There is of course the confusion between this song and Scarlet, which features the word rejoice and makes people think that it is the song called Rejoice. Nope. Didn’t help when they sang about Aung San Suu Kyi either, by saying we rejoice and making us again think it, especially when we were seeing a new wave of fans hearing that song (Scarlet) for the first time.
Rejoice itself is one of the worst songs off the worst album, October. I can’t say that it plumbs the depths of U2 music, but it’s getting fairly close. In fact I can’t even say it’s the worst song off October, that album was so poor that Rejoice ends up being just about average for the album. It’s actually somewhat of a decent song, and it brings the religion all the way, as you can imagine by the title of the song. You could consider it to be another one of their attempts to write a religious song or a hymn, although it’s obviously too rocky for that, and really I just mean the lyrics, not the music itself.
The song hasn’t been played live since the early days, being shoved aside after the October tour and not played since. I think by the time they were up to three albums they were tending in a direction that this song wasn’t going, with War being a lot more strident, and Rejoice not really fitting the vibe. And once they took it out, there was never really an opportunity or a reason to bring it back again.
Not sure about the meaning of this song. The first part seems like it’s a child playing with toys, and a parent watching and being amused by them. Then somehow the parent wakes up and realizes what the child has said or done and are somehow amazed by it. Yeah, like I said I don’t get it. It’s possible that I read it all wrong - as usual - and that I can read deeper into the religious part. I had the wild thought that it was from the perspective of God watching man fool around, but that doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny.
The takeaway lyric is of course “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me,” which I think is something that a lot of people have latched onto over the years, for good or bad. Possibly kept on as one of the standard-bearer lyrics from U2 over the years, something that you remember despite not remembering the song or even the album that it came from.
Ringing out of the guitar at the start sounds interesting. It plays kind of loud throughout the song, so much so that Bono’s voice actually tends to disappear at times. I don’t get anything from the bass though. And a bunch of fast drumming in the bridge, do they have pedals for drums like they do for guitars, so that Larry could hit the drum just once and it could repeat several times? I don’t know, but this might be the fastest drumming he ever does. Maybe that’s why they stopped playing the song, it was giving him RSI just playing the bridge.
My rating for Rejoice: 3 / 10