Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

Obvious things out of the way first: one, this should have been simply titled “Stuck In A Moment”, but somehow the band got mired in Joshua Tree syndrome and made an essay of the title. Two, as anyone who cares about this song knows, it’s about Michael Hutchence’s (of INXS fame) suicide, which occurred in 1997. Yet the song is all the more brilliant for how it deals with the issue – it could wallow in grief or become clumsily literal, but it does neither. It actually takes quite a braver stance, a kind of “why the f*ck d’ya do that?” attitude, annoyed that someone could throw it all away – I never thought you were a fool/But darling look at you. In that sense, it’s a more honest ballad than a straightforward outpouring of grief would be, and by adding that anger it’s a more realistic look at the aftermath of suicide. Of course, this angle could have gone too far, but it’s to Bono’s credit that it doesn’t, actually making him the strong link in this song.

As for the music, being piano driven doesn’t make it unique in the U2 canon, although the idea that only every third chord was kept from the original probably is. It works, too, because three times the harmonic tempo within the song would probably have rendered it a cluttered mess. What is different, too, is those chords themselves – all definite major and minor triads (mostly A, E and C#m) as opposed to the fifths and suss chords usually favoured. Not as conventional a song as it sounds, then, and certainly much better for it, proof positive that U2 can often be at their best taking the risks that were mostly absent on HTDAAB.

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~ by 4trak on July 26, 2008.

2 Responses to “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”

  1. This is one my personal favorites from U2. And its also the song that introduced me to U2. Not the best song they recorded, but I love to listen to it. I agree, its so honest and somewhat straightforward. I think it works great as a album song, but not live. I watched the Boston and Slane Castle performances, and it just doesn’t seem to work. But an excellent song overall though.

  2. […] added. What’s really different and exotic, however, is the same tactic employed by “Stuck In A Moment“, namely the use of definite major and minor triads in roughly equal measure, appropriate for […]

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