Original Of The Species

One of the issues U2 had in its 2000-2006 period was its overarching tendency to occupy a fairly limited tempo range, and after things get increasingly one-paced on HTDAAB, and increasingly quiet, and also increasingly death-focused (AIDS and cancer on those previous two tracks, incidentally) the band respond on track ten with “Original of the Species”. Things naturally have to get louder and more positive, or else the album slips into dark ambient or illbient soundscape (the latter doesn’t sound like that bad an idea, but all the same), and they do. The lyrics – And you feel like no-one before; Everywhere you go you shout it – are fairly obviously a paean to uniqueness and individuality, which makes the music a slight dilemma.

On the one hand, it’s more U2 than anything anybody else (that’d include Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol, and early Radiohead) has tried, but on the other hand it’s not necessarily unique in the U2 catalogue. There’s the cinematic element of the synth strings, chime of delayed guitar, and vigorous strum of acoustics, as well as the fairly wayward bass and rock-solid drumming. It’s not devoid of a Joshua Tree sway to it, either. You can probably identify all of U2 from Boy to ATYCLB in there, although tellingly all traces of Zooropa and Pop have been erased. The song thus scores on some, but not all points – it doesn’t really aid side two of HTDAAB‘s problem of single-paced malaise, but it shifts it emotionally and ups the volume, which makes it a reasonably effective remedy to the quiet contemplation of “One Step Closer“. Like slightly too much of the early C21st U2, it’s a song that’s short of classic in only a few respects, which can be both pleasing and annoying.

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~ by 4trak on July 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “Original Of The Species”

  1. You’re really cranking out the songs! Sorry more people haven’t posted. I enjoy what you are doing here.

    I never really got OTS until I heard it live on the Chicago DVD; and then saw that sorta trippy music video, and I began to like the song a lot more, probably in my top 6 or so on HTDAAB now.
    I think it fits in well on the track order.

  2. I have way too much free time, ’tis what it is. That said, there’s 200+ songs to be doing, so even at this pace the end’s still months away right now.

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