"With or Without You" from The Joshua Tree (1987)
Thoughts: There was a previous post about a British magazine naming "With or Without You" as one of the Top Ten Favorite Funeral Songs or something. I don't necessarily agree with that assessment of such a brilliant song because it is one of those songs that has multiple interpretations on a lot of topics: death, love, relationships, breakups, life, friendship, human connection, loss, children. And I suppose that adds to the timeless quality of the song. I know it's a little clichéd, but my first exposure to the song was when the genuises behind Friends decided to make it the poster song for Ross and Rachel's tumultuous relationship during the early seasons of the show. Because of this, I tend to view this song as romantic in nature more than its darker interpretations.
I personally love how the song builds from this slow, dark, intense simmering as Bono progresses through the first verses and chorus. The moody beginning is mirrored in somewhat painful lyrics, as if the band was just recovering from a collective punch to the gut. There's no hint or expectation of the song actually building up to a sort of agonizing scream that is given in the last minute and a half of the song (after Bono sings an impassioned "Ohhhh" and the guitar kicks in). It works to convey a sort of desperate feeling towards whomever he's singing to, as if a part of his soul has been ripped away and left bare. And the chorus seems to then soar into higher and higher places before the song enters the denouement and goes back down to the catchy, flowing instrumentation that bookmarks the end of the song. The perfect method on how to construct a song and how a song flows effortlessly is at the core of "With or Without You".
On a separate note: Dad got seven stitches for a cut on his forehead. He's resting comfortably now and should have them removed on Friday. The ER wait was torturous, but we knew what was coming ahead of time. Thank you to the people who offered their hopes and prayers. You guys are the best!