Stories For Boys

Sensing that a huge hit of theirs was a mere twenty-five years off, U2 decided that the sensible option was to give it a good and thorough drafting first. Admittedly, the only lyrics they kept were Hello, hello, and the music is retained even less, but the effort was probably worth it.

OK, so I joke about the “Vertigo” connection; really, this is the second track of the Three EP, as was effectively voted for by the Irish public, and as such it follows on from “Out of Control” on the album. Yet I’d possibly argue that it is the equal of the song it follows on both releases, its main distinction coming from its vocal harmonies, which loom larger than normal here. The instruments seem to be further back, slightly as if the voices are more important that any other element.

The vocals, however, are possibly more abstract here than on the rest of Boy. The title implies the youthful theme of the album, but being an older song naturally meant Bono’s reluctant attitude towards actual lyric-writing leads to a long titular coda, and the title also takes up fair chunks of the chorus too, despite the fact that this song is barely more than three minutes long. Overall, it’s clear that the single phrase, Stories for boys, is simply a sole, fixated detail, along with that soaring backing. The other major phrase is There’s a place I go, echoing somewhat the “Into The Heart” sentiment of I can go there. Essentially, what “Stories For Boys” does is establish the central themes of the album, namely that childhood is, effectively, a place; not necessarily physical, more in memory, in cognitive process. That the song happens to be in the dead centre of the album is an inspired piece of tracklisting.

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~ by 4trak on August 8, 2008.

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