The Troubles

Immediately my favorite song off Songs of Innocence, I was very disappointed when the band did not play The Troubles while I was in Chicago to see them. They have played it five times on the tour so far, four before Chicago and one after. I don’t know what doesn’t make it more popular, enough so to get it into the regular set. My guess from Chicago is that because Bono was sick and having troubles with his voice (see what I did there?), they kept it out for a while. Maybe if he hadn’t been sick it would have played at least once, although with my luck they would have played it in Chicago 5, the one I didn’t see.

I have no idea who Lykke Li is, what she sings, anything about her including whether that is the correct spelling of her name (okay, googled it and I was wrong). I have no idea how she connected with U2 to get in this song. I think I did read something a while back, but I have forgotten. Either way, she has become one of the very few non-U2 personnel to sing on a U2 album, and one of even fewer women, and perhaps the only woman with a major role in a song. Can’t think of any right now, at least. I suppose I ought to go check out her music sometime, given the success rate I have had with other musicians that U2 have guided me to.

The song is amazing, it is haunting in many ways, low and slow but great the way it does it. The duet between Bono and Lykke works really well (as I sing along, I sometimes switch back and forth between them, or sing both parts, it just grabs me so well).

I really like the way the chorus works. “Somebody stepped inside your soul, little by little they robbed and stole, till someone else was in control.” It really paints a picture, doesn’t it? 

The beat at the start is great too, the thump-thump of the drums giving you that slow beat, almost like a heartbeat. In videos of the live performances you see Larry out front of the stage, with a setup of some different drums, and playing with some long sticks with what looks like soft pads on them. Can you tell I don’t have quite the technical knowledge of the drums? But it’s interesting, we’ve seen him head down to the e stage, and into the runway, and now front edge of the stage. I’d suggest that this tour might be the most moving around that Larry has ever done. And it’s great to see.

The other thing you see in the videos is Lykke Li on the big screen, singing the duet with Bono, which is one of those odd things we’ve seen on the tour. It must be hard to get them all synced up correctly, how do you make sure that she is singing on the screen at exactly the right moments? A lot of practice, I guess.

My rating for The Troubles: 7 / 10