A Day Without Me

I would say that this is yet another U2 song on suicide, but chronologically it’s actually the first in a bizarrely long line of U2 songs that reference the issue. The other strange one is drugs; clearly, even if Bono isn’t about to go out in a fiery drug-fuelled spectacle anytime soon, he’s clearly interested in the sort of people who do. In this case, we have a specific individual who apparently inspired this: Ian Curtis of Joy Division, who’d ended it all three months before this came out as a single. Given that Joy Division’s legacy has only increased over time, it’s fair to say that the song was/is remarkably prescient in its choice of topic, however well executed.

As for the execution, it starts effectively with that slightly dubby guitar reverb, although musically it doesn’t get much more interesting. The flat, dry drumming is an interesting and Joy Division-y touch, though, along with that slightly high bass. Edge also utilises some neatly sci-fi phasing effects now and again, whilst also occasionally pitching the riffs very high – at peak, it seems, on fret 17 of the B string, in all probability inside the top octave of a guitar’s range – as if to cry out in pain. Maybe it’s just the whole production values and natural composition of the band on Boy and that era, though, but it seems like there’s something oddly bouncy and upbeat about this song, even whilst the lyrics are obviously fairly morbid. Even so, Starting a landslide in my ego is a great line.

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~ by 4trak on June 9, 2008.

One Response to “A Day Without Me”

  1. This song is solid but not amazing, but I was not aware of the Ian Curtis connection with the lyrics. However, that said anyone with ears and a knowledge of rock history would have to know that early U2 were obviously familiar with (and even liked/respected) Joy Division. Sometimes, in the U2 as biggest-band-in-the-world, version we get of them now with political crusades and spacious anthems it is easy to forget that their origins are in the same early 80’s post-punk scene that Joy Division, Gang of Four, Comsat Angels, etc. came out of – U2 just survived and evolved rather than burning themselves out; maybe because of their faith in God, whereas most of their post-punk peers were rather nihilistic.

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