It’s totally reasonable to expect that, by 1981, U2 would have been familiar with the current Talking Heads albums, the likes of Fear of Music and its African-sounding opener “I Zimbra” (all of this, almost certainly not coincidentally, with production from Brian Eno). In any event, something presumably informs the almost tribal-like chug of “Fire”, and its confident stance. Bono in particular sounds like he’s got more of a plan than with much of October, and there’s a general radio-readiness to it. There’s also a lack of preaching and religiosity, at least overtly. Ultimately, then, it’s no great shock that this was U2’s first UK hit, albeit at #35.

The song also seems to possess a more sophisticated dynamic, moving from the shifting verses to the building chorus to the confident (and rare from Edge) solo. That said, this would suggest that the song’s a slick operation, and with early U2 that’s never going to be the case – especially considering this is still a band that adds rolling, rattling noises to the outro as sound effects, instead of voguish keyboards. Even as Bono constructs the Book-of-Revelation imagery of stars falling down, he also adds the odd, apparent non-sequitur of I’m going home to the end of the chorus. Unless this is part of Revelation’s imagery¬† it’s damn confusing. Come to think of it, if it is it’s still damn confusing. In any event, even as the song fails to go without a hitch it’s still one of the standouts of the October album.


~ by 4trak on July 18, 2008.

2 Responses to “Fire”

  1. This song was recorded separately from the October sessions. It was recorded in Nassau on a mini vacation/work session at Chris Blackwell’s place. Since this was before the frought October sessions and possibly even before the loss of the lyric ideas in Portland (not sure about that though) it is understandably more together than the rest of the album. As for the I’m coming home line that could refer to them heading home to Dublin or coming home as in coming home to God which could fit in better with Revelations.

  2. The earlier comment referred already to Fire being ready before the October sessions. With the Boy remaster it even became obvious that U2 were playing with this song musically even earlier. As part of this song is featured at the end of the Boy album. Albeit in another garb, called Saturday Night.

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