“High, higher than the sun, you shoot me from a gun,” words guaranteed to get everyone jumping. It didn’t get much playtime during Innocence + Experience, only ten times in 36 shows, but I did get to see it once in Chicago.
My favorite story about this song comes from my sister-in-law. When the song was released her son was three, and she (a big U2 fan) would listen to it repeatedly in the car. At some point one night she heard noise from his room, went and listened and he was laying in bed singing “a mole, digging in a hole” over and over. That’s the perfect kind of indoctrination we should be giving our kids, right? What worked for my son was taking him to a couple of shows in Chicago, he’s been singing U2 in the shower ever since (mostly Miracle, every now and then Song For Someone or Cedarwood Road).
Elevation is one of those songs that grabs you and won’t let go. It’s a perfect song for a crowd, because it is light and easy to get the lyrics, to listen to the bounce, and to roll with it. At the very least the crowd can sing the “ooo-ooo” as many times as they want. That’s what makes it a popular song with the public, makes it stand out in a crowd you might say. And it certainly does, I think it is one of the more popular U2 songs in recent years, even though I think it has kind of played itself out a little. What I mean by that is that it was so dominant in the recent tours, it sort of got over-exposed, and for me lost a little of its attractiveness. I said a similar thing about Beautiful Day recently. Beautiful Day was appearing in every show this tour though, Elevation just here and there. Kind of made it a little more acceptable to me.
I do love the sound right at the start, the weird warble or whatever it is. Sounds funky, you might say. Gives it an interesting sound from the get-go, the catch that a song needs to grab your attention. Then it takes off a little, everybody starting to play together, and a sudden pause as Bono starts singing, with just the drums being noticeable for a moment. You hear the rest of them in the back, it’s the drums that take the attention somehow. You kind of get that vibe throughout, that the drums are controlling things much more than the others are in this song.
I’m not trying to say it’s a bad song. Just overused, as I did say. I take it more often than I leave it these days, but that may be because I took it too much in the old days and wore out on it.
I’m also not going to try and interpret the song. I think it’s about sex, but it may or may not be. Maybe about relationships, about a woman lifting up the man every time he sees her. Which could work in multiple ways.
I’m not even going to mention the Tomb Raider tie-in.
My rating for Elevation: 6 / 10