Fast Cars

It might be fair to say that American fans get a raw deal with HTDAAB, having the album end on the far-from-great “Yahweh”. In the UK and Japan, where fans otherwise get ripped off pricewise, they pay extra and get several seconds of silence afterwards. Oh, and then a song that also b-sided “Sometimes…”, that song being “Fast Cars”. And quite simply, it ends up being one of the best songs on the album, even as the band technically left it off, and it’s better pulled off than its predecessor “Xanax and Red Wine”. It’s also the logical endpoint to U2’s increasing acoustic angle, a bluntly attacking thing with a powerful bassline and slamming drum part. It is, quite simply, the point where dynamic range compression is warranted; possibly also the only acoustic song that springs to mind where mastering personnel free of label pressure should whack up the levels of it, too.

And indeed Bono himself is warlike in the vocal department, singing quickly enough to border on rapping, only here there’s no need for the inevitable guest soul singer on the chorus, because Bono can do that too. Lyrically there’s obviously an allusion to Iraq and Afghanistan, something that otherwise went little mentioned during the general period of the album. Here the conflict isn’t given explicit judgement, but there’s a strong impression here (Don’t you worry about your mind, There is no fiction/That will truly fit the situation) of negativity, that no-one should be put in such a situation. It’s also a song that elaborates on the brief mention of conflict in “Love And Peace Or Else” – thus foregrounding another aspect to the album, truly adding to the album in a way maybe some of the less effective songs on the album can’t. Raw deal? Definitely. But there’s always the single, and there’s always the Internet, to add what is surely a missing piece.

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~ by 4trak on July 27, 2008.

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