Wire

Between the title track of The Unforgettable Fire and its big hit “Pride” lies a bit of an oddity. Speaking of the album, Bono said back in 1985 that “it can be a consuming force… it can be the drug heroin… It can be the song “Wire.”” Yet this is no “Bad”; instead it’s a rushing, nimbly shifting piece, with that strange opening riff that seems to blur the line between guitar and piano (presumably either high-fretted or beyond-the-neck guitar work). There’s also that slightly brash guitar, and that looping bass that slightly recalls “New Year’s Day”, working in short bursts of notes. In any event, a rush of odd textures speeds by, and most oddly there’s no chorus, suggesting an improvisation at work.

It’s more successful than “Elvis Presley And America“, however; where that song wasn’t lyrically strong, tending to be repetitive and unenlightening, “Wire” invokes all kinds of images. Being on drugs is a gamble – Here we are again now/Place your bets. Or it’s like being Deep inside a cold fire. Or it’s Such a nice day [to]/Throw your life away. Or you’re, more literally, In some white track. In any event, it’s clear what the narrator/Bono thinks – it’s not really a gamble at all, whatever he says, it’s flat out stupid. “Wire” doesn’t necessarily succeed through lyrical coherency, though – the lyrics are too opaque to send out the message of “Don’t Use Heroin”, and as such it simply becomes a timbrally interesting punk-like thrash, which stops it from being as remembered as the songs surrounding it.

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~ by 4trak on July 19, 2008.

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