Randomness puts us into Drowning Man, a day after The Refugee, the song that follows it on the album. And I don’t want to recycle the review, but I could essentially say the same things as yesterday, with the slight caveat that Drowning Man gets an extra point compared to The Refugee. Doesn’t make it that much better, obviously.
The music is a little odd, there is a clear strumming chord that Edge is playing over and over, his stuff is usually not that distinct, that separated, it usually flows together much more. The bass line is very generic, it pretty much sounds like the same few strings played over and over. The drums are quite distinct too, very high, very snare I think is the right word, they kind of sound not a lot like any other U2 songs that I can think of right now.
Lyrically the song isn’t that much either. Back to my old bugaboo, the repetition of lyrics, and we see that a lot here even if they are separated into different verses. The “take my hand” part repeats about five or six times, with associated lines, as does the “hold on tightly.” The rest of it has different bits attached, but none of them really grab you, it’s just a whole bunch of saccharine sounding words stuck together. I guess the theme is love, but once again we’re not quite sure whether that love is about a person or about God, or maybe both. I listened to a podcast about U2 in the last couple of days, and the person on there repeated the ongoing theme I have, which I think most people have, that every U2 song is about love, about God, and about an underlying message. I get the first two here, not sure about the third message though, unless the message is “man, this is kind of boring.”
That podcast by the way is Inquisitive by Myke Hurley, the episode was number 46, featuring John Siracusa (nerd hero), and talking about Achtung Baby. Well worth a listen, wish I’d heard it before doing my own review of Achtung Baby less than a week ago.
I also have to say that Drowning Man stands out a little from the rest of the album. War is kind of a harsh album, note the title, and for the most part is fairly martial music, sort of in your face both musically and lyrically. I think that Drowning Man stands out because the music is much softer than the rest of the album (despite - or perhaps in accordance with - what I said above about the guitar and drums). The lyrics also are much less harsh, very lovey dovey if you will, while the rest of the album talks about, well, War. This one is talking about love and wings and tides and holding on tightly. Quite different to the rest, it might fit a little better on October, or perhaps even The Unforgettable Fire.
My rating for Drowning Man: 3 / 10