Yahweh

One of the biggest criticisms of HTDAAB upon release (and subsequently) was that it was an overly classicist work, more so than ATYCLB in trying to reach back to the 1980s. It also somewhat cut out the darkness that marks most, if not all previous albums, which means that at its worst, or listened to at the wrong time, the album can seem excessively epic, somewhat sappy, and too familiar.

“Yahweh” is one of those songs to which such charges are easy to level – Edge using a pretty standard delay, and Bono, for fuck’s sake, not just singing about God, but effectively titling the song “God” too. Adding further to all this is the ‘list’ format of the verses that’s cropped up elsewhere (“Bad”, “Walk On”) and uses #2,047-#2,983 of the word “heart” during the album.

This potentially makes “Yahweh” utter dreck of the highest order, (and also the poorest album closer – official album closer, at least since “Is That All?”), so it’s to the band’s credit that it isn’t. Yet the feeling that the band is literally sticking to well-worn themes and ideas also means the song is never great either, merely sounding like a well-produced song that is in all probability by U2. There is, however some tension in mentioning a “dark before the dawn”, a “dead end street”, and a soul being “stranded”, all of which give the song a slight sense that, yes, the protagonist still hasn’t found what he’s looking for (although the increased reverence, twenty years on, suggests that he’s one step closer to it).

There’s also that section a heathen might refer to as “the good bit” after the last line of this love is like a drop in the ocean, and to be fair, the spiralling-upwards-to-a-dizzy-height feel of it is, as good bits go, very good.

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~ by 4trak on April 30, 2008.

4 Responses to “Yahweh”

  1. It’s interesting how some people find U2 too ‘religious’ at times, while some church people I know find them ‘not Christian enough’. I guess I try to appreciate the songs for what they are, whether they are more explicit, or less; and whether I share the perspecive of the singer or not; an alternative example would be REM’s Undertow, which I think is a great song, even while I don’t share all of Michael Stipes views on ‘heaven’ and ‘religion’.

  2. I don’t necessarily find U2 ‘too’ religious: a good half their songs tend to be secular, and most of the other half will have the one Bible quote that’s a fancy turn of phrase. The only time I personally find it wearing is on October (predictably enough), where Bono seems all too happy to imply that the Christian God practically exists as scientific fact, and Christianity as a religion is just self-evident. It seems to just sap songs of all tension and conflict.

    That said, I’m getting through October fast enough in any event, so more details in the (midterm) future.

  3. I agree with both comments, sometimes U2 seems “too” religious. Sorta with “Still Haven’t Found What I Am Looking For”, and other songs, aren’t religious at all. Yahweh is an alright song, not the worst, but not the best. And I agree, a bad closer song.

  4. I really liked this one when they played it on the Vertigo Tour. Hearing it live made me like it a lot more.

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