Winter is a song left over from the No Line On The Horizon sessions, it was used in Linear by Anton Corbijn because at the time he made that film, Winter was still in the No Line playlist, but removed later. It was also used on the soundtrack to a movie called Brothers, which I have not seen and know little about. I should also mention that there are apparently at least two different versions of the song, one that is more rocky, and one that is a little calmer, more acoustic. I am surprised that for a song that wasn’t properly released that they would do multiple versions, I’m sure that’s happened before but I can’t offhand think of another song like that. I’m only giving one rating, of course, even though there are two versions (haven’t given multiple ratings for other songs like that), although I think if I were to give ratings for them separately I don’t think I could distinguish between the two versions, this is the relatively rare song where I don’t even have a preferred version.
The song begins with a bit of odd sound repeating, but it gives a bit of a bounce to it as the rest of the music kicks in. The start seems in fact to be quite U2 sounding, but the further into the song you get the less it sounds that way. At the start and in the early part of the song I get the idea of the song sounding like a mid-80s U2, something like a Joshua Tree remnant, but it later goes off on a tangent and doesn’t sound much like U2 at all later on, with the exception of Bono, although even he sounds a bit off now and then.
The song is a brother song to White As Snow, dealing with similar themes, those of soldiers being off and fighting, specifically in Afghanistan but really they could stand in for many different places. It is a feeling of sadness that pervades both songs, how does a war like this end up producing multiple songs? It keeps giving and giving in so many ways, unfortunately. When I say they are brother songs, that is a play on the movie title, but also because the theme to both songs is that of a country kid in the military being sent off to fight in a war in a far-off land, as the lyrics say. The song is somewhat descriptive of life there, but also lyrical, as in that poetic kind of description that Bono can get into. It’s not as good as some of his though, the descriptive style doesn’t work too much here. Not bad, just not good.
So I can’t recommend this song. The subject matter is a little dreary, and the title Winter belies the “hot as hell” line in the middle. The music isn’t really there either, again this feels like a half-baked song. I get a mild depressed feeling as I listen to it, too, and I don’t like that. If it’s not the subject, and it’s not the music, then it has to be a combination of them, and that makes it not good all round.
My rating for Winter: 3 / 10