Native Son

Effectively the beta version of “Vertigo”, this is thus important in revealing the working process – or would be, if it was that different. It’s fair to say that, quite simply, this is “Vertigo” with less immediacy but somewhat more edge; or, to be more accurate, more Edge, with more delay factoring into the opening guitar figures and a tumbling phrase that falls into the verses. Bono’s apparent complaint was that he couldn’t see himself singing this on tour over two years, and whilst “Vertigo” is an improvement, it’s probably not as much of one as Bono thinks.

That said, one of the problems is that the music and lyrics don’t really align, and don’t juxtapose too well either; the lyrics detail the issue of Leonard Peltier, the ‘native son’ of the title (Officer put down the gun/I never wanted to own one/Both of us want to be someone/Is it so hard for a native son to be free?), a relatively small-scale, particularistic issue, and whilst this can be broadened as a comment on how even the most supposedly free countries can have questionable approaches to human rights, it still doesn’t quite suit the crashing noise around it, making for a song that, whilst flowing well enough, is quite awkward, one whose lyrics demand focus whilst its music tries to take it away. Still, there’s that one particular moment that was, unfortunately, dropped – anyone who doubts the state of Bono’s voice really should hear it, towards the end, singing the word “free”. Either Bono really sings that, or it’s a piece of studio technology it’s past time I got from somewhere. Just because.

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~ by 4trak on August 16, 2008.

One Response to “Native Son”

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