Boy-Girl was first released on a mini-disc called Three, along with Stories For Boys and Out Of Control. It was the band’s first release, so you could say it was the start of big things. Looking back now though, of the three songs on the EP, Boy-Girl was definitely the least of them, being played the fewest times live over the years and the only one to not make it onto Boy.
I have to admit that this is not a song I like that much (although you can tell that by the rating). I have whined about some of the early stuff that U2 have done, and also been pleased with some of it. They definitely were in that early stage where some of what you do is terrible and some of it is a hidden gem. This one falls into the former category more than the latter. It is very unpolished, very generic, it’s not even something that you would hold up right now on the Innocence + Experience tour as being that Innocence part. There just isn’t that much there to like about it, and I will excuse that all day because they were just teenagers when they wrote and recorded, and barely starting on the path. Like I said, their first release. On the other hand, that same release included Out Of Control, which was way ahead of its time and is still great today.
So what is the song about? You would assume that given the title it is one of those mid-teen angst kind of songs, and it does give you some feeling of that at times. A little about exploration between a boy and a girl, I guess, although definitely not explicit in any way. But then you get to a line like “You and I we live on the big ship,” and I’m like, what the heck does that even mean? There’s no context around it, it just pops up and I’m thinking “what big ship is he talking about?” And going back to the music itself, very generic, as it was in those days lots of guitar, lots of everything in fact, the standard “we are learning to play and we’re going to play the crap out of these instruments we have.”
Odd thing on the live version of the song (off the Boy Deluxe album) is the sounds that Bono is making in some places. It really sounds like either he is drunk and slurring the lyrics, or he isn’t quite sure of the lyrics and is just making sounds that sound similar to the words, so he is remembering the basic tone of the song and pushing out something to make it sound like he is singing. Now, I think it is possibly more likely that he is drunk (I think I may have read that somewhere he was drunk during this show), but the second option is still there, and in fact both are possible as well.
My rating for Boy-Girl: 3 / 10