One of the odder songs in U2 history, certainly one of the odder titles. I Threw A Brick Through A Window elicits a lot of questions just from the title alone, like why you would want to throw a brick through a window, is it your window, why are you vandalizing and why aren’t you in jail? But as always, Bono takes it to different levels, and we find something useful in the song.
Ostensibly it is being destructive, in an overt way, but there is hidden meaning. Bono says he is talking about being self-destructive, that the window is just a reflection of himself and he is trying to destroy it because he doesn’t like what he is seeing. This reminds me of the Billy Connolly joke about the ugly guy, who when he’s dressing up to go to a party at some point finally says “alright, I’m ready.” Maybe you had to be there, but that punchline has stuck with me for many years. The point I am trying to make is that it doesn’t matter what you look like when you are looking at yourself, that others see you in a completely different light. And again, going back to a different aphorism, I have recently been enamored with a saying that goes something like “other people think about you a lot less than you think they do.”
Even though I don’t listen to October much, at least not as much as I should, I remember this song clearly and get reminded of it on a regular basis. It’s one of those songs where I hear a trigger word, like brick, or window, and the song just pops into my head. More than that, it’s not just the title that can pop into my head, but a whole lot more. I can practically sing the entire song in my head. That may be an indictment of my memory or thought processes, or it may be an indictment of the song itself. Despite what it looks like, there isn’t as much to the song as you think. Quite a bit of repetition, in some cases with minor variations which helps but not a great deal.
Musically it is good, it is fairly standard for October, where they haven’t yet learned everything they will know, so there are still points where there is more enthusiasm than anything else. The song contains a lot of drums, that is probably the most noteworthy thing about it, other than that the guitar seems quite sparse at times. Maybe a slight influence from the future, because at times it is reminiscent of The Unforgettable Fire, which was still two albums away at this point. Interesting idea, I had not thought of that until just now. Makes me wonder which U2 song fits best on an album other than the one it came out on. I don’t know if I have an answer for that, or if I ever will. It certainly would be interesting though, to figure out which song was farthest ahead of itself. Or behind, although I suspect anything from Songs of Innocence would win that title fairly handily.
Oddly enough the title is repeated three times (or at least two and a half) at the start, but then never used again through the whole song.
My rating for I Threw A Brick Through A Window: 4 / 10