Neon Lights

With strongly played chords, crooning vocal, jazzy bass and pattering beats, along with the occasional effects, it’s almost possible to think U2 wrote this themselves; of course, what gives it away is the minimalist lyrics, a single verse over and over as the music unfolds. The idea of slow, linear unfolding music, of course, is a common thing both to Kraftwerk (much of the time) and U2 (some of the time, such as “Bad” or “All I Want Is You”), which goes some way to explaining the naturalness of this cover. Starting with a digital whine, the initial chord hits, and that seemingly ‘triggers’ a low-passed hip-hop drum machine and a rippling noise. This drum machine and the drums interweave, as do the keyboards and piano, a mix of organics and electronics that effectively modernises the song (all-electronic being, well, slightly old).

There’s one more obvious point to make about this song, which is namely its rationale: clearly, there’s a link to “City of Blinding Lights” here, although Kraftwerk’s sparse observations (Neon lights/Shimmering neon lights/And at the fall of night/This city’s made of lights) make for somewhat less of a scene, to an extent where the listener need effectively fill in the gaps, compared to “City of Blinding Lights”‘ big, grand scene full of detail. This is, essentially, U2 attempting small-scale, and it turns out that, over twenty years since “October”, they’re still good at it.


~ by 4trak on August 17, 2008.

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