I originally had this day marked down for the obvious song, 4th of July, but since it is an instrumental and there is little to say about it, I decided to expand to talk about several of the instrumental songs that the band has done over the years. This is nowhere near a comprehensive list of instrumentals, just thoughts about a few. Most instrumentals are really pretty boring, just random sounds that were recorded during a session that they kind of liked. Most of them could be improved by the addition of lyrics, but not much.
4th of July is on The Unforgettable Fire, works as an interlude of some kind, but not much of one. One of the shortest U2 songs at just 2:14, it happened to be a piece that was just a bit of fooling around in the studio between takes. It kind of shows, there’s really not much to it, it sounds very Eno-like, very Unforgettable Fire, a little dreamy or a little wishy-washy. The album is not improved by it, nor does it detract. Just a nothing piece really.
Things to Make and Do originally came on the back of the A Day Without Me promo single. Not very exciting, kind of standard music for the time. Not sure if it developed any further, it kind of sounds generically like several of their songs from the era. There is a comment from Edge that this song was a way for Bono to catch his breath during the set, which interests me, as in those days most of their music was very fast, while nowadays they include slower songs which I guess give the same purpose. They also include some songs where Adam and Larry get to step off the stage for a few minutes for their own rest (as well as The Wanderer during the current tour, which serves as the intermission).
Speed Of Life was another from that time, in this case it was released on the Boy deluxe edition as an outtake from that era. I think it sounds like an early version of Electric Co. I struggle with this one a little, since it supposedly did have lyrics in a live version (I have not seen it), but not in the only released version. So, were those lyrics for that song, or just something they made up?
Yoshino Blossom is very nice, gives a calm and relaxed feeling. If you didn’t know where it came from, you would listen to it and immediately pick up that it was from The Unforgettable Fire sessions, and you’d be right. Of all the instrumentals listed here, I think this is my favorite.
Another with some lyrics is Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk / Korova 1, which was on the back of The Fly. U2 did this for a theatrical version of A Clockwork Orange. I never saw the original movie, and don’t really care about it much. Apparently it was very controversial in it’s time. The music sounds kind of sucky, you can see what they were going for, the whole industrial punk thing, but it does nothing for me. The lyrics are very unnoticeable, sung high by who I don’t know, and in Latin I think.
Near The Island was on the Achtung deluxe edition, it is one of those songs that you feel like something should come out of it, but nothing ever does. I don’t mind that they try a hundred different ideas and come up with one great one. And I don’t mind that they give us a peek into some of the ideas that don’t really come off or mean anything.
And of course there are several instrumentals on the Passengers album, but I think I will save them for the day I review that.
No ratings for these, I guess I would give them a 0 or 1, since I never listen to them.