October was not a good album, I’ve said that before. There is little to recommend about it, and With A Shout is not much of an exception. If you look at the number below, you’d guess that it’s not terrible, and you’d be right. It’s not. On the other hand, it actually ends up being one of the better rated songs on the album, and that should be all you need to know. A slightly below average song on a poor album.
I can’t avoid religion in this one. The title alone should give you a hint as to what it’s about, or at least the sub-title. Clear and obvious references to Jesus, to Mount Zion, blood being spilled. It’s all about religion. Maybe I should have put this one out a couple of days ago, for Easter. The band was deep in their religious fervor, you could say, and a lot of the songs around this time had either references or were specifically about religion.
Played a bunch of times on the October tour, it has never been played since. Yet again a song that quickly disappears. I feel like I’m repeating myself. Simple fact is that they can only play so many songs, and if they want to play new stuff, they have to get rid of the old and the poor stuff. I’m hoping that the promise of the Innocence & Experience tour is that they’ll play two different shows on each of the nights, so I can get to see twice as many songs. So fifty instead of twenty-five, or at least maybe forty since they’ll play some both days.
It does suffer in the lyrics, goes back to that “few lyrics repeated many times” that I’ve complained about a lot. The title words are repeated a lot, more of them than not in the song. Bono really did grow out of that stage over the years. What’s interesting is that he had some songs in the early days that were well-written, and others that tended to struggle, like this (and much of October).
The one redeeming part of the song is the music, which is actually really good. Great opening, the lead, bass and drums all play well together. Although even then there’s a catch, because there’s a point in the middle where they seem to disappear for a while, basically after the second verse and before the Jerusalems start. There are, overall, some really good bits in the song, and they probably deserve more than they get fro the whole. In fact I can’t quite place it, but the opening segment does sound familiar enough that maybe it was used sometime since then? I don’t know.
They released a second version on the deluxe edition of October, called the BBC Sessions, and oddly enough the lyrics sound better - clearer, certainly - while the music doesn’t sound as good as the original. I can’t say if you match them up they would combine to make something better. What might work is getting rid of the lyrics, removing some of the fluff in the music, and playing it as a pre-show song to amp the crowd.
My rating for With A Shout (Jerusalem): 4 / 10