Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

1995 wasn’t strictly an album year for U2 (at least, not in the recognised sense of having an album with “U2” on the cover), but it might as well have been – a side project and a slew of other material provided enough publicity. And the major single release was this, a big glammed-up goodbye of sorts to the ZooTV era that decided to take the spirit of those times to big, melodramatic extremes. Pulsing and flashing synthesisers, swirling strings, the big four-strum main riff, and a slick rhythm section made for a song that actually ended up being more thrilling than the film it soundtracked. Oh, and the vocal processing that suggests that The Fly is speaking here, probably about show business, given the lines They want you to be Jesus/They’ll go down on one knee/But they’ll want their money back if you’re alive at 33 (cue comment of Kurt Cobain’s death just over a year earlier), underlined with the sexual suggestion of the title/chorus. It’s a fairly standard interlacing of metaphors, although it is delivered in suitably deranged and dramatic fashion to make the song worthy of single release.

It’s possibly Edge’s uncharacteristically bashing riff that’s probably most memorable, though, turning into a string motif at the end that flutters away like Batman himself. It’s this sheer cinematic sweep that gives the song impact, along with Larry Mullen’s good opening on the drums, and overall this is possibly among the best non-album U2 songs going. In addition, the video should also be mentioned; whilst it’s partly the usual film-spliced-with-band format that many soundtrack-song-singles’ videos had at the time, it also has the MacPhisto v. Fly battle that’s suggested in the song. It’s essentially another part of the run of great videos that wouldn’t be broken until “Staring At The Sun”. It’s also a reminder of music’s currently somewhat non-visual nature, too; none of the surrealist, absurdist or plain bizarre videos of the band’s 1991-1997 period would be around today due to lack of cost-effectiveness. Damn business. I suppose I was warned…

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~ by 4trak on June 30, 2008.

One Response to “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”

  1. […] phasings. And it’s further evidence, along with “Last Night on Earth” and “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” that the Edge around this time was seriously determined to put away the delay pedal, and as […]

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