You love is teaching me how, how to kneel.
Right about now I’m starting to lament that I’m no long working for a paper where I can just snap my fingers and get this thing printed. Because I’ll tell you right now, it means something to me. Something deep. And I haven’t even really started yet.
I got my copy of HTDAAB earlier. I broke the plastic wrap and happily loaded that sucker into my crappy battery-operated car CD player. And, although I’d already heard the majority of the songs, I needed to hear that album, like a junkie needs a hit. I needed to hear it threaded together.
I realized, somewhere driving on Rte. 33, that U2 has managed something pretty amazing. Not only have they been a band longer than I have been, but they’ve managed, once every four years or so, to completely encapsulate exactly what I’m feeling. Word for goddamn word.
I started my u2 fandom as a freshman in highschool, with Achtung, Baby. I used to listen to that over and over because it all just made SENSE to me. That was the beginning.
I turned 16 in Giants stadium, in 1997. I had gotten a u2 ticket as a birthday present from one of my best high school friends. I went to that show never having heard Pop. and I remember sitting there, listening to the music… falling in love with it. That’s when they had me for life.
The point about ’97 is this: I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was 16. I thought I’d be one place and I’ve ended up another. And, one could, ::and many have:: argue that U2 was dealing with the same issues. They tried their collective hand at making an album that, for all it’s obvious innovation, just didn’t get the response they wanted. They were trapped in a lemon. They wrote ‘Discotheque’ and ‘Do You Feel Loved,’ which, while adored by fans ::and I’m not knocking those songs… stop the hate mail:: didn’t do what U2 really does.
And neither did I, then.
Certain things about that album hit me hard in the face. ‘Gone’ had me feeling like they had me down to a science; all I wanted was out of ME, out of what I was. The words ‘you’re taking steps that make you feel dizzy/then you learn to like the way it feels/ you hurt yourself, you hurt your lover, then you discover/ what you thought was freedom is just greed,’ burrowed their way into me. They’re still there. The words to ‘Please’ perfectly mirrored what I was going through with a friend at the time… a friend who would later break my heart.
Fastforward. ATYCLB, late 2000. I’d just broken up with my first love and I was feeling pretty low. I wasn’t getting snapped out of it, by anyone or by anything anyone said. There was a huge hole in me, in the way I had been. And then I remembered U2. I got back into them again. I listened to that album like it was my day job. ‘Stuck in a Moment’ did wonders for me. So did ‘Kite.’ So did ‘Elevation.’ Four Irishmen I’d never met had hit the nail on the head again, for me. And with their help, I started to be me again. ATYCLB was just hopeful enough, but still sad. That was me.
That concert, the second leg of Elevation, broke my heart into a million pieces ::and almost my ribs, too, for those of you who were there::. But it got inside me… I watched Adam, Larry, Bono and Edge walk out onto that stage with wide-eyes and my jaw dropped. And I was rocked, make no mistake. What got me was the end… ‘One,’ and the list of names from the WTC bombing, scrolling slowly over a dark screen. That had only happened a month before, and everyone’s heart, including mine, was still breaking. I was still thanking whatever higher power there is for making my father stay home from work that day. That one song made me cry, and I will never forget that.
And let’s not start me on getting my spirits lifted, watching Bono run laps around the heart, watching Edge’s hands from thisclose to the stage, flying over his guitar du jour like crazed white doves. I’ve never seen anyone’s hands move that fast.
‘Electrical Storm’ did something for me I’ll never forget. I was at college, coming home from a meeting, and there actually WAS an electrical storm. And I sat there with a friend of mine, watching lightning jump from cloud to cloud and touch down on the ground between two dorms, fascinated. That song was on the radio. I didn’t put it on.
U2 has also kept me company on many drives… I’ve seen the sun set listening to ‘Heartland,’ and I know it doesn’t get much better than that.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me leaked HTDAAB songs, as well as ‘Fast Cars’ and ‘Are You Gonna Wait Forever.’ First listen, all I thought was that I had a new favorite album, maybe. Achtung really does still just GET me. But this one… this one…
I’ve had a tough time since I graduated. I’ve been finding out a lot about myself, as far as what I am, really, and what I want. I’ve gotten a new job, I’ve had a kickass trip down to New Orleans… I’ve had it pretty good in the midst of that mess, a lot of fun. I realized, not that many days ago, that this album nailed that, too. It also nailed down me thinking too much about everything. There was a moment a few nights ago that I was talking to someone I feel an incredible amount for, someone I was dodging, and my computer setlist spat out ‘Are You Gonna Wait Forever.’
Someone must be looking over my shoulder, I thought. And it didn’t end there. These songs gave me back myself, every time. ‘Miracle Drug,’ ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own,’ ‘City of Blinding Lights,’ ‘Crumbs From Your Table’… Christ, okay, most of the album. ::oh, and ‘Original of the Species,’ too.:: Certain lines just floored me.
So, realizing they’re most likely never going to hear this from me…. Thanks to my four favorite Irishmen. Because, yet again, you let me remember how to feel.
x-posted a few places... and if you're wondering, about the opening bit, i'm a journalist. hope that helps.