Heaven And Hell

Yet another of the leftovers from the fertile period of Achtung Baby. This one feels quite a bit different to the rest though, and feels different to most if not all of Achtung Baby. I definitely agree with them about leaving the song off the album, because it wouldn’t fit, and I’m not sure what other album it would fit on. Now that I think about it, this is one of the more unique U2 songs, I can’t think which album it might fit on at all. Too slow for many, too organy, too, I don’t know. Definitely none of the early albums, something after 2000 I think. But even then it doesn’t fit on them, the sound really isn’t right anywhere. A true oddity.

Actually it at times gives me a little Beatles vibe. The song seems a little jazzy, like they were just noodling around and something popped out, as it usually does for them. The lyrics are quite well developed though, which suggests they’d been working at it, otherwise Bono would just be mumbling around trying to come up with something. That tells you that they at least for a while thought it was good, right? If you get something that far developed, you have been working on it and working on it, it just doesn’t pop out of your head that good (look at this blog, it’s just popping out of my head as I write, and it’s terrible).

I read through the lyrics and try and understand them, but it’s not easy. I do get the feeling that this is Bono trying to be really literary, I’m not talking magnum opus or anything like that, but maybe he had just read some Tolstoy or something and was feeling a little bookish, or nerdy. It’s one of those songs where I feel like everything is a reference to something else, a line from some novel, or mixed up words from something like the way he took 40 from the bible and gave a slight twist to the words. Not in the meaning, but like it was a slightly different interpretation of the original foreign language. Maybe like the way that using Google Translate doesn’t quite give you the natural language.

Okay, in minor seriousness, I think this song is about a relationship, but a relationship that has sparks between the two participants. The title obviously tells us heaven and hell, one of the two being heaven and the other hell. I guess that all depends on your perspective, right? But there are little bits back and forth that tell you all is not roses any more. I mean, the opening line is “You used to think I was something special” and that’s a dive into the wallowing right away. Actually, that’s a good way to put it, it’s someone sitting there looking back and feeling kind of melancholy about things.

See, I do make this up as I go along. And eventually I get to some place that seems kind of sensible. But I don’t go back and edit, which would make me look a lot smarter, right?

Listened to Stockholm 2 this afternoon at work, was really annoyed that I was interrupted by people while trying to listen. Why the heck would people do that, expect me to work at work when U2 is playing? It was just as Bono was doing some speechifying too, early in the show. Guess I’ll never know what he said. Maybe I should just start taking afternoons off every few days, or at least take a late and really long lunch.

My rating for Heaven And Hell: 3 / 10