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March 24th, 2007

Song of the Day @ 12:57 pm

needleandspoon:
Hi! I'm needleandspoon and I'm your substitute SOTD-er this week. Let me tell you, this gig is harder than it looks (or maybe it's just that I haven't been to bed yet). But you don't care about that, so on with the song...

This week's SOTD is Neon Lights. Originally released by Kraftwerk in 1978, this song was released as B-side to the Vertigo #1 single in 2004. It's not a major work by any means, or even one of their best covers, but it's worth listening to nonetheless as a nod to one of U2's early influences. I like it for the retro-electronica kind of feel combined with keyboards and Bono doing that sort of dreamy mid-range thing that suits his voice so well.

Lyrics

Neon lights
Shimmering neon lights
And at the fall of night
This city's made of light
(and repeat)

Neon Lights YSI link
 
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Comments

 
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From:t4_flirt
Date:March 24th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
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I love this song...I found it awhile back and how I wish it had been released on HTDAAB in the US. I think it would have made a PERFECT ending to a phenomonal album. It's sexy, yet relaxing and mellow at the same time. Yummy.

Good pick. ;)
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From:needleandspoon
Date:March 25th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
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Thanks, I was surprised it hadn't been on here before.
From:sammifredenburg
Date:March 25th, 2007 06:58 am (UTC)

i agree . . .

(Link)
it's a lovely little song, perfect ending, tender song that i was not aware that it was a cover but thot it was one of our band's songs. this is a great entry and to showcase it here is golden.

i had no idea it's origins . . . i got it on the u2 collection i obtained with the u2 ipod, my first collection of u2 songs. so thanx.

stay close,

sammi =)
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From:canadanne
Date:March 25th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
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Ahh, I've been meaning to re-listen to this one (I think I only played it once when I bought the single), but hadn't had an excuse to put it on. Good choice! :)

I haven't heard the original Kraftwerk version (though I'd like to, having just listened to the samples online - the live version on iTunes sounds especially nice!). Seems like U2 made it a lot more dreamy and ethereal. It's hard to say if that improves or ruins the song, without hearing the original in full... it's probably just different, and I always admired U2's bravery in bringing something new to the songs they cover. It's also really nice to see them using a cover as a B-side again, like they did a lot in the 80s and 90s!  If they don't have enough spare songs of their own to include on the singles, I'd much rather hear an interesting cover than a bunch of poor-quality remixes or unremarkable live tracks. It's nice how this is kind of lyrically related to City Of Blinding Lights, too. :)

I'd agree with your assessment of the track - nothing spectacular, but certainly not unpleasant. I love the intro/background noise that sounds like a ZX Spectrum loading! :D  I also really like the pretty piano, and especially the echo on both the piano and Bono's voice in the second half of the song. Another highlight for me is the key change immediately after Bono's da-da-da-ing, when the spine-tingling synth comes in and you hear Bono whispering something I can't quite make out - that part sounds awesome.* The whole thing has an experimental feel reminiscent of the Zooropa / Passengers era, I think. Which is a good thing in my book!

* My only complaint: that descending plinky melody *really* reminds me of an instrumental bit from some other song, and it's driving me crazy because I can't quite place it! Something by Dire Straits or The Alan Parsons Project, maybe??
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From:needleandspoon
Date:March 26th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I know what you mean about the Zooropa/Passengers feel to it. I might even have added that (and some more) if I hadn't picked the worst weekend of the whole year to do SOTD. In between working and participating in my weeklong Birthday Festival of Non-Stop Drunkeness, I think my brain fell out a little.

But the song, yeah, I'd like to see some more of this kind of b-side rather than the endless parade of live tracks and remixes.
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From:canadanne
Date:March 26th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)

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It's a bit Keane-ish with all the piano, as well...

I finally figured out what that melody reminded me of, btw - Why Worry by Dire Straits!

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