One Step Closer

Aaah yes, a nice, slow ambient number about impending death. Actually, that makes “One Step Closer” sound overbearingly depressing, which it isn’t. And to be fair, the ambient side of the deal is decent enough – bell-like tones and distant clatters are joined by backing keyboards to make an appropriate soundtrack towards the situation at hand. Lyrically, the song focuses on both separation – I’m across the road from hope – and, yes, being out of control I can’t go forward, I can’t turn back/Can’t see the future/It’s getting away from me. In any event, the song’s real ace card is emotional gravitas, which given the lyrical subject it naturally has in spades.

“One Step Closer” is actually quite a significant song given the tracklisting of Bomb. It follows “Crumbs From Your Table”, which focuses on the AIDS crisis in Africa, and shrinks that down to the personal tragedy of watching a relative die from cancer. It then leads into “Original of the Species”, rewinding that ending into a positive, life-affirming beginning. Personally, I don’t think the song quite matches up to those either side of it, and it sounds like it’s trying to build up to a Big Moment that doesn’t arrive, ending up possibly slightly nondescript in terms of dynamics.

There’s also the fact that the song makes use of some of HTDAAB‘s excesses, namely the Rule-of-Three chorus and the desire to take the total uses of the word “heart” on the album up to that point to about 4,507. It’s also not a song that stands alone too well; it only really functions as part of the wider album, and given that HTDAAB isn’t as thematically consistent as the band’s 1987-1997 albums, the wisdom of such a role is questionable. That doesn’t make “One Step Closer” a bad song, though – it’s still easily worthy of the album it’s on, it’s just that it can’t really be separated from it either.

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~ by 4trak on May 10, 2008.

4 Responses to “One Step Closer”

  1. Incidentally, Bono is 48 today. A happy birthday to him.

  2. 1960: Bono and Stipe.
    Hold on world, coz you don’t know what’s coming…

  3. Ah, I see my icon is now inescapable. The symbol formerly known as milesy.

  4. […] ups the volume, which makes it a reasonably effective remedy to the quiet contemplation of “One Step Closer“. Like slightly too much of the early C21st U2, it’s a song that’s short of […]

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