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May 16th, 2006

The triumphant return? @ 01:02 pm

stay_please:
Today's song of the day...

"Zooropa" from.... I dunno, you guess ;-)

Yes, I know it's been done before, TWICE. But I feel I am bringing more to the song, so deal!

Most of my U2ish friends claim Achtung Baby as their favorite album, and so do I. But over time, some of them have shifted over to PopTarts (you know who you are *shakes a finger*). Not that I dislike Pop, but how could you abandon my Achtung Baby baby *strokes my CD*. /digression
Myself, I find myself liking Zooropa (the entire album) more and more every day. In fact, it's one of two albums I've been listening to in the past week or so (for those tuned in - my other is Snow Patrol's Eyes Open - check it out!). So here we go...



Zooropa, being a magnum opus of a song, is easily broken down into several... acts, we'll call them.
Act 1 - the intro
It's a lot more foreboding than the opening of Achtung Baby. There aren't any words for 2+ minutes. Just low piano notes, and some static. The static becomes ever the slightest bit clearer, and you swear you can almost make out voices, but they're being played too fast for any recognizable words. This would be my least favorite part of the song. I love the live version I recently acquired, 'cause it skips right to my favorite act later. I understand the content, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy sitting here waiting for the good parts.

Act 2 - enter Edge, followed by a talking Bono
Around 1:46 that piano magically transforms into a guitar, playing the same tune. It is shortly joined by our remaining members, and Bono gives us a few "What do you wants" before swinging into "Zooooropa". I suppose he is actually singing for now, but there isn't much change in pitch, and it sounds like he's just handing out a few aphorisms. I especially like the paradoxical advice of "eat to get slimmer" (note icon).

(What do you want?)
(What do you want?)

Zooropa... Vorsprung durch Technik
Zooropa... be all that you can be
Be a winner
Eat to get slimmer

Zooropa... a bluer kind of white
Zooropa... it could be yours tonight
We're mild and green
And squeaky clean

(What do you want?)
(Shhh)
(What do you want?)
(No sound now)
(What do you want?)
(Don't put you down)
(What do you want?)
(No sound now)

Zooropa... better by design
Zooropa... fly the friendly skies
Through appliance of science
We've got that ring of confidence


Can I get a translation of "Vorsprung durch Technik"?

Act 3 - the creamy middle
(Apparently Zooropa is a chocolate now.)
THIS is my favorite section. I quoted only these lyrics in my journal a few weeks ago. For such a dark, foreboding song, the lyrics are strangely uplifting. I suppose the timing of this SotD is due to my own change in life attitude, as inspired by this song (among others).
Around 3:45 we get back to that guitar that opened act 2. Between 3:54 and 3:58 there is a squeaky effect I'll come back to at the end of the song. Then Adam gets a "THUMP" and we go right into the climax. I also like that the climax lasts a little while, it's not just a burst or epiphany. Bono takes a while to say his message, and keeps it on full throttle the whole time, while the guys are on the same level.

And I have no compass
And I have no map
And I have no reasons
No reasons to get back

And I have no religion
And I don't know what's what
And I don't know the limit
The limit of what we've got

Don't worry baby, it'll be alright
You got the right shoes
To get you through the night
It's cold outside, but brightly lit
Skip the subway
Let's go to the overground
Get your head out of the mud baby
Put flowers in the mud baby
Overground

No particular place names
No particular song
I've been hiding
What am I hiding from

Don't worry baby, it's gonna be alright
Uncertainty can be a guiding light
I hear voices, ridiculous voices
Out in the slipstream
Let's go, let's go overground
Take your head out of the mud baby


The lyrics are negative in reading, with "no" being a part of half of the lines. But the neagtivity accompanies lines like "I don't know the limit to what we've got". Uncertainty can be a guiding light, indeed.

Act 4 - the ending
After "... out of the mud baby" you can almost hear the song drop down a notch. And Bono finishes his lyrics, shifting from second person to third. The shift from "you" to "she" is signifant. It's almost as if we are taking ourself out of the subjects dream, and Bono is coming with us. Were we the subject to begin with? Depends on your interpretation, or how much you can identify with the song.

She's gonna dream up
The world she wants to live in
She's gonna dream out loud
She's gonna dream out loud
Dream out loud


Back to the squeak I mentioned. It outros the song, it is the last thing you hear. To me, it's as if the tape has ended, but the wheels keep turning. When it is heard earlier, before act 3, it's as if the tape is stretching. I'm certainly picturing a film strip, and the dream/movie/illusion is over. It kind reminds me of an Ingmar Bergman film, Persona. But analyzation of that is for another day...

Fave lyric:
I have no reasons, no reasons to get back.

 
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Comments

 
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From:zoostation
Date:May 16th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
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"Vorsprung durch Technik" - Moving forward/Progress through technology.

Or something like that. It's a VW advert. As most of the Zooropa slogans are (adverts, that is)
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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From:zoostation
Date:May 16th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
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Close enough.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 16th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)

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I was gonna point out that it was Audi too, but then I Googled it and discovered that Audi is actually owned by VW, so you're not exactly wrong!
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From:zoostation
Date:May 17th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
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:D

I just picked one of three major German car brands. And "The People's Car" seemed to be sticking out for me.
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From:sapphires13
Date:May 16th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
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Zooooooooooooropa. PURPLE SPACE CRACK. The entire album, but ESPECIALLY the title track. There are just no words to truly describe the awesomeness of the song. This is why I could never have done this song as a SOTD.
Zooropa is the beginning of a journey. You find yourself floating through a foggy purple sky, up with the static, and the radio waves, as Stay puts it. But then the song crashes into the climax, and you come back down to earth. You stop listening to the adverts, and start paying attention to your surroundings. It's the European Union, it's a new start for a new world. You're looking forward into the face of the future, unsure what's ahead, but willing to find out.
I LOVE the creamy center. It's impossible not to smile just listening to it. There's something just so joyous about it. It's a bright innocent face, optimistic about a better tomorrow.
You're right about the ending. I can almost picture Bono proudly walking away from the "She" in question, with a smile on his face. He's saying "That kid's gonna be alright, she's gonna dream out loud"
Personally, for me, this song is like a challenge. I'm not quite brave enough to turn my back on the past and look brightly at the future. I worry way too much about everything. But the song still makes me sublimely happy, just as a sliver of what could be.

Also regarding Vorsprung durch Technik, from U2Faqs:
It is a German phrase meaning roughly "lead by / through technology." A more elegant translation is "a step ahead through technology" or "progress through technology." It is an advertising slogan used by the German car company Audi.

And, as for the "What do you want?"s, is that Bono? I always assumed it was some random thing yanked from some random media thing. As for the other phrases mixed in with them, @U2 has them as "Combien encore?" which is French for...something (I'm not smart XD, someone else can figure it out), and "Que veux-tu faire?" which is French for "What do you want?" (that much, I know). I think that makes more sense than what U2Wanderer has listed.

AND WHO ARE YOU CALLING A POPTART
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From:canadanne
Date:May 16th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)

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And, as for the "What do you want?"s, is that Bono? I always assumed it was some random thing yanked from some random media thing.

Ditto, I don't think it sounds like Bono. As for the other samples, I think I recall a French friend of mine mentioning that "What are you afraid of?" is in there somewhere.

(Also, "eat to get slimmer" is from the old SlimFast adverts... I don't know if those ever aired in the US or not?)
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From:inklingfair
Date:May 16th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
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I hold my breath for this song's climax every time.

And about the "overground/head out of the mud baby" - I love this because it makes me think about that silly expression "pushing up daisies" - this is a kind of antithesis, a funny one, but very brave, in a way. :)
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From:oddangel
Date:May 16th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
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Uncertainty can be a guiding light, indeed.

I agree. It's pretty much summed up in these lyrics:

And I have no compass
And I have no map
And I have no reasons
No reasons to get back


Usually when people speak of wandering or being far from home it's with a desolate or confusing sentiment, but I love how these lyrics turn that expectation on its head. Just because you're out and away from home, maybe even a little bit off the beaten track, doesn't mean you're in a bad spot. Who knows? You could be on the brink of discovery. Besides, no one can truly go home anyway. And since you can't, you might as well keep going forward.

As Tolkien is quoted as saying: "Not all those who wander are lost."
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From:wydok
Date:May 16th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
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My wife mentioned to me how the music helps to illuminate this song as a battle over nature vs. technology.

The openning piano (a very "natural instrument) is very calming and soozing, but eventually is drowned out by static and talking. Both are then replaced with Edge's guitar.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 16th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)

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Whoa... it's you!
From:stay_please
Date:May 17th, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)
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Me?! Where?! *looks around frantically*
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From:thegoal_issoul
Date:May 16th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC)
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that was the best SOTD entry I've ever read.

I think you guys should do all of them in Acts, lol. much more interesting, at least to me. :D
From:stay_please
Date:May 17th, 2006 05:06 am (UTC)
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Aaaaw, thank you. You made me all warm and fuzzy. Erm... feel all warm and fuzzy.

Of course, most songs could be broken down that way. But would we have so much to say on each act of each song? Meh. I'll perhaps give it a try for you in SotDs to come.
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From:thegoal_issoul
Date:May 17th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
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lol warm and fuzzy....

:D

oh, and hey that'd be cool, but if it doesnt work out that way, it's all good. lol :)
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From:canadiens1160
Date:May 16th, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
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That post needed more s.
From:stay_please
Date:May 17th, 2006 05:07 am (UTC)
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s? y'think? I so prefer the letter d...
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From:canadanne
Date:May 16th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)

Part 1 of 2

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I will never get over how amazing a song this is. It gives me a similar mental image to sapphires13... in fact every time I listen to it, this opening sequence from an imaginary movie plays in my head. It makes me wish I was a filmmaker so I could create it for real, because it fits the music so perfectly!

First you have your typical opening shot with the studio logos and stuff coming up on the screen, against a deep space backdrop. We begin to slowly move forward through the starry blackness as that lonnnng atmospheric intro gradually builds. "A Stefan Spielenberger film... Adapted from a novel by Don Beige...", say the film credits, peridiocally appearing in a corner of the screen. You can hear a weird sort of static in the background, but you can't tell what it is, or where it's coming from. We continue to push forward until a planet becomes visible in the distance, and as we get closer to it, you realise that's the source of all the strange noises. Soon it's recognisable as Earth. The nearer we approach, the louder the interference becomes, until we're right in amongst the orbiting communication satellites and the jumbled voices are at their loudest. It's all a little disorienting, you're not sure where this is going...

Then as Edge's lonesome guitar comes to the foreground, the camera grinds to a halt and leaves us staring at a close-up satellite for several seconds, just long enough for you to contemplate the beauty and significance of it. All of a sudden, as we launch into that blissful "Act 2" music, the camera rapidly swivels to one side and an astronaut tumbles into our line of vision. We follow him throughout the "slogans" section of the song, as he gracefully drifts around the planet and the film's main credits (cast and crew) start to appear. Occasionally he'll do a slow-motion roll, or the camera will giddily pan around him. There's an overwhelming feeling of perfect serenity, out there floating all alone, high above it all... even the chorus of voices sound like nearby angels.

But now that guitar is back, and it feels like something's about to happen. As the song winds itself up to enter the final act, the planet seems to be looming even closer and the astronaut begins to accelerate, rapidly rotating a few times --- before reaching forward and plunging into the atmosphere as the music explodes into life. The camera chases after him as he falls... somewhere along the line you realise it's some kind of "orbital skydiving" stunt, like that from the Star Trek universe, and it's exhilarating just to watch. The camera jolts around like crazy, and the heat of re-entry produces such a blinding glare from the astronaut's protective suit that it's hard to tell exactly what's happening. "And I have no compass, and I have no map..."
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From:canadanne
Date:May 16th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)

Part 2 of 2

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At the very moment the backing vocals come in for the first "Don't worry baby", we burst into a gorgeous bright blue sky. Somewhere miles below us, there are a few fluffy white clouds, and you can even make out a passing aeroplane if you watch closely enough. The whole freefalling visual goes hand-in-hand with the way the song is gathering momentum, nearing its terminal velocity.... and the planet looks beautiful from up here. You're trying to take in the fresh wonders that come to your attention every few seconds, like a sprawling continent that suddenly comes into focus. As Bono sings "Overground!", the parachute flies open and the astronaut is momentarily wrenched upward by it. We instantly see this replayed a couple of times and then once more in glorious slow motion.

By the time we get to the next "Don't worry baby" verse, cities and countryside are close enough to be recognisable, and the astronaut is obviously starting to focus on where his target landing site is. Every blast of backing vocals is accompanied by a dizzying camera swoop as he steers one way and then the other... he seems to be getting blown off course, towards dangerous obstacles like buildings and power lines, and you're starting to worry that this might all end in disaster. The song has taken on a real urgency by now, and is the perfect soundtrack to the confused adrenaline rush. You can make out people watching from the field below, and you can see the tension and concern on their faces even from this distance.

As the song enters its final verse, a calmness takes over Bono's voice ("She's gonna dream up the world she wants to live in..."), and there's a sudden sense of inevitability about the situation - nothing more can be done now, it's either going to end happily or it isn't. The credits have finished appearing. As the ground approaches, the astronaut seems to have got himself back onto the right course, but it's still touch and go whether he's lost enough speed to land safely.....

And the music squeals to a halt, as he hits the ground and everything goes black.
I guess you have to wait until at least the next scene before you find out whether or not he came through the experience unscathed. :)

How *awesome* would that be as an opening sequence for a film?!  Hell, any film that used Zooropa as its theme music would be amazing. :D
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From:carobanano
Date:May 17th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)

Re: Part 2 of 2

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Damn! I listened along to the song as I read all of that, and I agree...it would be awesome!

As for my own feelings for the song.....well, it's basically only "the creamy middle" for me. You could cut out the rest of the song and it wouldn't matter. Zooropa is one of my favorites because it has so much emotional weight for me. It's so soothing to hear when I face nervewracking decisions. I can remember putting it on repeat for an hour several times throughout senior year of high school as I was navigating the college admissions jungle. :)
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From:claudiathefish
Date:May 17th, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 2 of 2

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When I listen to this song, I hear/see almost the exact same thing, except I always sort-of see a music video as opposed to a movie.
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From:mmmmjournal
Date:May 16th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
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haha, I already had that song playing when I came to this post. :)

I love the intro. Great way to lead into the rest of the album. The slogans for lyrics are fun, too.
From:stay_please
Date:May 17th, 2006 05:08 am (UTC)
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Yes, apparently I am not well-read, or well-versed on pop culture... because I didn't realize most of 'act 2' were slogans. Woopsy-doodles.
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From:boriel
Date:May 17th, 2006 01:34 am (UTC)
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other than applauding you all for the insight to one of my fav songs there is little else i can say - i too feel the same way you do when i hear it start - indeed like a purple haze imagination soaring trip. only one other song makes me feel this way to a degree - the combo of UF followed by Promenade.

one other thing - as a 'thin person' (not really but people think 'fit' is 'thin') eating to get slimmer actually works - if you eat the right stuff and not the wrong stuff. i eat 6 times a day but probably less in total than most people i know. bumps your metabolism. (sorry, just a non essential side note of no importance lol)
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From:onlyechoes
Date:May 17th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
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I love Zooropa! The song and the album. <3 I don't know what else to say, I love the lyrics and.. just everything.

(I'm scary, I think I love all their song.. But not that Mary J. Blige version of One. Ehm no.)
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From:claudiathefish
Date:May 17th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)
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I used to hate this song. Hate it. I even posted a SOTD explaining that it scared the bejeezus out of me.

But it grew on me, it's a really fantastic song.

I was reading canadanne's comment about an idea for a video for this song, and I was amused at how similar it is to my video idea for the song. The only main difference was that instead of an astronaut at the beginning of the song, I imagined the band floating out in space, surrounded by sattelites. Edge's guitar cuts through the mess of telecommunication jumble, and the song begins with Bono and the band tumbling round the earth.
At the "squeeky effect" in the middle of the song, the band begin falling to earth, through the atmosphere, like asteroids or space capsules; flames behind them. The band members fall in at the various ringing notes of Edge's guitar.
I imagined the band sort-of flying through a big city, skimming down the streets between the buildings, playing their instruments; Larry collecting various things to drum on along the way, like trashcan lids, Adam just lying back in his trademark cool-stance.
At the end of the song, at the reappearence of the "squeeky effect," the band gradually slows down, dragging feet on the ground. I had an image of Bono sort of stumbling over his own feet, and just trotting away as the video and song ends.

Love this song.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 17th, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC)

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I hadn't thought of putting the band themselves into it, but your video idea is equally cool, especially the detail at the end there!  If only we could see these things for real....

P.S. I'm thrilled that you came to love the song too!

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