more appropriate Reselection for today…