A song with this title coming four years after “Stay” is probably not a coincidence, but even so the two are vastly different. “Gone” is, if anything, most in kinship with “Even Better Than The Real Thing”, lyrically (I’ll be up with the sun/I’m not coming down v. We’re free to fly the crimson sky) and musically (the upward sweep of EBTTRT v. the lifting shriek of “Gone”). Yet here the pace is slower, the drums hitting a sort of weird hip-hopism instead of the Achtung single’s charge. The bass also bounces and bends about, leading to an undercurrent not so much of darkness but unease. It’s most fitting, then, that the PopMart gig after Michael Hutchence’s death saw this song used for the dedication.

Indeed, the lyrics do seem to depict an individual somewhat of excess, embroiled possibly too far in showbiz, explaining away certain sacrifices a little too easily (You change your name/But that’s OK, it’s/Necessary). The “change your name” line clearly implies that Bono is very much speaking to himself, even as he ensures the song does not remain too specific. There’s also the repeated mention of a “suit of lights”, which seems to be a sly reference to the avaricious nature of Mirrorball Man from the previous ZooTV tour.

As if to underline this point, amidst the howling, wind-like backing, slices of guitar and rhythm section, a delicate piano enters from the first chorus, threading its way throughout the rest of the song almost like a separate piece. At the end, as if sheer panic and emotion has taken over utterly, that piano gets lost. It’s clearly a feature the band like, too – during the Pop section of the History Mix (on the DVD of Best Of 1990-2000, for those unaware) this is seemingly referenced by Edge playing a honky-tonk piano before a shot of PopMart and “Please” playing. The voiceover happens to be, “the man you are looking at is caught up in the world of non-reality”. Which may well, in fact, sum up the song quite nicely.

The New Mix is not a lot different and not really any better.


~ by 4trak on August 4, 2008.

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