By some weird coincidence I am writing this as I watch a movie, I put the movie on and then started with the review, and the random number generator pulled out Last Night On Earth while I watch the movie Zombieland. A perfect soundtrack for the movie, amirite?
Last Night On Earth is another of those songs that I enjoy depending on my mood. If I’m in the right mood it’s really good, if I’m not then I don’t want to listen to it at all. I suppose that description could apply to much of Pop.
It’s one of those songs that, like much of Pop, was recorded quickly and wasn’t really completed, even when they went and re-recorded it for the single (and then did a mix, the First Night In Hell mix, during their “mix everything several times” period). The single in most ways would be considered cleaner, maybe a little lighter, less rough around the edges, and unfortunately I would say a little sanitized. Not quite so much interest in it. But isn’t that always the way when you have a single, what is essentially a radio version, that you want to be played and liked by a wide audience. You have to clean it up because the public in general doesn’t want that rough side. And they certainly don’t want the First Night version, which is frankly one of those mixes that I listen to just to write about the song, and may never listen to again.
Some fun and interesting guitar effects here and there, mostly in the start. I also like the intro part where Bono is singing relatively quietly, before what you might consider the song proper takes off. It’s always interesting when he does those sorts of chants, or spoken words, or whatever you might call it. What’s disappointing is when they get to the single version, they’ve actually removed that part.
Has the repetitive “You’ve got to give it away,” which Bono says is pretty much the last part he came up with, when he was running on fumes trying to finish the song and album. That’s why it shows up something like twenty times during the song, heavy repetition which I usually dislike. There are minor lyrics changes during the chorus, at least the last one, but that doesn’t necessarily make up for the rest of it. So points lost for that.
The video is kind of awful too, they try to do a narrative but it doesn’t really work too well. You have William Burroughs being the bad guy, I think, I’m not quite sure because it is so random. You have really bad lighting effects, if they’re going for a washed out sort of color they got it, but I dislike it like that. Supposedly they shut down the highway in Kansas City to film the video, I bet KC wants their money back for doing that. Irritate a lot of people while filming, and then produce an outcome like that? I’ve been to Kansas City once, I don’t know which highway it was that they filmed on though. Wasn’t a great city, not somewhere I would go visit again real soon, unless I really had a reason to be there.
My rating for Last Night On Earth: 3 / 10