“40” is, possibly more than any other U2 song, something that very much has to be placed in its right context to make sense – that context being finality. Being the last song on the album, the last song actually recorded for War, and during the War tour (and frequently beyond) a show closer, the song marks a resolution, with the pledge to “sing a new song” indicative of a desire for renewal and change from the violent themes of the album’s previous nine songs. Ironically with that theme of renewal, the lyrics are effectively a cut-and-paste job from Psalm 40, albeit with a lot of said passage on the cutting floor, given the song’s duration.

Another worthwhile arrangement note is that Adam and Edge swap instruments for this one, resulting in interesting guitar and bass parts. It prompts the question of why they don’t do that more often, but nonetheless “40” still stands as an exception to that.


~ by 4trak on April 12, 2008.

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