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March 16th, 2006

SOTD @ 10:34 pm

bonoffee:
Today's fangirly ramble Song of the Day is...

Lady With The Spinning Head (UV1 Version) from the One single

I was sad to realise the Extended Dance Mix of this song had already been SOTDd, because it really is one of my favourite U2 songs ever, being as it is totally uplifting and amazing. I used to think if it wasn't Extended Dance, it just wasn't worth it. And then, in January I went crazy in the second-hand record shop in town and got the One single on vinyl, got it home, and was once again blown away not just by One but by this track, the UV1 version of Lady With The Spinning Head. Instead of viewing it as a shorter, inferior
version of the Extended Dance Mix, I saw it for what it was itself - four minutes of 90s U2 brilliance. It's perfect for when you're on the bus and you really, really have a craving for LWTSH but oh no, there's only five minutes before your stop and you don't have time for the Extended Mix... You put on this one and it works! And that means I actually do get to bang on about this song after all, so yay.Now, you may or may not know that I am a complete and utter 90s U2 whore/nut/crazy person (although God knows I make it obvious enough). I LOVE that era and my fave album of all time is Achtung Baby. And my 2nd fave U2 song, if you pushed me, is The Fly. So how great is a song like LWTSH which not only encompasses everything that's fantastic about 90s U2 but has The Fly in it as well! Honestly, it causes funny reactions in me like the word squee and the letter O and maybe you can tell but I am listening to it right now. Guh.

So do I have to convince you that it's a great song? Even if I don't I'm going to ramble. :D

The song is so sexy it should be illegal. Firstly, you have that to-die-for The Fly riff that creeps in towards the end and just makes you want to do naughty things to Edge, and before THAT there is all the other dancey happy goodness that makes LWTSH a brilliant song for getting ready to go out to, for putting on when you get in and are still on a high, for getting you on a high when you feel all 'meh' and life seems boring and annoying. It should maybe be prescribed on the NHS except then it'd lose its specialness. But on the other hand when someone asks you why you are so high and they say "are you on some sort of drug?" you could say "no, just Lady With The Spinning Head!"

And if that wasn't enough, you have the lyrics! What else do you want if you've got Bono singing about 6 and 9? He gets away with it, too, particularly because on the first few listens the music is so addictive that you're not paying too close attention to the words except to perhaps wonder why the lady has a spinning head. But when people like me who are not of purest mind actually listen, and find he's referencing a certain sexual position, it just elevates the song even more. Then you can stick it on in the kitchen in front of your mum, sing along without offending her but know deep down with a smile on your face that Bono means something baaaad. Which can't be anything but good, in my book. And if you have the Bill Flanagan book you'll probably have read the bit when Bill mentions the '6 and 9' reference to Bono and Bono says something about it being the most equal sexual position. Which again brings us back to the idea of the way woman are elevated in U2 songs (most of the time) - in this case Bono is elevating a woman by making her equal, because the typical male 'domination' is absent.

There are a few differences between this version and the God-like Extended Dance Mix (apart from it being sliiiightly less orgasmic). Of course it hasn't got the extended dance. Doh. There isn't that quiet-to-climax part that the Extended Mix has, but there are different lyrics lurking in there, which I find interesting, being of a lyrical persuasion. Although to be honest I had to check u2wanderer to find out what Bono was singing there because I've never quite heard it myself.


Mean old man
Took away my car
No credit down?
What're yatalkin' about?


instead of


I love that girl
She cure my blues
She's the one
In the travelling shoes


The changed lyrics in this version I find kind of cheekier and less 'worshipping' than the ones that replace them in Extended Mix, maybe more 'throwaway'...? But there's nothing really extensive enough about either to make a proper judgement. Neither is better or worse in my opinion as they're not the best lyrics in the song anyway but I'm always interested to know why things are changed like that.

Into The Heart has this to say:

"Achtung Baby had been such a difficult album to grind out that it was a surprise that the band had any energy left to do B-sides at all. 'Lady with the Spinning Head' was the original demo backing track that later spawned both 'The Fly' and 'Light My Way'. It's got a good groove courtesy of Larry's apparently carefree drum part and The Edge throws in a guitar-keyboard solo. The tracks that aren't laboured over tend to sound more like someone else, and Primal Scream and Happy Mondays lurk in the shadows here."

That quotation was just for info because that really isn't enough words to sing the praises of LWTSH , so it's best to ignore that and listen to my wisdom instead. ;)



Here she comes
Lady luck again
Figure of eight
Six and nine again

I... (I...)
I... (I...)
My lady with the spinning head

Whatever the deal (Whatever the deal)
She won't let me down
Wherever I go (Wherever I go)
She's always hangin' round

I... (I...)
I... (I...)
Got my lady with the spinning head

La la la, la la la, la la la, la la~
Lady with the spinning head
La la la, la la la, la la la, la la~
Lady with the spinning head

(Oh yeah, come on baby)

She's been gone
But I knew she'd be back
She's got the red
She put me in the black

I... (I...)
I... (I...)
Need the lady with the spinning head

Mean old man
Took away my car
No credit down?
What're yatalkin' about?
I'm on top
When she's around
She's my ticket
Out of town

La la la, la la la, la la la, la la~
Lady with the spinning head
La la la, la la la, la la la, la la~
Lady with the spinning head



Yay, download available here! Go, dance and let it take your blues away.

I'll try to be less fangirly next week. Maybe.
 
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Comments

 
[User Picture Icon]
From:canadanne
Date:March 16th, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC)
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As usual, a proper review will follow at the weekend, but a couple of quick points:

~ This version is a million times better than the "Extended Dance Mix". Soooooo superior.

~ U2wanderer is pretty shocking for lyrics at times!  It should be "Mean old men took away my car / Those credit guys have got the power".
[User Picture Icon]
From:bonoffee
Date:March 16th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
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Hee, I'll look forward to your review so I can see if you'll convert me to thinking this version is better than Extended Dance Mix. Actually, maybe they're equally good to me in different ways. I'm too SQUEE right now to notice.

And thanks for the lyrics correction - I never have a clue what that bit is so no use me trying to work it out, lol!
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From:canadanne
Date:March 16th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
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I'm probably biased as I heard and loved the UV1 mix long before I heard the remix, but still...

*looks forward to squealing over this fabulous song!*
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From:bonoffee
Date:March 17th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
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Ah, y'see I actually heard the remix first! I think it's quite true what they say, the first version of a song you hear is usually the one you end up liking best. Happens a lot with me, anyway! But as you can tell from my post, I ADORE this version too!

And by the way - icon LOVE! I just laughed for a good thirty seconds at 'Ginger Spice'. ;)
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From:canadanne
Date:March 17th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
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It's only natural, you're bound to feel like the one you originally heard is the "right" version and any later ones are just messing around with the formula. Well, unless the first one you hear is total crap or something!

Wheeeee hehehe! :D
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From:oddangel
Date:March 17th, 2006 01:13 am (UTC)
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Community newbie here. I just have to say thanks for sharing this SOTD stuff. I've been a U2 fan since the October days (yeah, I'm probably a good 10 years older than many of you), but this was long before I tracked singles and such things. Only beginning to get caught up. In fact, I'm seriously contemplating getting the Complete U2 on iTunes and then filling in any holes it has later on.

(Oh, and canadanne, your "spice" icon is awesome. Still makes me laugh just thinking about it.)
[User Picture Icon]
From:canadanne
Date:March 17th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)

Re: icon

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Heheh, thanks... it's stealable, if you or anybody else want to use it (or even improve on it!)
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From:hbpen
Date:March 17th, 2006 02:26 am (UTC)
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Snagging song! THank you!!!!
From:youreanidiom
Date:March 17th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
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Great song from my almost All-Time Favorite U2 album (this album and The Unforgettable Fire are tied).
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From:canadanne
Date:March 17th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
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What album are you referring to, out of curiosity...? Achtung Baby?
From:youreanidiom
Date:March 17th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
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Yes, Achtung Baby.
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From:typewriterking
Date:March 17th, 2006 07:28 am (UTC)
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While I'm hardly in agreement with the songwriter that coitus (and various other fun activities) equals rape, the song is one of the most fun in their discography. In any version.

Even before the guitar and bass drive through the speakers, that highly unique piano riff that sounds like it came out of a circus show tells you the song is going to be special. Two minutes and thirty seconds in or so is a strange riff I know I've heard from somewhere else. It sounds like it came from the guitar of Andy Summers or something.
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From:canadanne
Date:March 19th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)

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Oh, Lady With The Spinning Head, just how much do I love thee?

If you asked me to list U2's best ever B-sides, this would always be the first one that sprung to mind. I'll never forget the day I brought the CD home, without a clue what to expect from this song, and within seconds of hitting "play" I knew I adored it.

In her SOTD post about the Extended Dance Mix, stay_please wrote: "The intro reminds me of marbles being dropped on a hard floor. Not sure why, that's just the image it evokes, dropping glass (that bounces, not breaks) on something hard." And I agree totally with that description, it's exactly the same mental image that I've always gotten from that intro, except I wouldn't have said marbles - for me it's more like the coloured balls in the classic Spectrum game Exolon (yes, made by Hewson!), that bounce around and explode with a soft "pfff!" when you shoot them. Yeah. At any rate, the general consensus seems to be that it's a ball-scattering effect of some kind. *g*

Moving on from that, we're launched into a fantastic whirlwind of guitars and hip-shaking beats that's every bit as dizzying as the title suggests. And when the vocals come in, it turns out to be a total singalong classic, with strong melodies and Ah-ah-ah-ah's and everything!  Plus it's another one of Bono's brilliant lyrical allegories - the casual listener thinks he's just singing about a woman he's emotionally dependent upon, but pay closer attention and you find the story of a man with a gambling addiction, placing everything in the hands of Lady Luck with her "spinning head" (the roulette wheel - see also the clever "red and black" wordplay with its multiple meanings). And he even gets a subtle sex reference in there to boot! ;)  I had to grin when you brought up the Flanagan Bible quote, I *always* think of that quote when I listen to that line in the song, even though it's years since I read the book.

I love the "Mean old man took away my car..." section, especially the gravelly sound of his voice when he pronounces the word "power", and the catchy lines "I'm on top when she's around / She's my ticket out of town". But there's no denying the fact that the best part of the song is just the glorious throwaway chorus. What in this universe is more fun than singing "La-la la-la-la la-la-la la-la-la-lady with the spinning head"?  It's probably U2's daftest chorus ever, but it's utterly perfect for this song and I love them for coming up with it!  It all sounds so good with the backing vocals and everything, too. Bono's voice is slightly distorted and there's an echoey feel at times, which gives me the sensation of being totally submerged in the euphoric madness of the song.

And then there's that distinctively familiar Fly guitar solo near the end, which gives you a happy glow of recognition, like bumping into an old friend. Not to mention that amazingly Eastern / Arabic-sounding solo in the middle of the song - that's a bit special!

You can go here to read why I find the Extended Dance Mix to be inferior to the original - I think I summed it up pretty concisely in that comment. The UV1 mix is sublime just as it is; it doesn't need stringing out with long pointless instrumentals that just seem to bog it down rather than adding to the joy. The original version is compact and clean, whilst bursting with warmth and energy and playful humour. It's a song I love recommending to non-U2 fans who enjoy mainstream pop, because who the hell could fail to love this track instantly?

And best of all, it appears on the second best U2 single ever to be released (losing out to Stay only because it has half the number of tracks!), sitting alongside the amazingness that is One, the delight that is Satellite Of Love and the pure sex that is Night And Day. Now there's a single that's worth taking out of the CD rack on a regular basis!

Quite simply superb.



P.S. Don't ever be less fangirly in your SOTD posts. ;p

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