Crumbs From Your Table has a very specific message, it has some nice and enjoyable music, but it is lost in a few places by the lyrics.
It is a fun and easy song musically, it’s a little light, plenty of guitar and drums but the bass disappears in the background, which is kind of why it is light, I guess. A relatively simple song musically, I have never tried to play it on my guitar but it sounds like something I could play, because it is slow enough to follow and simple enough that my fingers won’t tie themselves in knots trying to hit the right places on the strings.
The lyrics are where I get stuck on this song, because their message is either really in your face, or really broad, depending on how you look at it. From the title, waiting on the crumbs from your table, doesn’t suggest the idea of an entire country, simply because he uses the idea of a table, which people don’t think of as being something big. What he means is the aid that countries like the United States provide, that they’re only giving crumbs out and there are desperate people hoping even for that. The song is a little too repetitive for my liking as well, the chorus being repeated a little too much compared to the rest of the song. The other on the nose moment is the line “where you live should not decide, whether you live or whether you die,” which a lot of people don’t think of, they assume that they are naturally successful in life compared to most of the world, when reality is that they are born into a situation they are comfortable with. I have had too many conversations with people where they think they built everything themselves. Heck, Obama had a line during the last election, “you didn’t build that,” which was so twisted out of its meaning by the opposition, they were simply blind to the idea.
I have no problem with the band’s politics, or at least with Bono’s politics, since it often seems as if the rest of them are being dragged along with his causes (Larry especially feels this, I think, or I surmise from his few words and actions). Not that they don’t believe in them, they just sometimes seem to be hanging around waiting for him to be done with the cause, with the talking about the cause, so they can get on with the music. I will admit that I have been known to feel the same, that he attempts to preach a little much at times. It is somewhat ironic that I think this, because by and large I am right behind him when it comes to the political views he espouses.
The overarching feeling from this song is a rebuke of the western powers, perhaps most specifically the United States, in helping others. Bono has said several times that he thinks the US should do more for poor people around the world, and most especially in Africa, because we can afford it and they need it. He is right, of course. There have been so many stories that people in the US think that we spend 25% of our budget on foreign aid, when we should be helping ourselves first. Reality is that it is less than 1%, but people don’t want to hear that, they want to hear that we are magnanimous but those foreigners are ungrateful. Shameful, really.
My rating for Crumbs From Your Table: 4 / 10