The Crystal Ballroom

I may be a little biased here. You see, I was at Chicago 4 on June 29, with my wife and son (his second ever show, after the night before). If your U2 knowledge is beyond excellent, or your ability to google is pretty good, you would know that in that setlist, while they were standing on the e stage not fifty feet from me, they played The Crystal Ballroom live in concert for the very first time. I’m guessing that probably adds a couple of points to my rating for the song. Maybe because I was there, but maybe because it - as always - sounded so much better live that it did on the album.

I will admit that I was not a big fan of the song on first listen. I have said so many times before that I usually don’t like songs the first time I listen to them. I have to get to know the songs, and the more I listen the more I begin to like them. It is the rare song that I like on first listen, and those usually become my all-time favorites. In this case I didn’t like it that much (I also didn’t like Lucifer’s Hands which I have since become a fan of), but it has slowly grown on me. I don’t know if it is going to go much higher than I have it rated right now, if I was reviewing it in another year I suppose it has the chance of another point, but I doubt it would get much more than that.

The point of the song is interesting, Bono singing and talking about his parents and their going to a nightclub to dance together. A nice image to put to them, nicer than many of the ones he has about them. Although I must also admit that some of the lyrics are a little too much, if he is singing about his parents, to talk about unbuttoning her dress and their caresses. The song has an interesting cadence to it, it feels like the first couple of lines of each verse is sung and played light and fluffy, then it gets a little deeper and darker. I’m not sure if that truly is the case, it is just the impression I get. It’s interesting, as is the end where he says that everyone’s here tonight but you. That’s a odd twist to the song that’s supposed to be about love, the idea that he is alone at the end - or maybe that you are.

And literally as I write this, a Honda commercial just came on tv, and I swear the music in the background sounds exactly like The Crystal Ballroom. I don’t mean exactly like, they didn’t just take the song and play it on the commercial, but I do mean like some band has taken the music and is playing it very closely. That was frankly kind of weird, I know the band hasn’t given that music to Honda, so they must just be playing it without acknowledgement. I could be wrong, but it was a) sounding so much like it, and b) a huge coincidence that I was hearing it while writing this.

My rating for The Crystal Ballroom: 6 / 10