Two Hearts Beat As One

War gets increasingly bleak lyrically over the second half, even as it musically becomes softer, so inevitably a song like “Two Hearts” becomes not merely balance, but an obvious requirement. Indeed, this was in fact a single from the album, more widely promoted at the time than “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, something that maybe seems bizarre twenty-five years on. Whilst “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and this song may both seem to be talking about Northern Ireland, though, this is apparently a case of overanalysing, and it does seem to simply be a simple love song. There isn’t really a narrative or prescriptive, either; it’s more attempting to be explanatory. Yet there’s signs of lyrical subtlety – almost unthinkable on the War album, but it’s there – in the lines I don’t get the answers right/I’ll leave that to you. Where the previous six songs are confident in their message, this conveys doubt, and whilst the song isn’t a lyrical masterpiece, it is a sign of future ones to come.

As for the music, it’s still the hardened format of the first side, but instead of stomp, it’s more rushing in its tone. There’s that opening roll of the drums which suggests something vaguely October-like, but the whole four minutes race along, determined to reach a final staggering climax that forms the endpoint. Overall, the song’s very good indeed, possibly in the second tier of the U2 canon, but it’s also often forgotten and relegated to the eight songs that didn’t become individually huge on the War album.

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~ by 4trak on June 23, 2008.

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