From the All That You Can’t Leave Behind sessions comes this leftover song. Released on the Medium, Rare and Remastered fan club CD, it is one of those songs that you could see was probably on the edge of making an album, but too much similar to it was on ATYCLB so it was left behind.
You hear a very faint “ready” at the beginning, which I think is Larry since he then starts hitting the sticks and the music kicks in. It’s a slight wailing sound of Edge’s guitar, almost siren-like I think. And the rest of it turns on (the bass most notably) and what I think of as the “real” song begins. If anything it is the bass that is the best part of the song, the rest of it feels kind of generic, or as I said too similar to the rest of the All That You Can’t Leave Behind songs.
There are bits and pieces to the lyrics that are interesting, although most of it is throwaway, as I suggested at the start. “The pain never felt so good, To feel so bad” sounds like the beginning of an idea, but not fully formed and perhaps not used in the right place (or the right song). Then there’s “No one who ever knew how, Could ever teach the world to sing” which is kind of a self-look by Bono, suggesting he couldn’t teach anyone, that it all came naturally to him. Although I do remember reading recently that Bono at some point in the early 2000s was taking singing lessons, because of changes in his voice. I wonder, given the timing of the writing of the song, if this is related to that? Could he be saying that he learned nothing, because the teacher was worthless? Or maybe that he did learn, because the teacher didn’t know how to teach? Man, you could really go down a rabbit hole on that, couldn’t you?
Love You Like Mad has a bridge in the middle that I dislike, although I normally like most of the bridges that they do. This one sounds a little off, Bono is doing some falsetto with his voice during it while the music trails away and it just doesn’t do it for me. I also dislike the repeated “love you” bits at the end of the song. In fact I’ve talked before about good songs not repeating the same phrases over and over, and this song fails on that basis because of all the repeated “love you like mad” lines throughout. Maybe you get that because the song is unfinished.
So is it a bad song? No. Does it remind you of a number of others? Yes. Is that a problem? No, unless you put it on the album with the other songs at the same time. I could see this song on the album, replacing one of a half-dozen others. I could see it being held until the next album. And I could see it slipping through the cracks, being a b-side to some other song, or released the way it was, as part of a collection of unreleased songs. None of it makes much difference in this case.
My rating for Love You Like Mad: 2 / 10