Author Topic: American Soul  (Read 733 times)

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Offline miryclay

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Re: American Soul
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2018, 10:42:55 AM »
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Offline laoghaire

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Re: American Soul
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2018, 12:55:32 PM »
As I said elsewhere, I had a hard time getting this album (like most people). Some songs I could see potentially liking even if I didn't quite yet (Red Flag Day, Landlady), some songs I seem to have completely missed in some incredible oversight (Lights of Home, The Little Things That Give You Away), and some I felt like I had no chance of ever coming to like (American Soul, You're the Best Thing About Me). So, American Soul was a challenge inside a challenge.

For what it's worth, Volcano was also a latecomer for me in SOI.

The beginning of American Soul (beyond the Kendrick Lamar verse, I mean) seemed droning to me. When I finally grokked the album, the part of the song that lit up for me was the Call her home, Brother John verse - I don't know why, but it's the part that I always crank up the volume. I have to listen to U2 on full volume but I have to concede a few decibels when I start so that I still have a little room left to turn it up.

The RefuJesus thing doesn't bother me, though I know it probably drives a lot of people crazy. Classic Bono stuff. The first time I heard the song I was watching it on, was it the Grammys? And they had the word RefuJesus spelled out so I knew it was coming. I did notice right away that it could be flipped to Refugees: Us. Look, whether you love it or you hate it, it's something to think about, like the red spot on Jupiter.

I like the Kendrick Lamar stuff and loooove that they bridged it over Get Out of Your Own Way and American Soul. In fact, that might be why I was able to work on American Soul enough to really hear it, because I might otherwise have skipped it after Get Out when listening through the album. However, I'm not 100% reassured about the meaning of the lyrics Kendrick Lamar sings.

At first glance they are obviously a rebuke of rich, lying, arrogant elites. But then I'm not completely certain. "Blessed are the liars, for the truth can be awkward" - is that really a strong condemnation? The truth is awkward? Really?

And what does it really mean to say "Blessed are the superstars, for the magnificence in their light, we understand better our own insignificance"? In my set of values, being humble is very important, so this lyric speaks to that. Yet, the lyric could be saying that superstars are better than us, that their light shines over our insignificance and that way we can understand that we are nothing. That sounds elitist. And coming from the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Bono, two superstars, what the hell does that mean?

"Blessed are the filthy rich, for you can only truly own what you give away, like your pain." Again, from the likes of filthy rich people. Including certain people with offshore accounts and Eastern European malls and other money-machine ventures. However, I can't accuse U2 of giving away their pain - well, they may share it but they don't inflict it.

I wasn't sure if these lyrics were written by Lamar or Bono, but a quick Google shows the lyrics credits go only to the lads, which means it's Bono. If I felt more settled about these verses I could feel a lot better about everything.

Offline Quester11

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Re: American Soul
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2018, 10:16:21 PM »
I really didn't like it. The parts from Volcano feels extremely forced, jarring and derivative. It gives the impression that it thinks it's really edgy or poignant when it's just cringy and stupid, saying "AMERICA" like it's some really edgy protest statement.