whatevs

whatevs:

oneweekoneband:

“With Or Without You” by U2 (from The Joshua Tree, 1987)

Yesterday I asked if Lanois was responsible for making The Edge sound as good as he does, and I’m ready to reveal that as a rhetorical red herring. It’s actually Michael Brook who’s responsible for the most iconic Edge guitar sound (and hate The Edge as much as it’s culturally forgivable, but he’s produced a high volume of memorable riffs that contend with the aching notes strung through “With or Without You”). Brook lent The Edge a prototype of the Infinite Guitar and Lanois, Bono, and Gavin Friday serendipitously heard him playing the instrument while the three were listening to “With or Without You”’s backing track. The long, bending notes are sonic angst and here The Edge’s perceived perma-amateur status (a sad bit of rockism directed at the most symbolically rockist band in existence, what a shame spiral) translates to restraint instead of inadequacy. Bono, too, delivers a weightier performance, relying more on the fullness of his voice than its range.

I said I’d be avoiding the hits, but this one plays right into my hand. The music video features the band playing on an empty soundstage, no audience. It’s Lanois’s sound made literal, a more perfect complement to the song’s lovelorn tension than any alternate reality possibilities (a literal depiction of the song’s lyrics or a more Christ-y rendering of Bono unto his fans, for example) that continues the song’s otherworldly ability to balance its ambition with ambition’s potential for backlash. This is not to suggest the song hasn’t met its inevitable fate but that it walked such a narrow tightrope with a target on its back before it even existed. Ubiquity (along with some minor misinterpretation of the lyrics; it’s not a love song, at least, not like that) caused “With or Without You” to enter the “overplayed” zone of our collective consciousness, but even if the world has worn the grooves smooth, the song’s far from treacly pap. The emptiness, the darkness of that soundstage represents all of Lanois’s potential realized. Though balance is something he’s never mentioned actively seeking while producing The Joshua Tree (it’s all “ideas” and more “ideas” and sometimes running out of “ideas”) but at the album’s peak its greatest achievement isn’t innovation but temper. It’s the teeter-tottering of massive egos and a universe of blank canvas, the only concept able to hold U2 (and Lanois) in check.

I’ve asserted this is the dominant rock sound of the 1980s, and if my love for it isn’t justification alone, how about some stats? The Joshua Tree is one of only 24 diamond certified albums. It spent nine consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 and 106 total weeks on the chart. It was the sixth Top Pop album of 1987. “With Or Without You” peaked at number one and spent 18 total weeks on the Hot 100. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” shares similar stats — hitting number one and staying 17 total weeks on the chart. This past February, the album re-entered the Billboard 200 at number 47. U2 (with Lanois and Brian Eno) won the 1987 Album of the Year Grammy. Of course, these numbers are a double-edged sword, capable of turning on the band and Lanois as evidence their bloat. I’m trotting them out only to demonstrate that it’s not just in my mind that this sound took hold, but in over 10 million minds, and its popularity persists to this day.

"With Or Without You" gives me the chills every single time I hear it.

it takes me right back to junior prom. and i mean right back.

Bill Graham’s Day on the Green concerts were the first prototypes of “festival” shows - multi performer sets in stadium settings. Staged on the lawn of the Oakland Coliseum, the Day on the Green concerts were a summer series started in 1973 that continued until shortly after Graham’s death in 1991.

"That was why I came up with the name "Day on the Green". I wanted to make these events special. I wanted to create giant outdoor sets so the bands would be going into a space that was like a theater piece."
this is the article

Bill Graham’s Day on the Green concerts were the first prototypes of “festival” shows - multi performer sets in stadium settings. Staged on the lawn of the Oakland Coliseum, the Day on the Green concerts were a summer series started in 1973 that continued until shortly after Graham’s death in 1991.

"That was why I came up with the name "Day on the Green". I wanted to make these events special. I wanted to create giant outdoor sets so the bands would be going into a space that was like a theater piece."

this is the article

I spent a summer afternoon – the summer before senior year – making out with an incredibly cute boy, from a different high school, to the entirety of Depeche Mode’s, Black Celebration.  To this day the song “Question of Lust” sends me sailing backwards into the memory.  He didn’t cross any boundaries I didn’t want crossed and kept it all at an extremely passionate PG-13.  He tasted of the cigarettes we’d all been smoking that afternoon - and I liked it.  I still know where that boy is, to this day.

and this one:

Birthday, Sugarcubes

She Lives In This House Over There 
Has Her World Outside It 
Scrapples In The Earth With Her Fingers And Her Mouth 
She’s Five Years Old 

Thread Worms On A String 
Keeps Spiders In Her Pocket 
Collects Fly Wings In A Jar 
Scrubs Horse Flies 
And Pinches Them On A Line 
Ohhh… 

She Has One Friend, He Lives Next Door 
They’re Listenening To The Weather 
He Knows How Many Freckles She’s Got 
She Scratches His Beard 

She’s Painting Huge Books 
And Glues Them Together 
They Saw A Big Raven 
It Glided Down The Sky 
She Touched It 
Ohh… 

Today Is A Birthday 
They’re Smoking Cigars 
He’s Got A Chain Of Flowers 
And Sows A Bird In Her Knickers 
Ohhh… 

They’re Smoking Cigars 
They Lie In The Bathtub 
A Chain Of … Flowers