One of the few songs I have loved since I first heard it, All I Want Is You remains one of my very favorite U2 songs. Top ten definitely. When I get into the mood for this song, I have been known to listen to it over and over for days at a time (not all the time, but you know, when I’m driving to work, or listening while working or at home). It is one of those songs that I have tried to play on the guitar myself, and have had moderate success, perhaps more than any other song I have tried to play.
There are people who will tell you that One is not a love song, and that you shouldn’t play it at your wedding. Bono has said that himself. Well, they’ve said the same things about All I Want Is You, but I tried to have my future brother-in-law play it at my wedding, although he wasn’t able to, I didn’t really give him enough time to learn it. But the thought was there. I mean, like so many U2 songs I’ve already talked about this year, the lyrics are certainly ambiguous enough at times to make you think it could go either way.
I love the sound, slow and easy, the entire band works well together, and they bring all in various strings and things to the whole song. There’s a long ending of just music, with the orchestra playing away, and it really sounds fantastic. Of course I’m talking about the long version, which I much prefer to the short. The short is four and a quarter minutes, the long adds an extra couple of minutes and like I said has the band playing on at the end of the song, to fantastic effect.
For such a long song though it has surprisingly few lyrics. Looking at them online, they seem much shorter than most songs, even though listening to them I would have said there were more. Just the way they weave though. And this song also has the perfect kind of repetition, where he repeats the “All the promises” line three times, but makes it a little different each time (promises we made/make/break).
My very favorite version is the one that came on U22, the live version (of course) that rolls into Love Rescue Me. The pairing works well together, similar sounding songs, but it’s the All I Want Is You that is especially good. This is the particular version that I try and play on my guitar, following the U2 Guitar Tutorials site demos of the song. It’s the one that I can sit back, put in my earbuds, close my eyes and listen, pick out each part separately and just wallow in the sound.
So, debate on the video? Okay. First of all, love it, it was so cinematic, quite possibly the best U2 video ever (and therefore the best music video ever, of course). The debate is whether the girl or the guy die at the end (sorry for spoilers, I assume you’ve seen this quarter century old video by now). I have to say that I have always thought that it was the girl, but lately I don’t know. I mean, why did she die? I guess the evidence for her dying would be the size of the coffin, and the fact that he is standing at the graveside, he throws the ring in and the strong man sees it and looks at him (which proves he isn’t a ghost). But him dying, well, if he fell from the swing and died, and turned into a ghost, that might explain some parts of it too. But I still think it’s her. It actually is really good to have it as a story, with the band an incidental part, sitting on the beach as the camera pans by, then walking later.
My rating for All I Want Is You: 9 / 10