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February 8th, 2010

Song Of The Day @ 11:29 pm

canadanne:
I know nothing whatsoever about American football, but I heard the Saints won the Super Bowl and we've actually never done this song before, so!

The Saints Are Coming

This was a 1978 song by Scottish band The Skids, which U2 covered with Green Day in 2006. The single raised money for Edge's charity Music Rising which was set up in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to help New Orleans musicians replace their lost instruments. IMHO, it's also one of the best damn songs of the whole decade!


The Louisiana Superdome was badly damaged by the hurricane in August 2005 and closed for over a year, forcing the New Orleans Saints to play their home games elsewhere throughout the 2005 season. The stadium finally reopened on 25th September 2006 when the Saints returned home to play the Atlanta Falcons. This was understandably a cause for major celebration, and the pregame show included U2 & Green Day (plus some local brass musicians) performing Wake Me Up When September Ends, The Saints Are Coming and Beautiful Day, to an absolutely ecstatic crowd:



This whole collaboration was absolutely inspired. The choice of song works on so many levels - it suits the two bands with their punk roots, the lyrics fit with the natural disaster that had occurred in New Orleans, and of course it was perfect for the Saints' triumphant homecoming. And it just sounds fantastic! When it was first announced that U2 and Green Day were recording a song together, I was intrigued and quite excited (both bands were on top form at that particular time), but I did wonder how on earth it was going to work. Wouldn't there be too many of everything (drummers, guitarists etc)? Would one group end up dominating the other? In the end it was *so* much better than I had ever imagined, it all just fell into place perfectly - when I first saw that live performance I couldn't believe how good it was. It's so well balanced that it feels like they're one cohesive band instead of two stuck together, and the extra manpower creates this huge wall of sound that's really powerful. I'm just in awe of how skilfully they pulled it off. I can't think of anything they've done since that's better than this track.

The cover opens with a snippet of the old Animals hit House Of The Rising Sun ("There is a house in New Orleans...") and continues quietly through the first verse, before exploding into life and just rocking the fuck out for the rest of the song. I defy anyone to listen to it without feeling the urge to jump up and down like crazy. It's fast and loud and thrilling (by far the best song I've found for exercising to!) but it's also incredibly precise, never descending into rowdy chaos. Bono and Billie Joe take it in turns to sing the verses, joining together for the chorus - they both sound great and their voices complement each other really well. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, there are even BOOM CHAs for added Poptasticness! What more could you want? ♥ ♥ ♥

The promo video is also pretty awesome, with footage of the bands at Abbey Road Studios, clips from the Superdome performance, and cleverly edited scenes of the flooding in New Orleans, portraying an alternate reality where the US government redeployed troops from Iraq to help victims of the hurricane. Director Chris Milk talked about the making of the video here, explaining its intention to "make a commentary on the Katrina disaster ... from the standpoint of how things can and should be done in the future", and how "it's also important to make sure that it complements the song, so it starts off somber and dark, and then you're transported to the Superdome performance, which is big and bright and powerful". I think he did a great job, it really does fit the song brilliantly as well as making a point about the government's inadequate response to the emergency.



The Saints Are Coming topped the singles chart in several countries, and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group. It appears on the compilation album U218 Singles, and was played live on the Vertigo Tour in Australia, NZ, Japan and Hawaii, with Billie Joe Armstrong joining them for the final show.


LYRICS

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
It's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And god, I know I'm one

I cried to my daddy on the telephone, how long now
Until the clouds unroll and you come down, the line went
But the shadows still remain since your descent, your descent

I cried to my daddy on the telephone, how long now
Until the clouds unroll and you come home, the line went
But the shadows still remain since your descent, your descent

Boom cha, hey!

The saints are coming, the saints are coming
I say no matter how I try, I realise there's no reply
The saints are coming, the saints are coming
I say no matter how I try, I realise there's no reply

A drowning sorrow floods the deepest grief, how long now
Until a weather change condemns belief, how long now
When the night-watchman lets in the thief, what's wrong now

Boom cha, hey!

The saints are coming, the saints are coming
I say no matter how I try, I realise there's no reply
The saints are coming, the saints are coming
I say no matter how I try, I realise there's no reply
I say no matter how I try, I realise there's no reply
I say no matter how I try, I realise there's no reply



I dunno about you guys, but I can't bloody wait until they get back to working on that Rick Rubin material...
 
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Comments

 
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From:bonoffee
Date:February 9th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
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I'm really sorry to be a big spoilsport but I can't stand this track. Everything about it screams 'pointless' to me. The song itself does my head in, and the fact they went and did it with Green Day and blaaaah... Between this and Window in the Skies, well, I kind of wish they'd used those two spots on U218 to actually showcase some 90s stuff instead. But that's just what I think!
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From:canadanne
Date:February 9th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
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Fair enough!  I welcome all comments that contain an actual opinion on the song; nobody has to agree with me. :)

*pokes you to write another of your awesome SOTDs*
From:striped_bouncer
Date:February 9th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
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what I meant to bring up for some time already but always forgot (old me)... I remember the time after the Vertigo tour, when we used to have a regular SOTD around here. And we had that gmail account where we uploaded the songs, or rare bsides, live versions, etc. I know I discovered so many great U2 songs due to this way of sharing.
Now, how about reviving that way of sharing and caring? was there a reason while the account died? I can't remember, truth be told. Maybe it would be a nice way for "newbies" to the U2 fandom to discover their music that way... like I did back then.
Thoughts on this? Opinions? I'm just thinking out loud :-)
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From:canadanne
Date:February 9th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC)
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Google pulled the plug on it once they realised what the account was being used for.

I do think it would be nice if u2usendit came back to life - that used to be a good place for sharing and requesting the rarities / live stuff, but it seems to have been deserted for months now.

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