love is blindness
November 30, 2006, 1:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
the other day i caught a new rock-n-roll interview show on hbo called off the record – while i won’t comment much regarding the show (other than to say it’s excellent), i will say it caused me to pull out a record i haven’t listened to in some time – u2’s achtung baby.

the impetus for pulling out what could arguably be called u2’s strongest album was the tune acrobat. there is a moment in the hbo show where the audience is allowed to ask questions and someone wanted to know about the story behind ‘acrobat’. as much as ‘acrobat’ is probably my favorite u2 song, when i pulled out the album today, i was struck by another track – the dark, sensual and mysterious love is blindness.

love is clockworks / and cold steel / fingers too numb to feel / squeeze the handle / blow out the candle / love is blindness

this track is truly unlike anything that comes before it on the album (and that’s saying something considering the “kitchen sink” production style on the album). from the opening organ swell (who the hell is playing the organ), to what can best be described as lush bass line and rolling percussion you know this somber track is going in a different direction than what came before.

there has been much debate on what this song is about… is it simply a love song (in the most obvious fashion)? is it about the edge’s marriage failing? is it about terrorism? i wouldn’t be surprised if it were a fragile mix of all three.

love is drowning / in a deep well / all the secrets / and no one to tell / take the money / honey / blindness

out of that opening of organ, bass & percussion, comes a voice that honest-to-god sounds broken and bruised. buried just beneath the tortured, disturbing lament of the lyric, the haunting guitar begins a tentative wail. now, the edge is one of those rock-n-roll guitarists i’ve never thought much about – yeah sure he’s great, a solid-go-to-guy – but he’s never been (i thought) what drew me to u2. until the interview on hbo the other night – a great amount of time was spent discussing the edge’s “sound”. fuck, what an idiot i’ve been. listening with fresh ears i’ve come to a conclusion…. the sound of u2 has very little to do with bono as i had always (foolishly) thought – indeed, it’s all wrapped up in how the edge plays his guitar…. with ‘blindness’ in particular he makes his guitar cry. it’s really quite the perfect mix between adam claytons tight as a piano string bass line, larry mullen’s perfect drumming and the edge’s sublime (yes, cb, i said sublime) guitar (in my estimation, the best guitar solo the edge has ever done). bono’s vox weaves in and out, never pulling focus – rather adding to the story.

love is blindness / in a parked car / in a crowded street / you see your love / made complete / thread is ripping / the knot is slipping / love is blindness

the song is the brilliant cap to a phenomenal album. it’s sobering clarity (and simple instrumentation) puts the rest of the album’s heavily produced and programmed sound into perfect perception. the cacophony of sounds that is the opening track, zoo station, slowly evolves over the course of album and fades into the organ that slowly, tightly and oh so powerfully powers love is blindness.

(addendum; for those not familer with the track, the above “live” version of the tune is different slightly than the one i describe above. namely, after the organ, the edge does a new guitar line…. it’s nice, but it ain’t as nice as the album version. that said – the real guitar solo in this live version is bloddy brilliant).

2 Comments so far
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yes, that was a long post.

Um, does Actung Baby have “Mysterious Ways” on it? I like that song.

And the Joshua Tree album. OH, and Rattle and Hum

Comment by cb

I’m a huge U2 fan! Seen every tour since Joshua Tree. Achtung Baby is one of their best, and Acrobat is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

I live by the line, “…Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down”

Comment by Jason

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