I have mentioned a few times that I have tried to play some U2 songs on my guitar, which I am very much a rookie at. I only picked it up a couple of years ago, and I don’t play it nearly as much as I should, and I am not very musically talented. The whole thing about practicing every day, well, let’s just say I don’t know if that will work because I never seem to have time to do it. It’s a struggle, and frankly playing the guitar is something that isn’t a priority for me right now. That’s going to be a really sad thing for me to have said if I’m the guy pulled up on stage to play with the band, right? But that’s not going to happen.
All that to say that I Will Follow is the song I chose to begin playing in detail, trying to step through each part and pick it up as much as I could. The song is kind of fast, compared to many, but the advantage that offsets the speed is that it is one of the early U2 songs, off Boy, and so it is not as complicated as the songs would become later. In general I Will Follow is single notes repeated a lot, or short bursts of multiple notes really close together, much simpler just hitting those than trying to hit three fingers on one hand and four strings on the other. Anyway, I discovered u2guitartutorials.com and have messed around with all their tutorials, but I Will Follow probably more than most. My wife will tell you, she hears that song and will say something like “here’s the song you play.” She especially likes the two high notes at the end of the long string of eight middle notes (trying not to be too technical here).
So to say I know I Will Follow quite well is an understatement. I’ve listened to it for all these years, and I’ve heard it note by note while trying to learn it. It is a really good song, it has the speed to get you going, it has the volume and twists and changes to make it interesting, and it has lyrics that grab you and don’t let go. The lyrics are about Bono’s reaction to his mother’s death (if you walk away I will follow), although I have seen more recent stuff where he has said he did not know he was writing about that, and it must have come out of his subconscious. Not sure about that, it seems so to the point that it’s hard to fathom that it’s not exactly what the theme was.
Another point of interest for the song is the new song, Iris, which is deliberate and specific about his mother, although in that case the song seems to be much less direct, more poetic as he has done later in his career. In fact that is a theme I have mentioned a few times this year, that in the early days he was more blunt and later he wrote more in allusions to his topics. These two songs together seem to show that pretty clearly, the specific (whether or not intentional) I Will Follow and the nuanced Iris (Hold Me Close). Interesting, that is something that just came to me about those two songs.
My rating for I Will Follow: 8 / 10