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September 25th, 2005

Song of the Day @ 02:25 pm

I'm currently feelin: busy
I'm currently hearin: Elvis Presley and America//U2

Sunday's Song of the Day is

Elvis Presley and America from The Unforgettable Fire.

The Unforgettable Fire is one of my most favorite U2 albums. It didn't used to be, though. I think it contains a lot of hidden gems, like this song for instance. I think a lot of songs (i.e. Bad, Pride, and A Sort of Homecoming) overshadowed some of the smaller, but equally powerful tunes. I figured out my love for this song one sleepless, and extremely stuffy/hot summer night.

Some have accused the song of being 'scattered' or 'seemingly unfinished', but I find this to be one of my favorites. When I play the "What songs would you have trouble imagining being nonexistent" game with myself, this is one of those songs.

The interesting part, to me at least, is the fact that Bono sounds a little distant...sometimes, even at a reasonable volume, I find it hard to hear Bono's vocals. You have to really concentrate, but once you do, you immediately fall in love with his vocals on this track.

Admittedly, the lyrics seem a bit scattered, but I think this is one of those rare songs where it seems okay to have scattered lyrics, but well-put-together accompanying music and vocal sound. I'm usually a lyrics fan, but this song doesn't bother me like others have. I can't put my finger on why I like this song, it seems to not have a lot of things going for it, but I do look forward to it on the album. There are songs that I dislike for the same reasons that I like this song...

What do you think? Let's discuss...

(Black flash)
Black flash over my own love
Tell me of my eyes
Black flash come though my own life
Telling these things
And I believe them
And I believe in you

White flash sees the sky
And it turns its side from you
She won't turn my back
And I know you turn so blue
And you know
And your sky is feeling blue
And your heart
So cold when I'm with you
And you feel
Like no one told you to
And your time is outside
And your time
Ah, don't talk to me
Ah, don't talk to me
Don't talk to me

You know
Like no one told you how
But you know
Though the king that has howled
But you feel like sentimental
But you don't care
If I just share it in your heart
(Heart, heart...)

So hopelessly
I'm breaking through for you and me
And you don't
Though no one told you to
And you found out
Where you were going, where to
You're through with me
But I know that you will be back
For more

And you know
And though no one told you so
And you know, blue sky
Like a harder shade of blue
And you walk
When you want
To let go
Me, I'm on the outside, tell me fade away
Drop me down but don't break me
In your sleep

In your sleep, inside
It's in your heart and mine
Whole sea is dark
It's in your heart and mine

Sweetly, those will come
Loving is on your side walking through
So let me in your heart
Your beat is like something...

They... run...
See say you're sad and reach by
So say you're sad above beside
Oh stay sad above beside
So stay sad above we said

You know I don't
No one told you how
(And you don't)
(And you wipe sweat off your white brow)
And you care
And no one told you tried
And your heart
Is left out from the side

And the rain beats down
And the shame goes down
And this rain keeps on coming down
And this sky

You know "S" "O" "N" "G", why
You're going go join to God
You know "S" "O" "N" "G", why
Give away some him no lie
Give away some my de day no

You know
And though no one told you sky
And you feel
Like you pretend you can
You say go, you live
Go live outside of me
Don't you leave
Don't leave out part of me
Then I can feel
Like I feel before
Like it hurt now
And I see the floor
If you pick me up
Bits and pieces on this floor
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[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 25th, 2005 07:30 pm (UTC)
I've heard so many discussions about this song, and while I can understand the reasons for liking it, I just can't like it. To me, it feels like it's an unfinished track, and shouldn't be on the album at all. If it was maybe a little shorter, and the vocals a little clearer, it would work better.

But as it stands, it's too long, too mumbled, and did I read somewhere that the backing drum track is just a slowed-down version of the drum track from another song on the album? A Sort of Homecoming, maybe? Maybe I'm remembering that wrong.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 25th, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC)

thanks :)

An understandable opinion! I like I said, I dislike a lot of songs for the same reasons, but this song I like. I dunno why.

And I remember hearing something similar, but I can't remember exactly what song. It may be in the Flanagan book, I will look.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 25th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC)

Re: thanks :)

I'm actually kind of surprised that I DON'T like it. In terms of mood, it almost works on the album. I keep waiting for it to grow on me, but everytime I listen to it, I end up getting impatient about halfway through and skipping to the next song on my iPod. *g*
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 25th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)

Re: thanks :)

i think that's what i was trying to convey. The lyrics are subpar, but the mood of the song appeals to me, forcing me to like it. I never liked it until I forced myself to put my ipod on hold and listen to WHATEVER came up.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 25th, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
no, you're right about the backing track. it's in Into the Heart.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 25th, 2005 08:41 pm (UTC)
they coined the term "Bongolese" because of this song... over the years people have speculated that he was singing in Algonquin, Gaelic, or Japanese... nope.. just Bono language.
People either love it or hate it. I'm squarely in the former category; as a stream-of-consciousness track it takes on a mystical, almost ceremonial air.

It also influenced other bands; Pearl Jam did the same thing a decade later with one of their own tracks.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 25th, 2005 11:38 pm (UTC)
Not my favorite song. I think only "The Ocean" ranks lower, actually. There is really nothing memorable about it. It's not bad, it's just not that great, compared to most U2 songs.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 26th, 2005 12:26 am (UTC)
I. Love. This. Song.

I was listening to it as I attempted to sleep last night.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 26th, 2005 12:29 am (UTC)
I just read your paragraph about the song and realized the coincidence of how you came to love this song, and how since the hurricane, with the power out and everything, this song has been stuck on repeat for me.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:October 1st, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
I don't dislike it, but yeah, this song does kind of let down what could otherwise have been a rather magnificent album. If it had been on one of those Salomé-style outtake collections, no doubt everyone would have thought it was a nice track with some potential... but to have made it onto the *final* version of an album? That has me scratching my head a little. I'm not sure what exactly it's doing there, in such an unfinished state. Especially with the length of it... almost six and a half minutes of nothing in particular? Weird!

Mostly I think it frustrates me because I love singing along with U2 songs, and I just can't sing along to this one because there aren't many proper lyrics to speak of. There's a limit to how much I can really get into a song when I'm forced to be totally passive in listening to it... it tends to become background music. I do, however, adore the way Bono sings that final "And you pick me up, bits and pieces on this... floo-ooor". It's such a lovely line, it makes me feel even sadder that the build-up is so meaningless!

That part that's been transcribed as "You say go, you live ... don't you leave", I always used to hear as "You say, oh Julia ... oh Julie". Once I looked up the lyrics, I realised it was indeed "Don't you leave", but the Julie version is totally burned into my brain now!  It still sounds more like "Julia" than "you live", too...

What any of the lyrics have to do with Elvis is anyone's guess!

It does lead quite nicely into MLK, I'll give it that.
Date:January 21st, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)
This is without a doubt one of my favorite U2 songs off of my absolute favorite U2 album. For me, it works. The drumbeat (even if it is just a borrowed beat), the simple guitar work, the stream-of-conciousness lyrics, the subdued vocals. It's one of those songs that just gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it.

Little side note: I wonder if they'll ever play this live. Probably not.
Date:January 21st, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
Listening to it just now, it almost sounds improvised.

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