Red Light

It can take a while to actually realise this, but War is actually the first U2 album to actually have properly augmented arrangements on it; where, essentially, the production got slightly fancy. Sure, there was occasional piano on October, and the Uilleann pipes on “Tomorrow”, but that involved the grand operation of calling in one man. Boy is essentially barren when it comes to anything outside of drums, bass, guitar and vocals. War is, then, perhaps the sign that U2 were starting to float free of the original Boy template, suggesting that the shift on The Unforgettable Fire was semi-inevitable.

“Red Light” is really the biggest display of this. With a trumpet and three backing singers, it’s positively opulent considering this era of the band, and thus neatly covers the lyrical theme of prostitution. That said, the band isn’t that subtle at this stage, as the title shows; in any event, there’s a certain funk to the bass and enough of a (very vague) disco stomp to the drumming to make this song possibly the most danceable on the album. To give continuity, there’s also Edge’s War sound, that almost chiming distortion owing to the allowance of the chords to ring onwards.

As already mentioned, there’s a blatant reference to prostitution in the title, but apparently the song also draws from Taxi Driver, namely developing a character who – wouldn’t ya just know it? – commits suicide. If Bono is to be believed in a 1984 issue of U2 Magazine. There’s more of these damn references than you realise, it seems.


~ by 4trak on June 7, 2008.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: