I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For is simply put one of the greatest U2 songs ever. It is widely beloved by fans, it has shown up in all kinds of versions and variations, and is a song that everyone knows. Lately it has been getting some press, because Bono has been asked why the band keeps going, and he responds with the title of the song. The band has also been singing it during the Innocence + Experience tour, often at the end of the show, which I actually disagree with, I don’t think it’s a song to end a show on. I think 40 is a great song to end a show with, although a little tired these days from so much use, and I think that One should be the ending song. But that’s just me.
I have talked about a few of the other highly rated songs this year, how I can sing them note for note, with the music running through my head note for note as well. I can’t do that on Still Haven’t Found. Why? Because of the song variations. I can do the lyrics just fine, it’s the music that gets me, because I’ll start with the album version and within a verse or two I’ve switched to the one from Rattle & Hum, or one of the numerous live versions there are. One of my favorites is the live version from U22, with Hugh Masekela playing trumpet (confession: I never knew his name until now, I could never figure out what Bono was saying, I had it as View Master Kayla).
There is nothing I can tell you about Still Haven’t Found that you don’t already know. It features a lot of repetition of the title, but somehow it doesn’t detract from the song as repetition so often does. Instead in this case it enhances it, it punches up the theme. The words are fantastic, spelling out a lifetime of things that the singer has done, from the high to the low, from speaking to angels to holding hands with the devil, and so on. But all of it comes back to the idea that no matter how much he’s done, he’s still searching. It’s the idea of religion, of God, of trying to find that goal, something that we all have the feeling for. The old saying “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up” that we all repeat, even when we’re old, that’s what this song speaks to. We’re all searching, even if we don’t know what for.
Great song in all it’s variations, I don’t think there’s a version I don’t like, even if I do feel a little saturated. One of just a handful of songs to receive a perfect score from me this year.
If you didn’t notice (and you probably didn’t), today was a monumental screwup. It took me until the 203rd day of the year to forget to write something. Not to forget to plan or anything, earlier in the evening I had picked a topic and was going to work on it, then got distracted and did something else, and never went back to it. So instead I have do dash something out this morning, and fortunately this song was next on the list and easy to write quickly.
My rating for I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For: 10 / 10