There are songs which just grab you and don’t let go, and then there are songs which are just kind of meh. A Man And A Woman is one of the latter, there isn’t too much to like and there isn’t too much to dislike. That’s why it gets an average rating, although it’s not one of those songs that I seek out to listen to much.
I do like the music on it, probably the most redeeming feature of the song. Nice beat in the background from Larry, good yet quiet bass sitting back there from Adam, and the lead guitar is kind of bouncy and poppy, not too fast, not too slow, a little light entertainment. They released an acoustic version on the b side of All Because Of You, but I’m not so sure that I can hear a difference in the sound. Okay, I kid a little there, but it is not much that different, almost seems like they just removed the bass and drums and played the rest. Have I mentioned how I’m not a big fan of acoustic versions of songs? One exception would be them doing Every Breaking Wave during Innocence + Experience, which does work well. But usually I prefer the full band to be there.
Not sure who this song is addressed to. It’s presumably a song about a man and a woman, as in a couple, a pair of lovers, but then Bono addresses it throughout the song to “little sister,” and I’m not sure if that’s meant to be metaphorical, some kind of slang, or what. Is he talking about the relationship with the person he’s with, or is he talking to someone (his sister) about his relationship with someone else? But certain lines mix that idea up, there’s the “you were already mine,” means he’s talking to that person. I am so confused about this. I’m going to say that the little sister part is slang, and he’s talking to the person he’s dating, or rather isn’t dating any more (“you’re gone and so is God”). Which makes it a kind of sad song I suppose.
Are there any really standout lines in this song? I don’t think so, when I think of the song I really do think of the “little sister” line, and the warble of “the mysterious distance between a man and a woman” is the other one. Not much else. Well, maybe the final line, “how can I hurt when I’m holding you,” that’s kind of good. That actually may be the best line on the whole song. Although thinking about that, if my idea of the best line on the song is one that I just called kind of good, maybe that’s why it’s not such a great song, it’s just a kind of nothing that goes in one ear and out the other. The best kinds of songs are those that have a line, or lines, that grab you and don’t let go. The catchphrase if you will, the ear bug. Don’t hear one on this.
My rating for A Man And A Woman: 5 / 10