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January 26th, 2006

SOTD @ 10:26 pm

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Date:January 28th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC)
Hmm... I think this review has the potential to be as epic as the one I just wrote for Stateless. *g*  But I hope not, as I was intending to get a bit of sleep at some point...

I'm gonna start by reviewing Roy Orbison's version, as that's the definitive one, and Bono & Edge wrote it for him in the first place so I guess this is how it's "supposed" to sound. It's also my favourite, as I mentioned before. :)

I totally agree with what you wrote about the Big O's voice being perfectly suited to the mood of the song, it's so rich and emotive. And he had such an incredible range, so he absolutely nails those long falsetto notes towards the end - it raises the hairs on my neck every time. Definitely my favourite part of the song. He really was one of the best singers of all time, IMHO... it's sad that he's no longer around, but at least his spirit lives on in amazing songs like this.

The music is just so... majestic, there's a seemingly effortless beauty to it. Right from the intro with the soft thumping of the drums, you know it's going to be something special. And when the piano comes in, mmm, what a gorgeous combination of sounds. It's so melodic, and I adore the way it all seems to build up into this glorious crescendo towards the end... wow, it just leaves me with goosebumps all over. Magical.

Lyrically, it's completely stunning. Has to be up there with Bono's finest lyrics of any song - the use of metaphor (especially on a nighttime and heaven/hell theme) just melts me from the inside out, it's so beautifully poetic. I don't think I can even pick out favourite lines because *every* line is solid gold. The rhyming is so skilfully done as well, it all flows wonderfully and nothing sounds forced. And of course "But if my love is blind, then I don't want to see" is rather familiar... this song does have the same hauntingly aching quality as Love Is Blindness, which I also adore.

That's a great quote you dug up about why the song works equally well when performed by either artist. Bono's voice is also ideal for this song, he has the same kind of warm but brooding tones. U2's renditions tend not to be as musically cohesive as the Orbison version, though, IMHO. The Brooklyn Bridge performance is nice enough (especially as a spur of the moment bonus song), but the song doesn't feel quite as heartwrenching when it's stripped down to the bare essentials. And sadly, Bono was obviously struggling with his voice a wee bit on that particular day, so he barely manages to hit the high notes and can't hold them. I found myself wincing slightly when I listened to it on the All Because Of You single... it's understandable that Bono will forget lyrics and falter with his vocals sometimes, but I'm surprised they choose to release such flawed performances on official CDs. Still, he got further with it this time than he did with the impromptu performance on Radio 1 a few years back, IIRC (I can't be arsed to go and dig out my cassette tape of that one!).

The Dublin performance from 1989 is much better in that respect, as obviously Bono's voice was in considerably better shape back then, so he could really do the song justice. Falsetto notes and all. Again though, musically it's not a patch on Roy's version - they play it way too fast, the instrumental break feels a bit directionless, and I'm not sure the brass backing is entirely appropriate for such a delicate song. Ah well, it's still fun to hear them perform this song at all - they're obviously proud of it (and rightly so), even though it's not technically a U2 song. I agree that it would be nice if U2 would record their own lush studio version. :)

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