Nineteen out of thirty-seven lines in this song are “I fall down”, “You fall down” or variations thereof (stats taken from the U2.com lyrics listing, which in my opinion splits some of the lines a little generously). So, okay, the name of the song is I Fall Down, so you’d expect to hear those words in the song. Maybe even a few times. But the fact is I have been complaining about some of the early rock and roll, and how it is so repetitive to the point of boredom. They pick up three or four lines, and repeat ad nauseum. Well, U2 did this here, and the result is something terrible.
We do get to hear some piano playing from Edge. I suppose we get some slightly hard rock, there’s a lot of crashing of cymbals, the bass kind of disappears though, hidden by the drums. So musically it’s not that good, lyrically poor, no wonder it has a terrible rating.
I Fall Down is off October, which is my worst rated U2 album of all time. And it’s the worst song on the album - or at least tied for worst - which means it’s well in the running for worst U2 song of all time. But it’s not, because there are both a few worse-rated songs, and also several rated at the same level, and it’s hard to distinguish between them all rating-wise. If you thought it was difficult trying to pick your top five, or top ten, and put them in a specific order, try doing that with the bottom of the list. Way more difficult, I promise you. Trying to sift through the sludge, and there’s barely a diamond to be found at the bottom.
I don’t know who Julie is, or why Bono wrote a song to her. Apparently Bono doesn’t remember either. Seems odd. But she wrote a letter, and I don’t know why. It’s hard to understand why this person wrote a letter, what it’s about, what the whole point is. She wrote a letter, then she tried to get up and fell down. Is she old? Hurt? What? And then the person she’s talking to (or who is talking to her) suddenly starts falling down too. What the heck is that about?
There is another theory I have on how to rate songs, and that is to look at how many times they’ve been played live. Now, you can’t compare directly, because something off a new album hasn’t had the opportunity to be played as many times as something off the early albums. But it can give you some kind of idea about staying power, in that the weaker songs tend to get pushed out of the setlist quicker. You can for example choose all the songs off one album and compare them directly. When you do that, you see that Gloria and October were the two stars of the album, each being played live over 300 times. But somehow I Fall Down is next, at 173 (at time of writing) just beating out I Threw a Brick Through a Window to be the only other songs played over 100 times. How is this possible? What made it a song they wanted to play live? It had enough to make it all the way through the October and War tours, and into the Unforgettable Fire shows before being dropped and never played again. Why? I don’t know. I wish I did.
My rating for I Fall Down: 2 / 10