Caitlin (stay_please) wrote in u2,
Caitlin
stay_please
u2

  • Music:

Song of the Day

Today's song is...

"Beautiful Ghost" from the Joshua Tree sessions
More likely to be found in your unreleased/rare compilation.

Why this song? Because it's October, duh.
Not really, the track has nothing to do with Halloween, or ghosts. At least, not the white-sheet kind. Actually, the title is completely lost on me.

Despite the lack of literal ghosts, there is a very ethereal feel. When I learned this track was from 1987, it surprised me. It would be right at home on Passengers. It's experimental, as well as instrumental. But the instrument is synthetic, and sounds singular. Notes strung out, with no sense or reason. Then comes Bono.

He travels the fence between singing and speaking. He raises his pitch toward the end, but through the rest his voice barely varies over a few notes. He starts low and guttural, and eventually becomes, well, I'm gonna say exalted, with the last few lines. It certainly isn't the exaltation of belting out "Streets" in a stadium or arena, but compared to where he started, it's definitely raised to another level.


Hear the voice of the Bard,
Who present, past, and future, sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walked among the ancient tree;

Calling the lapsed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew!

"O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass!
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass.

"Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day."


I left out the fact that Bono refrains the last line 3 more times. Because these words are not Bono's, they are William Blake's. This is the Introduction to Songs from Experience. At the end of the French Revolution, Blake was distressed with the state of the world. He wrote two volumes, Songs of Innocence, and Songs of Experience. Innocence and Experience obviously being two opposing states of being. Blake published Innocence on his own, but posthumoulsy, the two volumes are always published together.

And that, my pals, is your history and literature lesson for the day.

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