U2

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. I know if it ain’t one thing, it’s another, but, this pollen count has gone off the charts. Seriously, I think today was the highest measured pollen count of all time, and we’re known for pollen. I think the count was 4107 or something like that. That’s the pollen in the air. The pollen on the ground is so deep that the squirrels and chipmunks are setting up a ski slope in my front yard. Size being relative and all, it looks like they’ve got about two feet of pure powder. Of course it’s green, but I’m not sure they notice.

Needless to say the high pollen count has trapped me indoors. Even inside, I sound like the little engine that could. Huffing and puffing under even the smallest task. Based off of my concern for my health, I took a sanity day today. Not that you’re ever off in this job, it’s just that you can pick a task that limits your movements and contact with others. I decided today would be a good day to sort my assorted music collection. I’ve got cassettes, cds and vinyl albums. Sadly the 45s have gone by the wayside. It would be really cool to fire up the Surfaris playing “Wipe Out” over the loud speaker here at the Rec room. I bet most of the residents would groove for a few minutes just like they used to  “in the day”. Some things never die.

Anyway, I was sorting through the cds and found a copy of U2’s “War” that was out of place. I figured as long as it was out of place anyway, why not give it a spin? Boy, talk about your time capsules. From the cover I can see that it was released in 1983, but it seems much newer. The big hits were “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day”, but I’ve always like “Two Hearts Beat As One” just as well. It’s just amazing that these songs hold up as well as they do. Particularly in an era that I refer to as a musical wasteland. To my mind, the only groups that came out of the ’80’s were U2 and REM. I see other bands on assorted “top ten lists”, like Queen, but they started in the ’70’s. I also don’t count bands that had a hit in 80’s and were never heard from again. I’m talking about bands that stand the test of time and continue to perform. U2 has them all beat in that regard.

The fact that U2 has been able to get a very political message across while maintaining a high degree of popularity speaks highly of their musicianship. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” takes its theme from an incident during the “troubles” in Ireland. The incident occurred in Derry where British troops shot and killed unarmed protesters and bystanders. The song tells the story, but gives hope, and cries out for a peaceful solution. The depth of the message is there as strong as any Woody Guthrie song, and U2 has continued to bring the message for over thirty years now. Powerful stuff.

Speaking of powerful stuff, has anyone heard anywhere else the amount of sound U2 produces with just four members? Let me point out that one of those members does not play an instrument. He does sing pretty well, though. What the Edge does with tracking is absolutely phenomenal. It’s like he has a hundred piece orchestra at his toe tips. While not a guitarist in the Clapton, Hendrix, etc. league, the Edge has certainly made the most of his gifts.

While I reflect on my meager musical talents, I also marvel at the fact that the group has stayed together for over thirty years and are still friends. That’s just amazing. There are a lot of governments that don’t last that long, not to mention a bunch of kids who met in school.

Hats off to U2. Are they better than the Beatles? That’s certainly a question worth pondering. Let’s all have a listen while we ponder.

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