"For a lot of bands it seems to be all important to get their single into the Top Ten. I guess we've always felt ourselves to be more of an albums band anyway."
U2 Lists: Top 5 Sexiest U2 Songs
September 15, 2010
[Ed. note: This is the 21st in a "U2 Lists" series, where @U2 staffers pick a topic and share their personal rankings on something U2-related.]
I'm sorry, but you won't find any songs from the 1980s on this list. There was always passion and urgency in U2's music, but back then, the songs were meant to be a communal experience as the band tried to reach as many people as possible. They were in spiritual-mode, but there were hints that the sensual lurked just beneath the surface, like the nakedness of Bono's pleading in "Drowning Man" and the sexual tension behind "Desire," "Luminous Times," and other songs from The Joshua Tree recordings.
In the 1990s, U2 found their mojo. What else could explain how an earnest, somewhat awkward group of boys turned into a pack of leather-clad jetsetters in porn 'staches and sunglasses who hung out with supermodels? It came in the form of a cover song, Cole Porter's "Night and Day." It was Bono's first proper torch song and gave him a new perspective on writing and singing lyrics. He turned inward and toned it down, as the other band members discovered industrial, house and euro-trash disco music. It was a heady combination that fit them like a tight leather glove, and it sure looked good.
5. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
What girl could resist a mysterious man in black leather, his face partially obscured, a full range of ingenious tools under his command and at the ready? Of course you're not shy, you don't have to deny it; you need saving and he's only here to help. Batman or Bono? Does it matter? Listen for a private moment made very public by our hero on the original Batman Forever Soundtrack version, starting at about the 4:00 mark. Unfortunately, you don't hear it on this version.
4. Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car
Sugar Daddy: noun 1. A wealthy middle-aged or older man who spends freely on a young person in return for companionship or intimacy.
As the song announces itself with a fanfare, you know to grab onto something before it spirals into a twisted mess of industrial chaos. Adam's bass sounds sinister and inviting, a smooth operator clearing the way. No matter what kind of relationship, we've all been in situations where exhilaration has trumped common sense (when you see Daddy coming, you're licking your lip), as well as that sickening feeling of nervous anticipation (nails bitten down to the quick). You know what you like and Daddy knows what to do. It's a match made in heaven. Or hell. Crash and burn? He'll give you the keys! Here's Bono as the ultimate Sugar Daddy.
3. Do You Feel Loved
This is one of my favorite crowded-disco, hip-gyrating, sweaty, down-and-dirty dance songs. Bono snarls through some of his most provocative lyrics, practically daring you to strip him:
You got my shoelaces undone
Don't mind if I do, and don't mind if I do. And this:
Love is coming, pushing and shoving
Whew! He doesn't leave much to the imagination, does he? Uh-huh, sha-la!
2. Mysterious Ways
Between the cynicism of "The Fly" and the measured relief of "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)," this song strikes just the right chord of jubilation, reverence, and sassiness. It struts and boogies to a funky backbeat, especially Adam's groovy Seventies-style bass line. If this song doesn't make you want to shake what your mama gave you, then nothing will. On your knees, boy!
1. If You Wear That Velvet Dress
This is Bono's ode to the torch song, an anti-anthem, if you will. There's only one way to listen to this song: Go into your room. Lock the door. Turn off the lights. Put on your headphones and let the scene unfold in your mind.
She's walking down a long dark hallway, the sound of her heels muffled by a worn, colorless carpet. A sliver of light from a door ajar stabs the tips of her toes as she takes a deep breath and crosses the threshold. I want to sink in.
The room is the color of smoke, the moon flirting with the clouds in an open window. His voice is wrecked from just one more scotch and cigarette, the heat of his words lingering on her neck as he beckons her further ... yeah, I'm feeling seasick again, the world could just dissolve into a glass of water.
They move closer in a tango of missed opportunity and regret, his hand at her hip, caressing, not her but the dress, smoothing the grooves between his fingertips. She's shivering. Does it feel good? Sure it's okay 'cause I dance with you.
They saunter off into the darkness, past the tuxedo jacket crumpled on the floor, the untouched martini glasses, and we are left to our own devices because tonight the moon has drawn its curtains. It's a private show, no one else going to know I'm wanting ...
© @U2/Maione, 2010.