Touch is one of those songs that I’ve talked about many times before, as being an early U2 song, having a distinctive sound and having the obvious amateur sound of the band back then. Not that it’s a bad song, just that it’s the early stuff so it is raw, inexperienced music, and with all that entails. I wouldn’t listen to it on a regular basis, it’s okay but nothing special.
The most distinctive thing on this song is the drums, as we’ve talked before about them in the early days, Larry was quite loud and demonstrative at the time. There was a lot of banging and bashing of the drums, they are loud throughout the song, and at times they really do take over the song, it feels like I’m hearing nothing but drums at a few points. It’s okay, I guess, for him to play like that, but I would note that as he matured as a drummer and they matured as a band, the drums took less of a role in the front and more of a role in the back, working as background rhythm rather than foreground lead. On the other hand, for the rhythm section, Adam is very quiet and not very noticeable in the early days, and on this song, but later he gets more and that works better. Almost as though they are trying to balance out the different parts, and finally work it together correctly.
Edge is also loud and up front on Touch, and the sound there isn’t as good as it might be. It is quite simplistic really, there is no sound of the echo that he will become famous for. Somewhat tinny, is what it sounds like to my ear, each note quite clear in itself, ringing out before the next note is played. This is probably what I sound like when I play, note after note after note, nothing quite working together because I don’t yet have the skill to play it well. Not that I’m saying that’s what Edge sounds like here, I mean let’s be honest, Edge’s worst efforts back in the day are better than my best efforts ever. That will never change, although one day maybe I can play some of his music and not sound completely terrible.
And so to the singer. There are words in this song that I have no idea what they are without looking at the lyrics. I don’t know why that is, again it may be the rawness. Bono may be that kid out of Ireland, with an accent, and maybe he hasn’t yet learned to be clear with his lyrics (not that he necessarily always has). A part of it is that the music is overpowering, I think they changed that later on so that Bono’s voice would get a little boost and be heard better. The other thing that I hear is that the lyrics are terrible, early Bono style, a whole bunch of stuttering t-t-touching you which is annoying. The thing though is that in the verses you do see sparks of something happening, they just don’t seem to be fully formed just yet.
My rating for Touch: 2 / 10