New York

The longest song off ATYCLB; also, 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, however, is a different matter. ATYCLB is one of those albums that seem to be predominantly rock balladry, but hint at other things, and here we’ve got this vaguely hip-hop drum loop from Larry that circles round and round repeatedly, like it’s lost in the metropolis of wobbling synth lines and sparse guitar work. Of course the whole thing breaks into proper rock, only occasionally bringing forth the usual U2 delay – instead it just sounds driving and purposeful, something vaguely War-like, or possibly a “Vertigo” prototype. The standout, perhaps, is the final verse, after which there’s that oddly dimmed and fading echo of the song – merely the title and an arpeggio.

Coming off the back of an increasingly tame run of songs, “New York” is well placed – it arguably provides the necessary power to blast the album to the finish. It’s not the greatest song on the album, but for what it does, it’s reasonably effective, arguably more so than the previous two, possibly three songs before it. It’s also a good showcase for ATYCLB as an album – it’s not as screaming-from-the-rooftops as much of the 80s output, but it adds in everything U2 has done over twenty years. Perhaps ultimately, “New York” shows both the advantages and disadvantages of veteran groups – it’s more sophisticated, but at the same time, not as immediate as it could have been fifteen years earlier.

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~ by 4trak on June 27, 2008.

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