Until The End Of The World

First of all, we precede this blog posting with an important news bulletin.

Secondly, it’s fairly obvious that this is about the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot as told in the Synoptic Gospels (well, not entirely obvious, but once it’s pointed out), referencing the Final Judgement and the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as what is presumably Judas’ regret afterwards (In my dream, I was drowning my sorrows/But my sorrows they learnt to swim). The song is, overall, kept to a very Biblical three verses, which are in turn kept to a slightly less Biblical eight/ten (first two/last) lines, unless You is too short a line; then we’re back at the Biblical seven.

The song was then not-very-Biblically-at-all submitted to Wim Wenders’ current film, whose soundtrack called for various artists (R.E.M. and Depeche Mode at the height of their fame, Talking Heads at the very end of their existance) to make the music they thought they’d make in 1999. Oddly enough – and this isn’t really a good or bad thing, just an apparent thing – U2, in making one of the more conservative songs musically from Achtung Baby, come closest amongst them and the aforementioned in nailing this, as its circular riff (how circular? Bittorrent [you won’t find it any other way] something called “I Feel Free”, which has the riff cycling round more repetitively just to prove it) has modern descendants in “Elevation” and “Vertigo”. By comparison, R.E.M.’s “Fretless” and Depeche Mode’s “Death’s Door” sound too contemporary, and Talking Heads simply split up, thus never having to risk proving themselves wrong.

To be fair, U2 weren’t anticipating an abandonment of guitar solos, with the one included here, whilst not quite as utterly necessary as those in “The Fly” and “Love Is Blindness”, manages nonetheless to sounds reasonably evocative of what’s coming in the third verse. Where “Until The End of the World” truly comes alive, though, is live (see link above), because the build – which can only sound so chaotic on record, becomes amplified amidst the also-chaotic-and-mad ZooTV. Where “Zoo Station” had its static opening, and “The Fly” had its mass of slogans (including BELIEVE, which always seemed to be an interesting exposure of a linguistic oddity), “Until The End of the World” featured flashing lights and either footage of various disasters – tornados, floods, lightning storms and war all flashing quickly as if to suggest it all tumbling upon the planet in an apocalyptic scenario, i.e. the end of the world – or else rapidly flashing numbers and dates marking such things as the assassination of MLK and Bloody Sunday.

“Until The End of the World” isn’t necessarily the best song from Achtung Baby; indeed, many of the singles beat it, and it’s slightly too conservative by either U2 standards or by standards of rock in general (Edge happens to play a Les Paul rather than his usual Explorer on this song, which slightly adds to this feeling) to push it to the very top too. That said, it’s still a great song, even if it is one with the unfortunate task of having to follow “One”.


~ by 4trak on September 29, 2008.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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: