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October 25th, 2005

Song of the Day @ 10:53 am

onebadkite:
I'm currently hearin: MLK

Today's song...

"MLK" from The Unforgettable Fire

I remember watching one of those numerous countdown shows on music television, and this particular one was counting down the 22 greatest live performers.  Don't ask me why 22.  I remember U2 placing fourth.  Anyway, one of the 'talking heads' said that U2 made them want to learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr.  A comment I found odd at the time.

A ha, a clue, Sherlock!  I eventually found out why.  I love the peacefulness of this song, which comes from its lack of instrumentation.  It's simply Bono, and some chords provided by... I'm guessing an organ or a synth.  It was ending yet another album on a peaceful note, a trend that was soon to change.  Just like War before it (40), and how October was supposed to end (Scarlet), a hopeful song of reconciliation. 
It's simplicity is meant to help it be sung in communion.  Whether used in peaceful protest, or to end U2 concerts (like '40'), I don't know.  But one can almost imagine this song ending a concert, leaving the audience singing "Let it rain, rain on he."


MLK
Sleep, sleep tonight
And may your dreams be realised.
If the thunder cloud passes rain
So let it rain, rain down on he.
So let it be.
So let it be.

Sleep, sleep tonight
And may your dreams be realised.
If the thunder cloud passes rain
So let it rain, let it rain
Rain down on he.

 
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Comments

 
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From:davefilkins
Date:October 25th, 2005 03:07 pm (UTC)
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My favorite thing about this song is how it blends VERY well into "Streets" if you play it right afterward... =) And the two songs go quite well together, I think. What beautiful lyrics, too. A phenomenal song, short as it may be...
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From:thanks4thefish
Date:October 25th, 2005 03:33 pm (UTC)
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I was just about to point that out! I noticed that a few years back. It's so funny because I remember thinking that, in live shows, Streets always has a great lead in, something that segues into it perfectly, but it doesn't have that on the album, because it's the first song. Then I noticed that connection. The tone where MLK ends and Streets begins is perfect. Such symmetry.
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From:claudiathefish
Date:October 25th, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC)
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I was just about to point that out also! I love how the two songs blend together; the last and first songs of the two albums that lie next to each other in terms of continuity. I almost wonder if they did it on purpose, or if it just happened.
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From:thegoal_issoul
Date:October 25th, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC)
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in my opinion, one of the most beautiful songs out there. amazing lyrics, only complaint I have is that I wish it was longer...but then again that might take away from the beauty of it.

a very powerful song indeed.
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From:thanks4thefish
Date:October 25th, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC)
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How very appropriate on a day when we're mourning the woman who inspired the civil right's movement.

This song is wonderful. I wish they still threw it in to their shows once in a while. Hell, since it's such a great lead in to Streets, throw in a verse between Pride and Streets on this tour. I mean, Pride and MLK are about the same thing, and the tonal connection with streets...could there be a more perfect bridge between the two?
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From:rockstarsex
Date:October 25th, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC)
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I never listen to the album version of this song. But I think the Rattle & Hum version is to DIE FOR.
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From:specialcamper
Date:October 25th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
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This song used to make me cry like a baby. It probably still does, I just haven't listen to it in a while.
I started playing it on my bass clarinet one day while warming in band a while ago and everyone got really quiet to listen. When I was done, I noticed everyone was staring at me and got really embarrased. It was the last time I played any song dring warm up!
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From:whatsername_31
Date:October 25th, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
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It makes me cry at times too...so I understand.

Wow, you can play it on clarinet? I bet that sounds really pretty actually, with the tone of that particular instrument!
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From:drive_away18
Date:October 25th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
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I love this song...was it werid that all day today I was wirting the lyrics to this song every period of class?


but yeah...i love it
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From:wydok
Date:October 25th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
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Its a wonderful song for eulogy. And I noticed that it blends into Streets wonderfully as well. :)
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From:whatsername_31
Date:October 25th, 2005 11:07 pm (UTC)
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I actually was listening to this last night, and singing it in the shower this morning. It is such a peaceful, beautful song. At times I get chocked up listening to it, because of it's purity adn simplicity.
From:sabneraznik
Date:October 26th, 2005 04:20 am (UTC)
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God, I so love this song. The first time I heard it I leaned back against the speaker and let it envelope me. I had brought my new CD over to a friends house and I made her listen to it over and over. When little sis was born this was one of the songs I used to sing her to sleep with, along with Van Diemen's Land, etc. She still says it's her song, despite claiming not to like U2. I still sing it in moments when the world seems blackest, and it's so sootheing.
So let it be.
So let it be.
And the humming in between and the deep register of realised. mmmmmmmm.... *licks lips*
Have I said enough? LOL
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From:canadanne
Date:October 29th, 2005 12:53 am (UTC)

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I'm having trouble remembering whether I first heard this song on the Unforgettable Fire album or the live version on the Rattle & Hum video. Either way, I know I had shivers down my spine from the very first moment. Both versions are stunning. (I haven't watched the film in ages, but IIRC Bono is bathed in blue light and smoke when he sings it, which enhances the mood perfectly.)

I think everyone's already described the song pretty well. It's just amazingly beautiful, peaceful, pure... it's so atmospheric, without any guitars or drums or anything. It's like the song of an angel. What makes it wonderful is Bono's utterly flawless performance - his vocals are so clear and tender. What really struck me the first time I bought the album was how carefully he pronounced each word - you can really hear the "t" sound at the end of "tonight" and the "d" at the end of "realised". He's not just reciting the lines, he's pouring love into every single syllable. He never misses a note or sings out of time. Which means that even though the song is rather short, it makes a *huge* emotional impact.

I was so awestruck by the album in general, but especially this song, that I couldn't wait to take it into school the next day and play it to my best friend. :)  I recall it vividly, we were sitting in the music room at the time. It's funny how moments like that stick with you.

The lyrics are incredibly moving in their simplicity. What better tribute to MLK can there be, than "Sleep, sleep tonight / And may your dreams be realised"?  It chokes me up a little, just thinking about the significance of that line.

The melody is beautiful too. It's lovely to sing, not that I could ever do it justice like Bono does.

I love that slow build-up, like the sonic equivalent of a warm glow, and how it fades out the same way. I've never tried (or even thought of) blending it into Streets, but I can well imagine it would make for a gorgeous transition. I don't reckon they've done that on purpose, given that they weren't even responsible for choosing the track order on The Joshua Tree, but it's one of those amazing things that's so perfect it seems like part of some grand masterplan... U2's whole career has been rather like that, and that's why they're the most inspiring band in the world.

Some favourite bits (though the entire song is sublime) - the "Mmm mmm mmm... so let it be" lines; the key change on the penultimate "let it rain"; and the gentle conclusion of Bono's heartfelt prayer.

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