If God Will Send His Angels

Personally, I think one of Pop‘s problems at the time was simply (I say simply – it was a complex issue) an issue of marketing. First of all, they were pitching, to their biggest market at least (America), a style of music that didn’t fit in with the zeitgeist. And given that the US has been discophobic since punk arrived, no level of amazingness would have saved an electronica crossover album over there. Then came the videos and singles – the one to “Discotheque” was awesome, but the one to “Staring At The Sun” was a shocker. By the time “Last Night On Earth” rolled around in July, the album had been out for three months and sales were drying up. The Big Mo was gone.

Finishing this list of marketing blunders, then, is this. “If God Will Send His Angels” is not a bad song, although it doesn’t stand up to the four singles that were released ahead of it. The thing is, though, is that it’s a song that is bitter about Christmas, tying in an alienation from consumer culture with an anger at God and his apparent absence that is present over much of the rest of the album. The two themes inevitably cross with how religion gets commercialised – then they put Jesus in show business/Now it’s hard to get in the door, lines that are surely a bash in part at televangelism. It’s essentially, then, the worst single to put out on December 8th (or possibly any time at all, given its inability to give either religious or secular audiences a feelgood factor), no doubt shown by its chart positions – none in the US or Canada, and #11 in Ireland (weirdly, #14 in the UK).

As for the music, opening with gently pulsing wah tones makes for an unorthodox way of starting what is essentially a ballad, but it’s interesting enough with its dynamics, building and building until a jet-plane whooshing introduces the chorus. The bassline, meanwhile, sounds like some jet-lagged, world-weary version of the one to “New Year’s Day”, appropriate for the tone of the song. The guitar typically rings out but sounds somewhat more desolate than the typical U2 song. Oddly, the drums sound almost hip-hop in their level of swing, which provides a neat counterpoint. “IGWSHA” is a strong song then, but it’s beaten by much of Pop; it doesn’t really compete with the opening 16 minutes, “Last Night on Earth”, or the last three songs, for example, being merely good amongst brilliance.

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~ by 4trak on May 11, 2008.

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