I have talked before about how it normally takes me a long time to warm up to a U2 song, that I don’t usually like them at first hearing (simply because I don’t yet know the song), and they grow on me over time. I have also mentioned a couple of times that I have generally found if I like a song right away, then it is going to shoot to the top of my personal charts. This is the case with I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, which I loved on first hearing, have loved even more since then, and I have it rated really high. It’s not in my all-time top ten, but it’s not very far outside, and by the end of the year it might even reach that list.
Now, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (which has a nice long title to fill in the word count) is really two songs in one. There’s the album version and there’s the live version, and they are markedly different songs, and somehow they both manage to remain great. I don’t know if I could pick between them for which one I prefer (oh, who am I kidding, it’s always the live version, right?).
So, the album version. Like I said, immediate love when I first heard it and ever since. It’s got really good pace, it’s got every single part of the band working well together, it’s got everything. Interesting and attractive words and sound, a beat that you can tap to, words that you can grab hold of quickly. I can tell you that my son, who was five when the song came out, also loved it, I believe it was the first U2 song that he actually knew the words to.
And the video. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, it’s animated and honestly I have never been able to follow the story very well, to figure out which person is which and what their relationships are. It seems to be a very sad tale in many ways, and given the song which is mostly uplifting, the video is a little out of sorts. There’s a second video, but it’s the album version of the song played over live concert footage, and I don’t think they match too well. It would be better to play the audio that goes with the video, in my opinion.
And so to the live version, the real one that is. Specifically I’m talking about the one on From The Ground Up, but it’s the one I saw live in person during 360, and I think it’s the one they played most of that tour. The live funky version, it’s somehow two minutes longer than the album version, but it’s way more upbeat, faster, it seems to have just more of everything. As a general rule I’m not a big fan of club versions of U2 songs (there are many exceptions to this rule), but this one is by far the best of those that I could name. They step it up at the right points, bang it out, the bass is pounding and driving the song on. The crowd gets really into it, Bono is egging us on, it’s just great. To give a further clue, during a couple of the 360 shows there were only two songs that I pulled my camera out to tape, those two songs were Streets and Crazy. That alone should tell you how high I regard this song.
My rating for I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight: 9 / 10