Thursday, February 26, 2009

U2 Ranked - #s 119-128

128. "Lady With The Spinning Head" – “Even Better than the Real Thing” B-Side
A few U2 B-sides that have turned up are pretty clearly just earlier versions of songs that made the album. Such is the case with this upbeat song, which sounds like a happier shiny version of “The Fly.” Nonetheless, this is one of U2 fandom’s more popular “lost” songs, and it’s dance rhythms and catchy hook make it a fun, if in the end lightweight, bit of pop.

127. "With A Shout" - October
I really like Larry’s rapid drumming in this song, with rapid-fire bursts of sound. I think the tempo and momentum start and stop too much, but those fast parts have a great, propulsive energy. It’s the slower, grinding bass-driven chorus that doesn’t quite work for me.

126. "Trash, Trampoline And The Party Girl" – Boy-era B-Side
U2 has trouble pulling off these light, strummed novelty-type songs. Still, this one, which gained fame outside the proportions warranted due to its inclusion in the Live at Red Rocks video and EP, is charming enough. I’ve always liked the way Bono and the Edge sing/play the same melody in unison on the bridge.

125. "Tomorrow" – October
This song features one of the Irish band’s very few forays into Irish-sounding music, and prominently features a mournful Irish Uillean pipes melody line. It’s a pretty, slow song that kicks up into a more traditional U2 jam there at the end.

124. "I Fall Down" – October
A kind of “New Year’s Day” precursor in the way that it very nicely integrates piano and guitar. The angry “I Fall Down” chorus comes across today as a bit silly, but the up-and-down piano figure is a keeper.

123. “Your Blue Room” – Passengers – Original Soundtracks: 1
This slow, moody, hushed song is one of only two real “songs” to emerge from the experimental Passengers project, and it’s a very subtle piece of work, all washed-out effect and quiet power. I really like the churchy organ and laid-back beat, but it’s really the effect of Bono’s almost-whispered singing that really makes the song.

122. “Promenade” – The Unforgettable Fire
Whereas the other experimental songs from this album (“Elvis Presley and America” and “4th of July”) largely fail, this one works. The simple, echoing guitar and atmospheric synths never really add up to much, but Bono’s contemplative delivery really sells the song.

121. "Falling At Your Feet" – The Million-Dollar Hotel
Bono wrote the screenplay to this film and he and the band are all over the soundtrack. This is a solid little list song, reminiscent of better songs like “Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World,” but, deliberately I think, more modest in scope. The bridge is what makes the song for me – those sing-songy “all fall downs” come across as kind of sweet.

120. "Walk To The Water" – "With or Without You" B-Side
U2 in a trancey, laid-back vibe. Kind of a more melodic and relaxed cousin to “Miami,” what with the near-spoken verse, but elevated above that song by the simple-but-effective “walk to the water” choruses and some interesting harmonic changes in the Edge’s arpeggiated background guitar wash.

119. "Fast Cars" – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
The vaguely Middle Eastern guitar figure and the shouts by the band kind of prefigure some of the sounds coming out of the new album. I like the belly-dancing vibe coming off of the chorus and the slightly exotic feel of this song, even if in the end it never really takes off.

Until Whenever

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