Author Topic: Bono's Best Vocal Moments  (Read 977 times)

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Offline dwaltman

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Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« on: September 19, 2018, 11:42:45 AM »
One of the things I miss about aging voices are those moments that can send chills down your spine.  I just saw Elton John, who was spectacular, but never attempted those high notes he used to hit.  While Bono still sings with emotion, energy, and conviction I miss some of these types of moments:

Bad
With or Without You
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (especially live)
Vertigo
Please
If You Wear That Velvet Dress (J.Holland version)

What are your favorites? Especially any recent or very recent moments you think are good.



Offline georgemccauley

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2018, 11:50:39 AM »
Wow there are so many, but ultra recently I’d have to say the recent acoustic performances of Best Thing on Milan TV and from Abbey road are definitely up there.

Check out the recent acoustic performance of Love is Bigger from the Ellen show. Note perfect from start to finish - id say this was bono maxing our his current range and using it the best he possibly can for 2018

He seems to perform better acoustically rather than live on the recent tours I’ve noticed

Offline ShankAsu

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2018, 12:20:52 PM »
While he's got some memorable early songs, i prefers the low gutteral vocals on WGRYWH and RHMT.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2018, 02:18:40 PM »
RHMT has both high and low! Amazing recording!

If we're talking about album vocals, here are my picks, in chronological order:
Tomorrow
Drowning Man
Pride*
RHMT*
One Tree Hill
Heartland*
AIWIY
WGRYWH
Ultraviolet
Gone
Kite
MOS*
WAS*
California
Iris
RFD*
Little Things
Landlady

I went back and starred the ones that stand out even on that list.

This exercise confirmed that I still like his voice a lot even with the changes. I think Red Flag Day is an impressive vocal work, so I even have a song off the latest album in the cream of the crop list. I do see a recent loss of power (last 3 years I think) but a gain of control. He's still an expert at communicating emotion, and if you pay attention you can hear that every line is delivered with care.

It's interesting to me that I skipped a couple of decades in my starred list - after Heartland, it took Moment of Surrender to really knock my socks off again. I guess Kite did too, but that was really down to those two lines. I think ZooTV might have been his best live vocals but the album vocals didn't totally slay me.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2018, 03:07:37 PM »
Laoghaire, I agree that "Moment of Surrender" is subtly powerful.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2018, 03:51:30 PM »
It's honestly genius, I believe that.

Just listen to the first two lines, for example.

"I tied myself with wire" - it's jarring, it's tortured, it punches you in the face with its desperation. I can't think of another singer who can do this.

"To let the horses run free" - listen to how differently this line is delivered from the first. Now it's a total yearning, a memory of a deep relief. There is a switch from a violence in need to a sick gentleness, like a starving man screaming for food and then watching, shocked and eyes filling with tears, as food is brought to him, his breathing slowing and deepening in anticipation.

Many noteworthy moments, but two more than stand out to me are:

"To the rhythm that yearns" - if I were a musician I could surely explain what is going on with this line, but I'll try to fumble with it. There's something about the note used in "yearns" that reaches some equalibrium, the only part of the whole song that does this. Maybe it's the base note of the key the song is in, I don't know, or maybe it rests on a major where most rest on the minor. I don't know what's up with that note, but I know there's something special about it, and it feels like the only note that feels not tilted, stable, like it's the foundation. It sounds like resolve.

"To be released from control" - related to the previous line, we fall out of kilter again with the note "control" lands on. Again, I don't know, maybe it's a seventh (and feels "wrong"), or slides back into the minor, or something like that. Just when you think a resolution has been reached, we slide back. Both lines delivered expertly, with "yearns," well, yearning, and "control" with a small voice that needs guidance, a half step back/down.

Anyway, it's a true standout recording, and our man really is a genius. It's about way more than hitting notes.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 03:54:50 PM by laoghaire »

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2018, 05:11:45 PM »
The song reminds me of 12-step philosophy.  Wonder if Adam had a lot to do with lyrics?

Offline dwaltman

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2018, 05:38:50 PM »
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It's honestly genius, I believe that.

Just listen to the first two lines, for example.

"I tied myself with wire" - it's jarring, it's tortured, it punches you in the face with its desperation. I can't think of another singer who can do this.

"To let the horses run free" - listen to how differently this line is delivered from the first. Now it's a total yearning, a memory of a deep relief. There is a switch from a violence in need to a sick gentleness, like a starving man screaming for food and then watching, shocked and eyes filling with tears, as food is brought to him, his breathing slowing and deepening in anticipation.

Many noteworthy moments, but two more than stand out to me are:

"To the rhythm that yearns" - if I were a musician I could surely explain what is going on with this line, but I'll try to fumble with it. There's something about the note used in "yearns" that reaches some equalibrium, the only part of the whole song that does this. Maybe it's the base note of the key the song is in, I don't know, or maybe it rests on a major where most rest on the minor. I don't know what's up with that note, but I know there's something special about it, and it feels like the only note that feels not tilted, stable, like it's the foundation. It sounds like resolve.

"To be released from control" - related to the previous line, we fall out of kilter again with the note "control" lands on. Again, I don't know, maybe it's a seventh (and feels "wrong"), or slides back into the minor, or something like that. Just when you think a resolution has been reached, we slide back. Both lines delivered expertly, with "yearns," well, yearning, and "control" with a small voice that needs guidance, a half step back/down.

Anyway, it's a true standout recording, and our man really is a genius. It's about way more than hitting notes.

Ok, agreed...Moment of Surrender is a great vocal performance.  What do you think is the best vocal performance between SOI and SOE?

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2018, 05:50:52 PM »
Well, my top pick was RFD, but Iris, California, Little Things, and Landlady were all standouts to me. Landlady is one of the few top picks of mine that isn't a "belter." I just really like the sound of his voice in it, especially on the "and I"ll never know" etc. part.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2018, 06:26:51 PM »
One moment (among many I would say) is "Love is All We Have Left":  "all we have is immortality".  Bono's voice has a very full and rich timbre; he sounds very joy-filled in this moment.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2018, 07:26:43 PM »
I like that too.

I also like how he sings "and all my innocence has died" in Little Things, his voice almost just a breath on "died." And then "swarming" - pure art, literally singing that swarming. And "covers me in fear" actually sends a chill through me, as his voice catches a little.

Offline BurningDownLove

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2018, 10:56:09 PM »
The line in Little Things, “as the hunted I become the prey” — I LOVE the way he sings the word “become,” the high and then the low. I don’t know what it is about this one, but the emotion behind it feels incredibly sad to me, almost broken. Honestly it almost made me cry the first time I heard it.

Offline JFW

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2018, 01:57:46 PM »
Not the best, but honorable mentions:

- your blue room (I really dig it, in a Leonard Cohen way)
- Every Breaking Wave (live EMA, fantastic, one of their best performance all time)

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2018, 02:14:47 PM »
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- Every Breaking Wave (live EMA, fantastic, one of their best performance all time)

Yeah, holy crap was this amazing.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Bono's Best Vocal Moments
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2018, 02:16:32 PM »
"Little Things" has brought me to tears on a couple of occasions.  And I'm not a super big crier--just something very heartfelt about that song.