God Part II is a song that I don’t often listen to, but do often think of. It’s one of those songs with a lot of lines that end up being triggered by a comment here or there. Then I think of the line in the song that was triggered, and end up thinking or humming much of the song to myself.
The original “God” was by John Lennon, after he broke up from the Beatles. I can’t pretend to know the song well, listening to it today, I may have heard it for the first time. I can’t say it’s very good, at least from my own perspective, it has a lot of repetition (the don’t believe part repeats much more than it does in the U2 version). Obviously others like it, and obviously Bono was inspired by it enough to write the U2 version.
God Part II is heavily based on the bass, and it plays really well. I think this is the second time I’ve said this in recent days, but this song is one of the best bass songs U2 have released. The opening is all bass, and it works really well. It stays like that throughout the song, holding it all together in many ways. I think that’s essentially what people think of the rhythm section, that it holds a song together, while the guitar and vocals make it fly up and away.
Okay, let’s take a listen:
He kicks off the song with the interesting line, “the truth is not the same without the lies he made up,” something that delves deep into religion and religious thought. The old saying about God needing the Devil to make himself relevant. Not quite sure I have that right there, but it’s something like that.
“Don’t believe in riches but you should see where I live” reminds me of the current tour, talking to young himself, one hundred, two hundred, three hundred times more than you need.
“Don’t believe them when they tell me there ain’t no cure” is another he’s taken to heart, and again reflections on the tour, Bono talking about RED and AIDS and trying to cure the disease.
“The rich stay healthy, the sick stay poor” is probably the line I think of the most, I’m often quoting this in a range of discussions about healthcare and wealth. I try not to get in those discussions, they end up with fights, but I work in a very conservative company with very conservative employees. I sometimes suspect if they knew my political affiliations they’d burn me at the stake.
“You glorify the past when the future dries up.” Oops. Don’t remember seeing anyone pointing this song out, that would be a great sign to hold up by the e stage, right? I’m guessing I wouldn’t be pulled up on the stage to play the song with them after that.
Kind of funny listening to this now, pulling in these lines from 27 (!) years ago and reflecting on them in the light of today’s tour. Very appropriate still.
My rating for God Part II: 5 / 10