Is That All?

…which is inevitably what I tend to ask after hearing this too. To be fair, it’s a song with high ambitions, certainly lyrically; it essentially probes into whether a song should really just invoke our joy, sadness or anger, or whether it should fulfill some higher purpose. In the context of October, that’d almost certainly be a godly purpose, although there’s no reason why in any other context Bono couldn’t be referring to politics or philosophy, for example. Yet its lyrical minimalism doesn’t really support the song’s point – it’s not in itself erudite, articulate or complex, instead preferring to utilise just 8 unique lines. Part of this is admittedly the circumstances in which the album was made, but even so, I can’t help but think that the concept behind this song would have been better if it had been developed for longer, and left off until War or perhaps Unforgettable Fire.

At almost exactly three minutes, it’s also one of the shorter songs on the album, and musically it isn’t too spectacular either, apart from a weird moment during the outro during which, after a crashing buildup of drums someone (it’s not clear who) starts whistling a totally unrelated tune, bringing the album to a surreal ending.

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~ by 4trak on April 23, 2008.

One Response to “Is That All?”

  1. […] which used to consist of the song being joined with “The Cry”, a predecessor to “Is That All?“, and indeed the songs are not entirely dissimilar in tone. The song then vanished after […]

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