The Hands That Built America

…and so U2, under their U2 banner, soundtrack their sixth film in eleven years. Yet here they possibly do it in the most traditional way; certainly this isn’t the barnstormer that is “Until The End of the World”, the odd drift of “Stay” or the glam of “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”. I could go on, but the point is that Gangs of New York seemingly demanded less of the band, and the resulting “The Hands That Built America” is in turn less demanding on the listener. This isn’t a terrible thing, but it’s somewhat disappointing considering the previous decade of efforts produced some of U2’s most startling, odd, interesting and quite possibly best songs; the high-end piano and strings seem to open this too tastefully, the acoustic strumming seems too lifted from “Staring At The Sun”, and the operatic vocal in the middle, whilst impressive (showing exactly how much Bono has gone from the artful shouting of his teenage years to genuine singing), is nonetheless taken from “Miss Sarajevo”.

The song itself is a fairly good construction of unfolding majesty and tension, though, and it would work at the start of a film. Perhaps the biggest problem is perspective; “Stay” is good enough to fit alongside “Lemon”, but “Hands” isn’t good enough to fit alongside the likes of “One”, as it does on Best Of 1990-2000. This isn’t a bad or cringeworthy song, but it is somewhat functional – indeed, I almost entirely forgot to include this on the blog, which is revealing. Good, but only if the listener lowers any expectations based on past form.


~ by 4trak on August 9, 2008.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: