There are songs and then there are songs, and there are b sides and then there are b sides. Few of the b sides I have reviewed have been good enough to make it to an album, which kind of proves the ability of the band to make good choices about what goes on an album. Whether it is because the album has a particular theme, and the song doesn’t fit, because they already have similar sounding songs on the album, because they have a preference for one or another, or maybe just that they flipped a coin and chose one over another. Whatever the reason, they have done pretty well at deciding the songs on the albums, the songs that become b sides, and the songs that get left off, perhaps to be used in a future project, perhaps to be repurposed and become part of a completely new song, or perhaps to be abandoned and never heard again, at least until they need material for a twentieth anniversary album.
Are You Gonna Wait Forever? is the b side from the Vertigo single, and this is one of those songs that falls into the category of really good, perhaps should have made it to the album, but perhaps sounds a little too similar to some of the other songs on the album. It might have been held until later, but it wouldn’t have made it onto No Line On The Horizon, so it was probably a good choice to be a b side.
Musically Are You Gonna Wait Forever? is very good, it reminds me of a few other songs, not the least being Vertigo itself. The start somehow reminds me of Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, although that quickly disappears when the bass kicks in. It is kind of rocky, featuring lots of everything, guitar, drums, bass and all. It feels at times like it should be faster than it is, and really my impression is that when I remember it I do think of it as fast, but then when I play it again it is a little slower. I don’t know why that is, what part of it is causing that feeling.
Lyrics are interesting, I think it is meant to be a love song of some kind, perhaps the kind where the person singing the song has been away for a while, and is returning home with the hope that their love is still waiting for them. The title gives that away, although I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning there (or perhaps not, since it is the better U2 songs where Bono has explored that depth and gotten down to that more interesting meaning than what is on the surface). Just like yesterday with Angels Too Tied To The Ground, Are You Gonna Wait Forever? has the title being sung in an interesting way, again I don’t know why, but it just sounds good as he sings that line (which he does several times).
About the only problem I have with the song is that the title ends in a question mark, so that every time I type Are You Gonna Wait Forever? my writing software tries to capitalize the first word after it, assuming that it is a new sentence, and I have to go back and fix it each time.
My rating for Are You Gonna Wait Forever?: 6 / 10