As has been well-documented (on this blog alone), the lyrics on October are all improvised, which certainly explains “Scarlet”; all there is here lyrically is the word “rejoice“, let out like a long cry (it’s slightly odd that this isn’t titled “Rejoice”, that name instead going to an earlier song on the album). Heavily reverbed, it sounds like a calling across the hills. It’s reasonably effective, but one word in isolation doesn’t convey any real detail, and as such, the song is essentially an instrumental to all extents and purposes.

As for the music, the vaguely Joy Division-ish tone behind all of U2’s early stuff bears down slightly harder here, although it’s the softer Joy Division, the one of more obscure album tracks instead of those heavy hitters in the region of “She’s Lost Control”. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a soft, weaker version of that sound; instead of the dubbish drums and weird intermingling of bass and guitar, there’s something almost overly tasteful going on here, something that vaguely brings to mind Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross“. The guitar and piano ring out in a clean, precise manner, the bass lopes about, and the ever-present military-esque drumming continues. “Scarlet” isn’t outright terrible, and there’s nothing to make any listener squirm, but it’s possibly the last track anyone listening to October would rave about. (Prove me wrong, kids. Prove me wrong!).


~ by 4trak on June 5, 2008.

2 Responses to “Scarlet”

  1. Oh man; I do have to admit, I’ve always kind of liked this one…

  2. Rave on, milesy! I’m kind of been in between about this one. I mean, I recently skipped over it, after years and years of hearing it in its place on October, and I genuinely missed it. Yet, as a stand alone, does it hold up? Well, if you don’t like instrumentals, probably not. I’ve always felt it was one of those unique U2 experiences. Sort of a throbbing, groggy, fog-washed interlude that wakes you up to the morning after. I can think of a lot worse.

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