Corpse (These Chains Are Way Too Long)

The Edge’s voice is a strange one; on “Seconds” it sounds almost identical to Bono’s, but over time it’s altered to become a kind of negative, a flipside of U2’s main vocalist. He acquires his own vocal lead on the Passengers album, and on this ghostly song his slightly nasal quality and high usage of falsetto almost make him sound like a deregionalised Damon Albarn. There’s also something slightly 60s about the vocal melody, although what you imagine might be a Phil Spector beat behind is slowed down beyond comprehension, along with the slow organ, waving bass and spare guitar.

In effect, we’re dealing with a scenario not unlike “Slug” – but where in that song the protagonist was seeing time slow down in order for him to utilise a bit of mental space, here the protagonist is trapped in a never-ending scenario, and no amount of thought will escape it. There’s a suggestion in the lyrics of friends and lovers departing – possibly an individual, then, who has completely alienated him/herself. In “Slug” there’s an effort to get closer, but in “Corpse” there’s only a moving away. Indeed, this is the penultimate vocal track on the album, and “Elvis Ate America” is seemingly also a contemplation on isolation. Not that there’s a particular narrative on OS1, but these final two tracks are nonetheless a long way from the community of Sarajevo on track 7.

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~ by 4trak on June 26, 2008.

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