I’ve said it too many times, but October is the worst album U2 ever released. Gloria ends up being the best song off the album, which is a terrible thing to say as you’ll realize when you look at the rating below.
Religion dominates the song, with it being presumably a conversation where he wants to do certain things but is unable to do them without the assistance of God. It doesn’t make much sense though, because really, if you can’t find the door, then it’s open, why don’t you just go inside? Don’t really need that help to open a door, do you?
I always thought it was odd that Bono counted in the 2 - 3 - 4 at the start. It just seems out of place. He also does a little wailing there at the start which is kind of annoying. I really dislike the Latin part of the song, because a) I somehow still don’t know the words well enough to sing them (I just fake it at that part), and b) it comes at a pause in the song, like it takes you out of the music. It’s not like a regular bridge, which is usually interesting, because it repeats several times.
The music is okay, I suppose. Clearly a band still learning their trade, but they have different tricks and pieces in it that show you some sense of future possibilities. Although I think there might actually be a few too many tricks in there, it’s like they had to throw everything in to show it all off.
The video is hilariously bad. These fresh-faced kids singing on a barge in the middle of a river, for no reason whatsoever. You can see snatches of the crowd on the side of the water, but apparently not a big enough crowd showed up because they only show bits of them. Edge is dressed up for the day, wearing a jacket, but the others didn’t get the memo because Bono certainly looks rock-star scruffy, while Larry looks cold in his heavy jacket, and Adam tries his best. There’s a weird bit near the end where they’re walking, and then Bono tries to crowbar open a gate, and what that’s doing in there I don’t know.
On the other hand it also appears in the Under A Blood Red Sky video, and that gives me a favored version. The “this is Gloria” line has always stuck with me since seeing the video, and in fact any time I hear this song that’s the words and accent that immediately pop into my head. I think, although I’m not sure, that this version is slightly faster than the album version. It does sound better, and maybe this goes back to my earlier comment about the song sounding like the band is still learning. On Under A Blood Red Sky they sound much more experienced, more professional, and the song sounds a little tighter than before. Only a couple of years further into their career and they have grown a lot.
My rating for Gloria: 5 / 10