Friday, March 20, 2009

Wire and Vice

Fixated on U2 lately for two reasons. First, a plethora of great old material seems to be surfacing from the buzz about the upcoming tour. Second, I'm really trying hard to like the new album. It's in constant rotation, I just can't get into it. Part of the problem is I am constantly comparing it to Joshua Tree and The Unforgettable Fire.

"Wire" is easily the most rocking - in fact, the only rocking track - on their 1984 transitional LP The Unforgettable Fire.

Like several other tracks on the album (including the epic and my favorite, "Bad") "Wire"'s lyrics tell a tale of the horrors of drug addiction, which is why it fits right in on this episode of Miami Vice:

Anti-drug diatribe or not, the Edge, Adam and Larry's groove on this track is so urgent and irresistible that Bono could be singing about how to pour the perfect Black & Tan and it would be equally compelling.

Despite being one of their strongest rockers, "Wire" remains a hidden gem, which is curious as it is sandwiched in the sweet spot between one of their biggest hits, "Pride (in the Name of Love)" and the dreamlike title track. I'm pretty sure I've never heard it on the radio.

"Wire" established a template for the band for instrumentally tight, album-track style barn-burners. And almost every record of theirs since "Wire" has featured one: "Even Better than the Real Thing" from Achtung Baby and "Magnificent" on their new record No Line on the Horizon are two examples that come to mind.


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