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April 25th, 2005

Song of The Day @ 03:21 pm

I'm currently feelin: content content
I'm currently hearin: U2, "With or Without You"

Today's selection is

"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!
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Date:April 25th, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC)
I didn't hear about your father but I'll still pray for you. I'm sorry to hear that happen. I hate being in the E.R. It makes me cry.
Moving on...

With or Without you is simple but when you're all alone and listening to it you can feel the pain hidden within his voice and you close your eyes and you feel like you're surrounded by nothing and all alone in the world and just cry. The guitar solo is simple yet so powerful. It truely holds a very great power within.
(Yes, I know. I'm weird)
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Date:April 26th, 2005 05:08 am (UTC)
I'm sorry about your father. I hope he gets better!

As for "With or Without You", god, what a classic song. I think it was one of the first songs I've ever heard by U2 and definitely one of my all time faves. I used to listen to that song on repeat so much that I thought my Joshua Tree and/or Best of CD would die. Bono's voice throughout the song is what makes the hair on the back of my neck stand- esp. if I listen to it through my headphones and I can really hear it...

It was actually awhile for me to find out that WoWY was on Friends. =P
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Date:April 26th, 2005 11:59 am (UTC)
This and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" are probably at the bottom of my favorite U2 songs. People argue that "Beautiful Day" and "Vertigo" are over-played. They haven't been over-played for 15+ years.
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Date:April 30th, 2005 01:26 am (UTC)

Amazing song, as if that needs pointing out. It's just one of those songs that's an instant classic from the moment you first hear it... it sounds so natural, as if it wrote itself, I can't imagine how you go about creating a song like that. Achingly beautiful, filled with passion and angst. Maybe not one of my favourite favourites, but definitely one of my favourites. *g*  I love the haunting intro and the way it gradually builds up to the climax you described, jumping up an octave every so often (although that makes it really difficult to sing, which can be frustrating!). It's so cleverly constructed that you don't notice how simple it is, lyrically... I remember reading the lyrics in the Joshua Tree booklet and feeling surprised at how little is actually there.

(Heh, I also remember watching a repeat of that Friends episode, back when I was in the initial stages of my U2 fandom. I was watching the TV with subtitles switched on at the time, so it said "U2: With Or Without You" when the song started. I recognised the song, but I'd never realised it was by U2, so I was all excited at realising my new favourite band were responsible for yet another great track!)

One of my favourite bits of the song is the soft falsetto ooohhhh, oo-oo-oo-ooh's that Bono does right near the end, before that guitar-strumming outro kicks in. I just think it sounds beautiful and it's such a constrast to the desperate wailings that come before it.

And whatever anyone else might say, the best live version EVER is without a doubt the one on the ZooTV Sydney video. MacPhisto takes the aforementioned passion and angst to a whole new level, it really feels like he's being torn apart and it's so incredibly heart-wrenching. Plus the way they build up to a second huge climax at the end is just brilliant. Sheer mind-blowing perfection (like everything else in that show).
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Date:April 30th, 2005 01:30 am (UTC)

The video for With Or Without You is cool, too.... I always get shivers down my spine at seeing Bono's scary eyes!!

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