Gloria/In te domine/Gloria/Exultate
– Chorus.

Well, no-one should need me to figure out what this one’s about, given that chorus and several Bible quotes lobbed in for good measure. Yet it also requires little intellectual effort to figure out how this didn’t follow-up “Fire” and instead hit #55 in the UK and #81 in the US, the kind of chart positions that can more readily be associated with R.E.M. at that time. “Gloria” is an incredibly devout song, making its opening lines about not being able to communicate effectively sound like the narrator is trembling before the Lord Almighty, when Bono’s well-documented lyric issues are probably more the cause. Thus begins October‘s great God theme, the proselytising that is perhaps the one biggest factor in October being voted the 41st greatest album of anyone by CCM Magazine, and often the 12th best U2 album by others.

From a secular viewpoint, however, it’s possible to agree that Gloria has definite merits, the main one of which is masterful use of dynamics that predate grunge’s obsession with them, and are somewhat smarter than a simple loud chorus/quiet verse setup. The band enters casually, as if they’ve been playing for half an hour beforehand (given U2, this is entirely possible) and thus proceed to up the energy, utilising the usual Boy area of tempo. It then all drops away for the choruses, ramps up for the verses, and then drops right back for the bridge, winding up the tension, with Edge false-starting with the odd reverbed chord. Then the whole thing lets rip in a mass of vocal harmony. Good stuff, only bettered/improved/tainted/ruined with the lyrics (delete according to personal belief).


~ by 4trak on June 18, 2008.

2 Responses to “Gloria”

  1. […] a driving, if not particularly aggressive, guitar riff, making for a keen and rushing start. “Gloria” starts October with a quiet but building number, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” […]

  2. […] or closing tracks too badly – even as October stands easily as their weakest offering, “Gloria” is a standout amongst it, and “Is That All?” is an ambitious but ultimately […]

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