Corpse (These Chains Are Way Too Long) from Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1
As an Edge girl I thought it was time I redressed the balance as my last choices seem to have been weighted more in Bono's favour. No more! It ends today! With a choice that I know is not necessarily going to prove a popular one, but alas, it's a price that must be paid.
Corpse, for me, like Passengers in general I guess, is a song you either love or hate. It might take a while to even decide because it is so weird but it's the weirdness that I have found provokes extreme reactions in people. I happen to love Passengers and this is a track I particularly enjoy, so let me explain my reasons.
As I said, I love Passengers. I love the concept and the execution. There are stronger tracks than others but the majority I really think are interesting and worth pursuing if at first you find yourself wondering, "EH?!" I'll admit it took me a few proper listens to start getting anything out of the album but Corpse was one of the first that intrigued me and I listened to over and over.
For a start there's the odd title. This is clearly not a happy song by any means, but happy songs are merely sad songs with pretty paper. ;) It's matched by strange music, with Edge's guitar and some weird industrial clanking sounds in the background, all of which repeats and slows down in a funny sort of rhythm. It's not particularly melodic, which works brilliantly, and this all makes me wish there were proper sleeve notes in the CD telling us who did what on each song because I'd like to find out just how much of this is Edge himself. He has some fascinating ideas that work well in the context of Passengers. The echo of despondency, of hopelessness, is clear in the music and it accurately reflects the theme and to tne of the song overall. The saxophone that joins in, too, adds an extra note of melancholy and wistfulness in the way only a sax can do.
Then there's the fact that Edge sings. Yes, Evans-fans, the man gets to sing! And it's a beautiful vocal, too, in fact I would say it's maybe his best. The falsetto, the sadness, the aching in his voice as he recounts the lyrics, can't really be beaten. I'm glad Edge sang it rather than Bono, because quite apart from it being a pleasant change, Edge brings something different to the song. Bono's voice is so instantly recognisable that to put him into a song about losing identity (I'll get onto that in a minute!) would just defeat the purpose. Edge, on the other hand, isn't heard singing all that often and his anonymity gives the song an extra depth that it might have otherwise lacked.
Now, the lyrics. It's quite hard to make out exactly what Edge is singing. I had to refer to u2wanderer.org for their full interpretation in case I was getting it all wrong, but it's obvious that he's singing about being trapped by chains, more specifically his chains being too long. Bono says in Into The Heart:
"I love the idea behind that... Most blues are about the chains that bind people but this is the opposite. This is a complaint that the chains are too long."
When I read that, I was just hooked on the whole meaning of the song. Added to that was Edge's take on the subject, also in Into The Heart:
"It has struck me for a while that constraint, whatever form they take, are really important. I often feel that it's a sad and lonely place to be, when you see someone who's gone beyond constraints."
Edge decided to think himself into the part of maybe someone on Death Row or just someone who's gone too far and wishes they'd had shorter chains to keep them sane and on the straight and narrow. If people in society can't accept the boundaries imposed on them for their own good, then they end up in all sorts of awful situations and maybe a lot of them wish they hadn't even had the opportunity to mess up. If you've ever read 'Lord of the Flies', it's that kind of vibe I get from it as well. I don't know if I'm the only one who finds that idea really interesting and I also love the way Edge has turned the idea into "a different kind of blues" - the polar opposite to all those songs about freedom. Perhaps, he's adopting a persona of the anti-Bono in that respect - for this song at least.
So to me, the song isn't a pointless, bizarre project. It's something genuine with real empathy, depth and an issue to resonate with us all. It shouldn't be surprising that members of U2 come up with this sort of stuff, because they do it all the time, but sometimes it's the less conventional that hits home the hardest. ;)
Hey, see you soon
Sail through your room
I'll meet you there
Hey, be my friend
Stay 'til the end
Don't walk away
Hey, hey, hey-hey
Hey, take them off
Don't talk that way
Don't hear my lover say
Hey, hey, hey
Chains move that thing
Chains we don't see
My chain's way too long
Chains move that thing
Chains we don't see
(The) chains are way too long
And hear my song
Hear my song
It's uploaded to YSI - if anyone wants to then upload to gmail you're welcome to help me out, otherwise give me a wee while. :)
It was another essay, sorry! I had fun, though. ;) See you next week!