Window In The Skies

U2 have become an odd sort of singles band in Europe during the 2000s; in the UK this was the fourteenth consecutive top 5 hit involving them (Original of the Species doesn’t count). That said, it also clearly says “single”, with the way it bursts in with immediate piano and vocals swiftly entering afterwards. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, much was naturally claimed at the time of a Beatles influence, which isn’t really true – at most there’s a greater-than-normal use of vocal harmonies, which wasn’t unusual in sixties rock generally, or, for that matter, Boy. What’s really odder is 3/4 time and the use of synth strings, which make the song both rhythmically and production-wise quite a shift from HTDAAB.

It’s the synth strings, actually, that are most confusing – they sound semi-obviously canned, and I can’t quite tell whether this is unabashed Romanticism Burial-style or a sign that the sentiments in the song aren’t entirely euphoric, that maybe we can’t see what love has done. The protagonist is also somewhat apologetic (Did everything but murder you and I) and thankful (And to love I rhapsodise). The titular window in the skies is obviously positioned high up, which logically means that some kind of ascent from a lower place has had to occur. The reversed piano note at the end also sounds somewhat wary, adding to the idea that, overall, the situation in the song is/was not good. It’s an interesting tension, although WITS, as this neatly acronyms to, can’t really be ascribed Classic status, merely ‘very good’. Certainly, it ends U218 on a high, and it is an effective closing of an era that started with the first top 5 hit in the run. Which, incidentally, was also piano-driven.

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~ by 4trak on August 12, 2008.

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