Promenade

Three songs along from the roar of “Pride” comes “Promenade”, a song which, considering the usual characterisation of 1980s U2, would seem remarkably low-key. Longtime fans should know better – following it is “4th of July”, which is even lower-key. “Promenade”, though, is more structured, and is essentially side one of The Unforgettable Fire in miniature. Packed into two and a half minutes are contemplations of love, affectionate nods towards America (the Coca-Cola/football/radio, radio, radio, radio… coda) and the proto-Joshua Tree geographic imagery talking of moving to a “higher ground”. It’s a lyric that’s remarkably more sophisticated than it sounds, yet Bono sings it very naturally, as if he’s done this kind of flitting between reference and topic for years.

Maybe it is, in fact, due to the more subconscious feel of the song; the main element in it is bass, and the guitar is there just to sparkle, as if it’s the spotlights that the protagonists dance in. Larry, too, offers up the perfect example of how contrasted with War this album is – the drumming is truly the polar opposite of “Sunday Bloody Sunday”‘s opening crash, or “Like A Song”‘s outro thundering. It’s essentially the proof the band were looking for after War that they could, in fact, be a whole different entity, and not indeed merely the next Led Zeppelin. A remarkable song.

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~ by 4trak on July 10, 2008.

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