Walk On

A song that has actually gotten more relevant throughout this decade, not just in the way it happened to resonate in the US after the 9/11 attacks, but also with how the song’s subject, languishing in 2000 and for some years onwards in relative Western anonymity, suddenly returned to news headlines with the Burma uprisings last year. Aung San Suu Kyi’s push for democracy was only underlined by the shoddy management of this year’s Cyclone Nargis by the ruling junta. As for the song itself, which is nominally the title track of ATYCLB, it’s lyrically split effectively into an intro, body and outro, almost like some kind of (somewhat poetic) essay or article. Perhaps part of what underlined the press attitude of “return to Joshua Tree sound” is that outro, in fact, which echoes the listing style during the build on “Bad”.

Perhaps the other reason “Walk On” invokes the Joshua Tree is that it’s probably the first song off ATYCLB that uses the Joshua Tree guitar sound – relatively mid-to-high on the fretboard, extremely clean, “shiny” tone, sparse use of chords, and the same 3/16 bar delay rate used on the likes of “Streets”. Elsewhere it’s the usual All mid-tempo, use of ambient production and slightly oddly metallic or echoey beats during the intro. Oh, and the sort of vocal harmonies that turn up in Zooropa‘s ballads. Silly journalists. Ultimately, the song reached #5 in the UK, not bad for a fourth single, and the song is good enough to warrant a degree of success. It’s not quite enough to deserve the ultimate veneration it received, though, in turning up on U218. The best sixteen songs U2 have put out, and this is one of them? Not quite.


~ by 4trak on June 17, 2008.

2 Responses to “Walk On”

  1. I would disagree with you…I think this is one of U2’s best songs. I did win the grammy for record of the year in 2002. But I do agree with you on how the song sounds “Joshua Treeish”. I don’t think this song works very well live, but a great album song.

  2. […] 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, details and avenues. Music, […]

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