“(n) grace, saving grace, state of grace ((Christian theology) a state of sanctification by God; the state of one who is under such divine influence)”
definition from Princeton University.

Essentially a come-up-with-a-title-and-write-lyrics-around-it exercise, “Grace” is at the extreme end of the low-key attitude on ATYCLB that emerges during the album’s second half and in much of the b-sides. Perhaps the lyrical weakness is in the somewhat overly descriptive terms in which the subject is described. Naturally, we’re given this feminine analogy, a character who goes to work humbly without expecting reward, and whilst it’s a nice image, it doesn’t especially sustain for five and a half minutes. There’s that brief mention of karma, deemed as the opposite idea, that suggests an interesting discussion, debate or conflict of some kind, but this doesn’t unfurl, which is probably a mistake.

The gradually building music behind is quietly lovely, if a little circuitous, particularly in that ever-rotating and gentle (to the max?) guitar work. Barely-there drumming and a subtle glow of a synthesiser – and it really does, sonically, suggest some kind of background glowing – round out the production. Yet although there is the occasional repeated refrain, such as Grace finds goodness in everything and variations thereof, the whole song’s structure is really a slowly evolving one. Essentially, “Grace” is a good song, but not exactly one to rave about – it’s hard to imagine more than a handful of fans claiming that this is their “totally favouritest U2 song in teh world eva!!!” or some similar accolade. It’s only moderately thrilling, gripping or interesting, though, because it essentially shares too many similarities with its titular subject – namely that it’s too modest, humble and low-key to really make a big impression.


~ by 4trak on June 2, 2008.

3 Responses to “Grace”

  1. U2 do the down-beat last song thing very well: Mothers of the Disappeared, All I Want is You, MLK, 40 etc. I see Grace in that tradition (The Ground Beneath Her Feet is a bonus track so not the ‘real’ album closer), and it is a fine song, if a little ambient, as you say.
    The idea of travelling outside karma works for me: the idea of karma seems to suggest that eventually we get what we deserve, what goes around comes around; while grace offers a way out of the spiral– so this is a hopeful song on all levels.

  2. I don’t think it’s actually an outright bad song, so apologies to anyone reading that post and getting that impression. That said, I don’t think it’s quite on the level of the songs you’ve mentioned.

  3. […] song off ATYCLB; also, clearly, the most subtly-titled. That said, this is the album of “Grace” and “Walk On“, so it’s not like the album is about tiny lyrical niches, […]

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