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October 5th, 2005

Song of the Day @ 03:08 pm

onebadkite:
I'm currently hearin: The Wanderer

Today, I present...

"The Wanderer" from Zooropa

I must admit, the first time I listened through Zooropa, nothing caught my attention.  It was background music, to a fault.  I do remember this song catching my ear, and then thinking something was broken when the alarm noise came on.  Those clever Irish folk.

I was going to wait on this one until the Johnny Cash bio-pic came out, but it's Zooropa week!  And I'm impatient.  It starts of with our loverly Adam, in a really cheap (purposefully) bass sound.  Then.... what's this? *enter zoostation's Bono OMG icon here* Johnny Cash!?  It makes it a really anachronistic track, leagues different from Lemon and Daddy's Gonna Pay...

But, it works still.  It's almost as if Zooropa becomes a story-telling album instead of a concept album.  At the end, we felt like we've wandered through this amazing world that is U2.  So clearly Bono couldn't sing this reflection of a song, we need an outside influence.  The Man in Black and Bono had been waiting to collaborate for years, and here came an opportunity, both in song and time and place.

Much love to Adam and his bass sound straight out of PacMan.  I also like the background vocals, which I assume is Bono and Edge, but it sounds like more than two people.  Could Larry be thrown in there?  Watch out, here comes the alarm...

The Wanderer

I went out walking through streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones, saw the skin and bones
Of a city without a soul
I went out walking under an atomic sky
Where the ground won't turn and the rain it burns
Like the tears when I said goodbye.

Yeah, I went with nothing, nothing but the thought of you.
I went wandering.

I went drifting through the capitals of tin
Where men can't walk or freely talk
And sons turn their fathers in.
I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit.
They say they want the kingdom
But they don't want God in it.

I went out riding down that old eight-lane
I passed a thousand signs looking for my own name.
I went with nothing but the thought you'd be there too,
Looking for you.

I went out there in search of experience
To taste and to touch and to feel as much
As a man can before he repents.

I went out searching, looking for one good man
A spirit who would not bend or break
Who would sit at his father's right hand.
I went out walking with a bible and a gun
The word of God lay heavy on my heart
I was sure I was the one.

Now Jesus, don't you wait up, Jesus I'll be home soon.
Yeah, I went out for the papers, told her I'd be back by noon.
Yeah, I left with nothing but the thought you'd be there too
Looking for you.

Yeah, I went with nothing, nothing but the thought of you.
I went wandering.

Fave Lyrics: Probably the opening lines for the "OMG Johnny Cash" moment.

 
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Comments

 
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From:scaryrich
Date:October 5th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
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my least favourite song on the album
From:onebadkite
Date:October 5th, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC)
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... not gonna tell us why?
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From:scaryrich
Date:October 5th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
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shoot me down in flames, but i dont like johnny cash's voice!

From:onebadkite
Date:October 5th, 2005 07:54 pm (UTC)
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LOL I wouldn't do such a thing. Shooting with cannons is more my style. I just prefer discussion to statements. :-) Now I know!
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From:sirensong984
Date:October 5th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC)
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my zooropa booklet, the wanderer page to be specific, is autographed by johnny cash. he came into my mother's eye facility a few years back (before he died obviously) and i got to meet him and see one of his last performances with his wife at her family's Carter Fold.

i.love.this.song.
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From:indiansummersky
Date:October 5th, 2005 08:03 pm (UTC)
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That's awesome. I regret having never been able to see him play live, but I guess he was somewhat before my time.

And I agree with the love sentiment. It took me a while, but I can't imagine Zooropa without it now.
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From:zoostation
Date:October 5th, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC)
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I don't like this song much either. It feels misplaced. I don't know.

But thanks for the icon shoutout!
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From:wydok
Date:October 5th, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
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I wasn't very familiar with Johnny Cash before this song, but this song turned me on to his music.

I really dislike the warning alarm at the end, but besides that, it's a great song.
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From:canadanne
Date:October 5th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
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The Wanderer took a long time to grow on me (as with the album in general). I vividly remember an enormous sense of disappointment the first time I listened to it, realising the album was going to end with someone else's vocals instead of Bono's - it just seemed so wrong!  Plus it sounded completely out-of-place alongside the other tracks.

I like it now though, and obviously it's hard to imagine the album ending with anything else. I found that the way to appreciate this song was to embrace the total cheese factor of it. It's *so* over-the-top and quirky (as you said, purposefully cheap-sounding), you have to smile!  I like the way the oh-so-serious vocals contrast with the tongue-in-cheek lyrics and the incredibly tacky instrumentation at the beginning. A tale of doom and desolation set to this cheerful bassline - it just glories in its own oddness. I can't help smirking every time I hear that "I went out there, in search of experience..." speech in the middle, it's so cheesy but he delivers it in an impressively undaunted and straight-faced manner. Total class!

Most smile-inducing lyrics: "I went out walking with a bible and a gun / The word of God lay heavy on my heart, I was sure I was the one". I also like "They say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it". And "I went with nothing but the thought you'd be there too" is such a sweet line.

Personal favourite moment of the song: what else?  Bono's falsetto at the end. :)  I will never tire of hearing that in songs. It's especially comforting in this case, like a little reassurance that he hasn't completely left the building!

I'm glad you mentioned the backing vocals, because I must say I've never particularly noticed them before. They're so subtle there in the background, while all your attention is focused on Johnny... but I was just listening to them through my headphones and they're really nice!  It does sound like mostly Edge.

I wonder if we'll ever get to hear Bono's version of this song. I'd like to hear it, although I doubt he managed to pull it off as convincingly as Johnny. :)  I bet I wasn't the only U2 fan who pulled out Zooropa and played track 10 when Johnny Cash died.

GAH, I just fell into the old trap of forgetting about the alarm sound. ;p
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From:tinamachina
Date:October 5th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
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On a semi-related note, from MSN:

"NEW YORK - In his 12 years in charge of booking musical guests on Conan O’Brien’s “Late Night,” Jim Pitt always listed U2 and Johnny Cash as the dream artists he’d tried but never succeeded in getting.

He lost his chance with the late Cash, but the U2 dream is coming true Thursday in a major way."

On another semi-related note, there is a Johnny Cash musical coming out on Broadway this month.
The link to the article: Ring of Fire

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From:tinamachina
Date:October 5th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and the song: Not my favorite, but God bless Johnny Cash.
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From:whatsername_31
Date:October 5th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
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I actually really like this song. I grew up listening to JOhnny CAsh, as my Dad adores him. I don't really get into all his music, but I think this bit as a whole is brilliant.
From:xxradiohead
Date:October 6th, 2005 12:33 am (UTC)
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I actually love this song.
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From:mmmmjournal
Date:October 6th, 2005 01:26 am (UTC)
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Wonderful song and, except for that damned alarm, a great way to end the album.
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From:luindilwen
Date:October 6th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
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I guess I'm kind of in the minority here, but I absolutely adored this song. It's one of the things that makes Zooropa a favourite for me; that and all the Eno-love. =)

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