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Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-728

@U2, June 19, 2016
By: Ian Ryan


off the record, from @U2

It’s a pretty slow U2 news time, which is why I’m very glad that we’ve introduced a new column here at Atu2. Resident music theory expert Chris Endrinal kicked the “Theoretically Speaking” series off with one of my very favorite U2 songs, “Zooropa.” I’ve really enjoyed seeing the song’s rebirth on the past couple tours, albeit in very different versions and contexts. Chris does a superb job of taking the song apart musically and lyrically, then analyzing how the two components of the song work together, making the whole much bigger than the sum of its parts. If you haven’t read it yet, please do yourself a favor and see what he has to say. As much as U2 are analyzed for their emotional or personal qualities, it often feels like they get the short shrift when it comes to really exploring their playing styles and structures, and how they build their songs. Blah blah chiming guitar blah blah solid rhythm section blah blah arpeggio and all that. “Theoretically Speaking” is a welcome change.

By far my favorite bonus content of the Innocence + Experience concert movie release is the intermission video of Johnny Cash performing “The Wanderer.” I never saw the video at any of the “Innocence + Experience” shows I went to, and hadn’t seen it online before. Along with “Lemon” and the above-mentioned “Zooropa,” “The Wanderer” is one of the best arguments I can think of for Zooropa being U2’s lyrical high point. Getting to see the toxic yellow/green rain and lighting come down in the video as the viewer travels slowly along a path, with the uncanny valley specter of the aging Johnny Cash singing in front of the viewer, is about as perfect a video as I can think of for the song. I find it completely engrossing. 

Brazilian U2 fan and ONE volunteer Paulo Vetri is creating a collection of messages to send to U2 for the 40th anniversary of the members coming together as a band. He is requesting that entries be around 10 seconds long, have no audio except for your message (no background music, etc.), be in 16:9 aspect ratio, and include an English translation for subtitles if the message isn’t in English. If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, please email your message to paulovetri at gmail dot com.

It was really cool of U2 to turn their stage over to The Eagles Of Death Metal at the final Innocence + Experience Paris show to play “I Love You All The Time.” You could see how much it meant to EODM. One of the relief efforts after the Paris attacks was the release of a series of covers of “I Love You All The Time” by a variety of artists. My favorite is by former U2 opening act Florence + The Machine, performing with The Maccabees. It’s closer to a standard pop song than what Florence Welch normally writes/sings, and it’s my favorite vocal performance by her ever.  

(c) @U2/Ryan, 2016

Any opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of @U2 as a whole.

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