Summer Rain

“Summer Rain” is a quiet, modest, somewhat (not entirely) acoustic b-side to “Beautiful Day” (hard to tell quite whether the band deliberately aligned those two songs on the same single, but neat enough either way), so the strangest thing about it is possibly the way that, to this blog writer’s ears at least, it seems to recall two entirely unrelated sources – one being U2 rockers of the previous ten years, and the other being Radiohead. Bono’s inversion of Thom Yorke’s “I lost myself” refrain (from “Karma Police”) from numb alienation to childlike joyousness may be an accident, as might be the “Just”-like opening of a (relatively) bare guitar, but the real stunt is how they combine “Elevation” and “The Fly” and come up with something quieter. Odd lot.

In particular, the Edge and Larry borrow from “Elevation”, Edge in particular adding distortion and tremolo to the insistent riff, along with guitar picking that sounds almost mandolin-like. Meanwhile, Adam utilises “The Fly”‘s bounding nature and Bono decides to use that listing-of-proverbs-and-random-advice device that he used backed in 1991, only here with less of a demented screen covering the sincerity of it. In addition, there’s an element of plain fantastic imagery (In a small boat on a generous sea, anyone?). The suspicion as to why it didn’t make ATYCLB, then, is possibly the somewhat scattershot nature of it, and it maybe serving as a base off which other songs grew. That said, even as an album outtake it seems very much in the album’s spirit, a low-key, well-produced but solid (actually, damn good) song that is aware of popular appeal but also tries its hand at odd, unusual or “unU2ish” timbres. And it really could have gone on the album, but where? The end, maybe? Track seven? OK, I’ve no idea. All that said, though, it shows that U2 sometimes obscure some really album-worthy tracks with b-side status. Although some admittedly won’t fit.

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~ by 4trak on July 29, 2008.

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