Wave of Sorrow (Birdland)

The remastered Joshua Tree‘s “single”, as it were, or probably more accurately selling point: a song that had languished in the vaults for two decades only to be finished off in 2007. Yet there’s something about the song that clearly marks both within the Tree era but not really album-worthy or fitting; it might be the use of piano and atmospherics, or it could just be that the lyrics are somewhat blunt. There’s also a sense that the music is somewhat backgrounded, that the song is a Joshua Tree “Stories For Boys” in its focus on vocals. In any event, it’s much easier to remember lyrical details than musical ones, which is disappointing, as the same is far from true of the song’s opposite, “Streets”.

As for those lyrics, where “Streets” is both poetic and with a positive agenda – instead of fixating on the suffering and wailing, it praised Ethiopians’ sense of community and stoicism. Here the focus is on the flipside, although I’d argue there are mixed results – Oh… oh this cruel sun/Is daylight never done/Cruelty just begun/To make a shadow of everyone seems particularly too charity-single-ish, although the And if the rain came refrain afterwards is affecting, as is the emphatic cry occurring on the word wave. There then follows, seemingly, Bono’s own set of beattitudes, although Blessed are the tin canned cardboard slums isn’t really a sentiment I can agree with; it sounds hollow and immaterial, a slightly more poetic “I feel your pain”. So, a hit-and-miss song, though it sounds fine enough when playing.

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~ by 4trak on August 14, 2008.

One Response to “Wave of Sorrow (Birdland)”

  1. Good write up

    I quite liked this music video, watching everyday NYC peoples reactions to U2 parading down the street on the back of a flatbed truck.

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