Beach Sequence

Named with stunning precision – can you picture this soundtracking anything other than a scene on a beach? – “Beach Sequence” has that suitably lazy, drifting feel to it, with whirring (sometimes whistling)  breeze-through-palm-tree synths popping up in the background, gently strummed chords, laid-back bass, and a slow, steady yet gentle beat behind it – it’s a solid and firmly appropriate, if not the most adventurous, arrangement. It’s also most notable for the one-finger piano part courtesy of Bono, perhaps his most prominent instrumental contribution to U2. In some ways, it has to be, with the decidedly minimal lyrics:

Time/Shoots on by.

And that’s it. How very informative. Of course, the lyrics slightly echo the idea of Pink Floyd’s “Time”, for example – that time travels quickly, that it is limited, etc. The fact that the lyrics come towards the end of the song may also reinforce that idea, as if the individual whose viewpoint they reflect has just awoken to such a realisation. Overall, though, it’s these brief lines that add a slightest tension, that subtle suggestion of a later chaos, that prevent the song from descending into potential muzak. Inevitably, I ought to refer to R.E.M.’s “Beat A Drum” as a similar example of such lyrical usage.

“Beach Sequence”, then, is one of the most effectively cinematic tracks in the Passengers project, and as such fails only on the fact that the scene it aspires to portray isn’t really a gripping one – it doesn’t call for a song full of dynamics, suspense, or profundity, and in that sense it might as well have been called “Starbucks Setting”. Coming between the sci-fi of “A Different Kind of Blue” and the warzone in “Miss Sarajevo”, it’s an intriguing way to link those two scenarios, but in its own right, the song is merely good, not great.

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~ by 4trak on April 28, 2008.

One Response to “Beach Sequence”

  1. […] other songs off the Passengers album, particularly “Beach Sequence“, here we have a song with utterly minimal lyrics. Unlike “Beach Sequence”, where […]

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