Author Topic: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?  (Read 2358 times)

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Offline davis

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #75 on: August 15, 2018, 06:35:05 PM »
Good point Tortuga.  I seem to remember reading somewhere that Eno had a list of trite or cliche words Bono was "not allowed" to use while recording Achtung.  And I think we can all agree on the lyrical brilliance of that album. 

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #76 on: September 26, 2018, 05:37:08 PM »
Still working on this album, like it a lot. Thought I'd just update where I am for the NLOTH fans. This is in order of what grabbed me chronologically.

Before working on this album:
FEZ - Loved it, different, awesome.

Early faves:
MOMENT OF SURRENDER - Neat rhythm, deep subject, clearly a great song. I tend to hear the rap in my head at the end. Incredible vocals. Interesting bass hook. Great Gilmour-style solo.

MAGNIFICENT - Took a few listens to sink in but obviously a big tune.

UNKNOWN CALLER - I just wish I liked the middle section better, which is not to say I don't like it, but it's fairly epic overall.

WHITE AS SNOW - Melody might not be unique, but I love this song. Guitars are wonderful, Bono's voice is drop dead gorgeous, and his lyrics are at his finest. A big fave of mine.

CEDARS OF LEBANON - Cool, off the beaten U2 path.

Later faves:

BREATHE - I was stuck on this song for a looooong time. My initial take on the song was that the music seemed derivitive of... something, never put my finger on it. And the big guitar riff seemed too ordinary classic rock to me. It got its teeth into me in a big way, though. This is going to remain a very important song for me. I'm telling you, weeks and weeks of multiple daily listenings. I think there must be layers to the song so you can hear new things bit by bit.

NO LINE ON THE HORIZON - It was "okay" the first time I heard it. Was a little put off by the vocals. But now I "hear" it and it's great. The charging guitar is fantastic. I love how it steps back during the chorus for the perfect amount of time so you want it back. After one of the choruses, maybe the first but I'm not sure offhand, Larry does this kick that totally makes me put my fist through the air. I know Bono's ohs get some flak but I really like the yelling ohs section in this song. Those four descending arpeggio notes (like at the very end) are a great example of Edge minimalistic glory.

CRAZY TONIGHT - Arghhhhh! Arghhhhh! This has stuck its claws into me the last few days! I like it!!! I don't want to like it!!! Make it staaaaawp!! Also there's something about this song that hits the deja vu button. Not saying it's derivative, just that it just sort of triggers some vague memory-feeling. Let's see if I survive this.

That leaves Boots and SUC. I haven't gotten into either yet. We'll see if they are dredge or if one or both will become the California of the album, rising dead last but with a very strong finish.

nulla uomo

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #77 on: September 29, 2018, 11:14:21 AM »
I got very familiar with No Line after I had to put all my stuff in storage in 2010.  All of my CD's/Vinyl were put up (climate controlled, of course) and I was left with a few CD's in the car.  No Line was one of them.  I played it whenever I was in the car for a good part of six months.  I'm no expert, not a musician, and not a certified music reviewer.  I just go on emotions basically and since I just listen to U2 now, that's a perfect fit.  Some thoughts and feelings on No Line:

No Line On The Horizon - I love the way the guitar work propels this song along.  It's got a certain vibe to it.  Bono's voice competing with Edge's guitar.  "The songs in your head are now on my mind, you put me on pause. I'm trying to rewind and replay".  Cool.

Magnificent - One of my favorite U2 songs.  The bass lines at the start of the song and then Edge's guitar coming in full force.  This is rock 'n roll at its best.  "Only love, only love can leave such a mark
. But only love, only love can heal such a scar".  Glorious.

Moment Of Surrender - A long track, 7 minutes long.  It took me awhile to appreciate this song.  The mysteriousness, slow progression of the track and Bono's lyrics finally came through.  "At the moment of surrender I folded to my knees, I did not notice the passers-by and they did not notice me".  Still, I have to be in a "certain mood" to fully appreciate this winding ballad.

Unknown Caller - I really love this track.  The serene opening and then Edge's guitar coming in, lighting up the song.  The lyrics are excellent - "I was right there at the top of the bottom, on the edge of the known universe where I wanted to be" or "Restart and re-boot yourself, you're free to go.  Oh, oh shout for joy if you get the chance."  I love Larry's light percussion touch, keeping a slow beat throughout.  Edge's guitar is just right, not overwhelming but keeping a steady pace.  Great track.

I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight -  Yuck.  I've never liked this song and don't like song titles that are 9 words long.  The one redeeming feature of this song is how different it sounds live.  The little animated video for the song is cool - You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login.  But the live version of the song from the 360 tour is unique and nothing like the original track - You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. I can handle the song better in the 360 version.

Get On Your Boots - Generic rock 'n roll. Nothing stands out. It's sounds like Edge was replaced on guitar by some generic rock guitarist. 

Stand Up Comedy - See Get On Your Books.  The guitar sounds like Led Zeppelin light or something.  "The wire is stretched in between our two towers, stand up in this dizzy world, where a lovesick eye can steal the view, I'm gonna fall down if I can't stand up".  Sounds like the lyrics are trying to be a weird version of the fantastic "I Fall Down", except where "I Fall Down" is clear in its message, Stand Up Comedy is muddy, unclear and a weak song.

FEZ -- Being Born - "Let me in the sound".  I love the start to this great song.  "Six o'clock on the autoroute, burning rubber, burning chrome. Bay of Cadiz and ferry home, Atlantic sea cut glass, African sun at last". A trip in music.  I can just feel and see the Bay of Cadiz, the Iberian peninsula, the inlet to the Atlantic Ocean and the feel of the promise of the African coastal sun at last.  It's a trip, an exotic propulsion, melodic song of beauty.  You can actually feel this song.  It's great.

White As Snow - Beautiful, just so.  This is what a ballad is.  The quality of sound and the meandering pace of the song is spot on. Bono's voice is at its best.  As in Fez, a story is being told here.  "If only a heart could be as white as snow, If only a heart could be as white as snow".  This a classic song and deserves much more credit than it has received.  Gorgeous.

Breathe -  Good song but it sounds too derivative.  Something too familiar.  "Every day I die again, and again I'm reborn. Every day I have to find the courage, to walk out into the street". A common theme (which I like) in U2's work.  Being reborn, making yourself new again. Gathering the strength to carry on.  I like the theme but the song itself I'm not really sure about.

Cedars Of Lebanon - A delicious, moody track.  Little snippets of sound and voice peeking into the song. It fits my mood when I'm the most introspective.  Bono's voice shines so strong, painting evocative images.  The song is like a gentle flowing river.  It talks about life, love and the difference of what many of us are.  It speaks of the unknown and known.  "Return the call to home".  Home, yes that's where it all begins and where it all ends.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2018, 11:23:48 AM by nulla uomo »

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #78 on: September 29, 2018, 11:54:38 AM »
Thanks for the write-up! We have similar takes with just a few differences. Mainly that I'm dyyyyyingggg on Crazy Tonight right now. I never thought I'd like it - it earned a "wtf - NO" on the first listen. I also like Breathe a lot better than you do, though we both hear the derivative something and ordinary guitar riff. But that "walk out into the street, with arms out, got a love you can't defeat" and all the rest is big for me.

I'm not sure if I've finished with Cedars yet, I like it but never got to the point of listening over and over like most of the others.

I am starting to think about writing notes on the album themes because they are coming clear at this point. Brilliant album. Genius, honestly.

Arghhh, Crazy!! I haven't figured this one out yet. Initially it was addiction, but it's so joyful, I have more work to do. Maybe it's a similar message as Breathe.

Offline Chip

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #79 on: September 29, 2018, 06:17:41 PM »
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The funny thing is it seems like the lyrics are better.  To the point that I wonder if Eno is talking him out of lines like:

There is a light donít let it go out
A baby cries on a doorstep
You were talking at me not to me

I know, I know UC lyrics, right?  But those are just artistically questionable.  What I donít like is the cliche lines.  They make me think of Dr. Phil or something.


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That is a great point, Tortuga. To continue a conversation from another recent thread here (and multiple ones over the years on this forum), if I look at what I consider to be albums with Bono's most poetic lyrics (TJT through Zooropa [including OS1], NLOTH), all of them have Eno as a producer. It makes me wonder not just if Eno influences Bono away from cliches (although that may well be true), but whether he might be an uncredited cowriter on some of them.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #80 on: September 30, 2018, 10:02:51 AM »
Tortuga, I'm with you on A baby cries on a doorstep. No.

Nulla uomo, I will start a separate thread on nloth themes. Making some notes first.

Offline Chip

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #81 on: September 30, 2018, 04:36:32 PM »
I'm not a defender of "A baby cries on a doorstep" as a song lyric, but a few months back, when I came to like "13" after attending E&I, it came to me that Bono might intend the baby to represent innocence. (Compare that line with "I've got a question for the child in you before it leaves" in "13.") If so, there's a nice symmetry at the opening and closure of SOE. The newborn analogy also might hearken back to both "Miracle Drug" and "Fez -- Being Born," in both cases of which you can argue that birth represents a kind of innocence.

Other than that, it strikes me as possibly influenced by Harry Potter, and, if so, probably conceived by Bono as a lyric when his kids were younger.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 04:40:05 PM by Chip »

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #82 on: September 30, 2018, 05:03:40 PM »
I thought it was something like that, or rebirth (the doorstep being the threshold for the world).

But I dislike it because, firstly, the image it invokes is really abandonment. A baby crying on a doorstep is a terrible thing. I don't think it was the intent, which makes it a big failure as an image. And secondly, it just sounds cliche.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #83 on: September 30, 2018, 07:53:48 PM »
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I thought it was something like that, or rebirth (the doorstep being the threshold for the world).

But I dislike it because, firstly, the image it invokes is really abandonment. A baby crying on a doorstep is a terrible thing. I don't think it was the intent, which makes it a big failure as an image. And secondly, it just sounds cliche.

Its super cliche.  But beyond that the whole innocence theme is just plain played out.  Heís been obsessed with it since HTDAAB.  Its time to dream it all up again.

I donít blame him if he doesnít have the creativity or energy left for that.  But I donít think thatís the case.  I think he just needs a good long break followed by some fresh inspiration.

Plenty to talk about with the body of work from the last 40 years though.


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Offline laoghaire

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #84 on: October 01, 2018, 05:53:43 PM »
So I realized why I am not nuts for Cedars - like it a lot! But not nuts.

I don't hear anything but cynicism in it.

Of course cynicism has its place. It's just not the thing I'm trying to hold on to.

Am I wrong? Is there optimism in it? I love the tune, it's creative, it's clever, it sounds great, but the message is what drives it for me.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #85 on: October 01, 2018, 07:33:28 PM »
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So I realized why I am not nuts for Cedars - like it a lot! But not nuts.

I don't hear anything but cynicism in it.

Of course cynicism has its place. It's just not the thing I'm trying to hold on to.

Am I wrong? Is there optimism in it? I love the tune, it's creative, it's clever, it sounds great, but the message is what drives it for me.

I wouldnít say there is optimism, unless you think the soldier bringing oranges is that.  But I donít think of it as cynical either.  I see it as the reflections of someone whose seen a lot of bad stuff and feels depressed by the hopelessness of the world and the soul-less deals that have to be made. 
I think of cynicism as being suspicious or skeptical, with a certain amount of sanctimonious snark.  I see the character in COL as long having moved past that, and having accepted the reality that it is.

So thinking that by cynical you probably meant depressing or hopeless then I agree with you.  But I also think it is honest and makes you realize that just because you canít fix something doesnít mean you shouldnít do what you can.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Gonna dive into NLOTH - any pointers?
« Reply #86 on: October 02, 2018, 07:30:15 PM »
Cedars is not one of my favorites off this album.  Not sure why; it just never did much for me.  I guess it seems to meander and not go anywhere lyrically or musically.