Out of Control

Released in September 1979 as the A-side to the Three EP, this is essentially as far back as recorded U2 goes, unless you start digging up old bootlegs of The Hype (in which case you should probably stop digging – you’d be moving into somewhat grim territory). It says something about the song that, after a further year of gathering songs, the band added this to the final Boy album over a year later. It also says something that the band’s first opening statement to the world that it lyrically explores an adolescent’s realisation of the somewhat deterministic idea that being born and dying have nothing to do with the individual. The slightly simplistic lyrics – Boys and girls/They go to school and girls/They make children – may be a part of the whole effect, although Bono’s apparent dislike of actually writing lyrics at the time suggests it may be underdeveloped songwriting. Overall, it’s his expression that really carries the weight of the song, particularly that crescendo out of the bridge, where he practically renders the title like a battle cry.

The other three also put in contemporarily strong performances, too. Edge is alternately heavy and light, picking notes delicately but thundering out riffs as the song gathers momentum. Said gathering of momentum is handled well by Larry and Adam – in particular those incredibly high bass notes at the end. It’s a solid song, then – and at least one that suggested the band was going places, unlike much of their 70s output. Incidentally, the band only played this 9 times amongst the resurrected Boy material during the Vertigo tour, although it got significantly more of an airing during the Elevation one four years previously.


~ by 4trak on May 20, 2008.

2 Responses to “Out of Control”

  1. it also says something about the band and the song that they play it live 30 years later. the intensity is there, the passion is there. only these guys have the integrity – as people and artists – to pull something like that off. i honestly cannot imagine any other band performing their first single without any nostalgic nod or wink to the audience. but i may be biased…

  2. […] 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 […]

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