Surrender

“Surrender” is naturally a song title you should have towards the end of an album entitled War, and indeed the song is high on functional purpose too. It’s effectively the big swelling hurrah, a song to provide a bit of what I’ll dub U2phoria (terrible, but it’ll have to do), the quality that often turns in spades on side one of The Joshua Tree but is often lacking within the bleak tone of War. At five and a half minutes, it’s pretty much tied with “New Year’s Day” as the longest song on the album, and actually makes reasonably good use of that space, sticking in a mass of vocal harmony, both the old Edge delay and the Edge 2.0 punk style that’s across War in general, a rhythm that doesn’t quite stomp and swing in any major way but still possesses a fair degree of pull, some children singing the coda, and the most cowbell usage you’ll hear U2 utilise outside of “Discotheque”. Naturally, underneath all this is a lyric that isn’t quite as uplifting.

Essentially, “Surrender” is, to quote its lyricist, about how “you’ve got to learn to let go in order to really live.” There’s a slight hint of suicidal thought in protagonist Sadie, which echoes back to the more morbid themes within Boy, an appropriate full circle given the way U2’s first three albums do effectively form a trilogy of Very Important Themes. It’s thus a well-placed, well executed and good song, although not quite able to compete with the titans towards the start of the album.

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~ by 4trak on May 28, 2008.

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