Author Topic: The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread  (Read 401 times)

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Offline Racingfan53

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The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread
« on: December 04, 2017, 10:43:08 PM »
I don't know about all of you, but I find it pretty fun and intriguing to spot out all the musical and lyrical throwbacks to SOI on the new album.

I, personally, find the concept behind SOI/E amazing.  The songs in SOI were so different from the rest of U2 (and, honestly, it took me a while to like the album) but I think they very accurately convey the feelings they are intended to, and I think SOE does the same.  The lyrical and musical echoes of SOI seem to uncover a few of the themes for both albums, for me.  One of my favorite things about SOE is the reprising of lyrical and musical themes in completely different settings, putting a new spin on the lyrics, or playing up the irony/metaphor within the themes.

What are some of your favorites?  Here are mine:

- Obviously, the "Free yourself to be yourself" from Lights of Home and "There is a light" refrain from 13 are some obvious ones, but I really like the subtle throwback to EBW in Red Flag Day.  The sea is the center of metaphor and imagery in both songs, and both have the "breaking wave" lyrics. 
- The chorus to Best Thing About Me reminds me a lot of Iris.  This is mostly in the structure of the chorus, as both have a repeating phrase ("Hold me close"/"You're the best thing about me") that repeats itself, followed by different phrases.  Both also start out with a quiet, understated undercurrent of instrumental that crescendos into a full-blown symphony of emotion.
- Possible parallel between Summer of Love and California?  The "west coast" lyric makes me think of that, followed by the "not the one that everyone knows" doesn't seem to me to discredit that notion, but perhaps to enlighten the speaker in California that there is more to the world than what he sees.  Also the "summer of love" motif contrasted with "there is no end to love" -- now we know there is an end to love!

Any thoughts on these conspiracy theories, or others?



Offline jjcruiser

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Re: The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2017, 03:40:49 PM »
Honestly I didn't think the twin albums shared that much in common *but for* the overt lyrical thievery.  Without the "free yourself" "you are rock and roll" and "song for someone" portions, I would not have felt like they were connected at all.  Felt dissimilar in feel and production and music to me.  But I'm starting to sense this is not a common impression.  Most people I know disagree with me and I just don't hear it.

Offline EdgeUK8_my_mind

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Re: The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2017, 06:25:52 PM »
My daughter (English major) said that Blake did that in Songs of Innocence and of Experience, so doing the “lyrical thievery” also seems like another nod to Blake


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Offline Chip

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Re: The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 09:14:20 PM »
I think the challenge here is that we once had an album much more full of parallels but have considerably fewer now because Bono changed his lyrical approach after his brush with death. Bono said when SOI was released that SOE was full of songs with younger Bono talking back-and-forth to older Bono a la the whole of "Volcano." We now still get that in parts of songs like "American Soul" and TLTTGYA (as well as a few others), but it's very sporadic, not consistent. It looks for all the world to me that Bono largely dropped this motif in favor of direct lyrics to listeners, family members, and (as per normal) God motivated by this new sense of mortality. That sense absolutely drenches this album.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 09:16:02 PM by Chip »

Offline scrittoresabino

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Re: The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 07:46:05 PM »
It may be more about connections and deliberate contrasts (you may have meant this, and I missed it) than direct parallels.

Individual vs Collective comes up in many ways. SOI has much more distinct isolated or pronounced lead vocals, with backing vocals lower in mix and in a much more defined supportive role. SOE swells in harmony, choral flourishes chants and  more. SOI is mainly singular and autobiography, whereas SOE are letters communicating with others, even it what some see are silly throwaway rhymes, Bono is calling out several people by name, not just 1 person either. SOI the character is always going someplace else, SOE is finding its way home. There are probably more, but haven't quite plunged into that discovery

Offline Racingfan53

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Re: The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 10:49:52 PM »
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It may be more about connections and deliberate contrasts (you may have meant this, and I missed it) than direct parallels.

Individual vs Collective comes up in many ways. SOI has much more distinct isolated or pronounced lead vocals, with backing vocals lower in mix and in a much more defined supportive role. SOE swells in harmony, choral flourishes chants and  more. SOI is mainly singular and autobiography, whereas SOE are letters communicating with others, even it what some see are silly throwaway rhymes, Bono is calling out several people by name, not just 1 person either. SOI the character is always going someplace else, SOE is finding its way home. There are probably more, but haven't quite plunged into that discovery

I like how you put this, and I think this may have been subconsciously what I meant.  SOE is not really the musical brother or relative of SOI, but definitely is the musical companion, as per the two complement and complete each other.

I think both albums make more sense taken together than on their own.  The contrasts you mentioned are great indications of this, as are, I believe, the hidden and sometimes very subtle musical and lyrical references to SOI.  Speaking of which, I noticed that the melodies in the verses of "Red Flag Day" very closely resemble the melody in the verses of "The Troubles."  Interesting, especially since the two songs are of a completely different mood and subject! 

Offline Sonofabono

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Re: The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2017, 12:13:20 PM »
I've been wondering if "the door is open" from Cedarwood and Love is Bigger... is meant to be a parallel. Doors are pretty common imagery and doors can either be open or closed, so there might not be much to it. But if there is, the possible parallels between a song about your childhood (Cedarwood) versus a song written to your children (Love is Bigger...) are pretty interesting.

Offline radiofreenewport

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Re: The SOI/SOE Parallels Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2017, 03:37:40 PM »
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Honestly I didn't think the twin albums shared that much in common *but for* the overt lyrical thievery.  Without the "free yourself" "you are rock and roll" and "song for someone" portions, I would not have felt like they were connected at all.  Felt dissimilar in feel and production and music to me.  But I'm starting to sense this is not a common impression.  Most people I know disagree with me and I just don't hear it.

I agree, and I think Chip (post below) may be right that the original intention of the linked albums changed with Trump's election and Bono's brush with mortality.