Salome is a song that I don’t seek out to listen to, but one that I enjoy when it comes on. That’s why it gets an average rating. Enjoyable, but not enjoyable enough to put it into a regular playlist, or in any kind of order that it will come up other than when I’m listening to a random list.
Really like the opening, the bass pounding away, followed by the drums, they’re what makes this song completely. There are songs that are all Bono, there are songs that are all Edge, this is one of the - to be honest - not too many that are all about Adam and Larry. Oh, Bono and Edge have their parts of course, but this is one that I couldn’t see Larry and Adam leaving the stage while Bono and Edge play it acoustically. Edge might do his guitar parts but there’d be long gaps between them with nothing but silence or Bono singing (which Bono might just like).
Salome is of course most famous for being the name of the bootleg Achtung Baby sessions, the stolen tapes that were released to the world. Salome was the first song on the tape, which is where it got its name from, and also played again on it.
The song has one of those failings I’ve railed against, namely that the chorus is repeated a lot, and so my standard memory of the song is simply the repeated phrase “Salome.” On the other hand looking at the lyrics, there’s actually quite a bit in there, so I can’t complain too much. I can, but I won’t.
So what’s the song about? I’m not really sure, I think I have more than one interpretation. Option one is that it’s a song to the belly dancer in Mysterious Ways (which is why it didn’t make the album). You get the lyrics “if you untie the knot,” “shake it,” “won’t you dance for me,” as examples of talking to a dancer. That’s the really simple answer, and probably the most likely. Second choice would be that it’s a guy talking to his wife about breaking up, that’s she’s leaving him and he doesn’t want her to. From the following lyrics I get that, things like “don’t make me crawl,” “untie the knot” (this one works if he’s asking her for a divorce), “I crawled from your door and my blood turned blue” (I think he listened to her with someone else), and of course “you’re spilling me and your precious love.” So, a couple of possibilities for a meaning. I think I prefer the first, it’s a little lighter, a little more sensible, but knowing Bono he’s going for the deeper darker meaning. Actually knowing Bono, he’s either going for both meanings, or more likely a third that I haven’t thought of, or a fourth or fifth or all of the above all together.
Side note: had a quick listen to the first Toronto show tonight on Mixlr. First time I’ve listened on that, previously I’ve watched on Periscope and/or Meerkat. Have to say that the sound quality was very good, although somehow muted, like the highs of Bono’s voice and the guitars weren’t quite there. It sounded a little off because of that, I’m assuming it was just because it was through a phone.
My rating for Salome: 5 / 10