(RED)Wire music launch party

I expect by now several readers have already visited the (RED)Wire music launch party and seen the video of U2's cover of the Greg Lake (of ELP) holiday classic "I Believe in Father Christmas." It's a very potentially U2ey text, conjuring up the sort of "we were promised... but where is it" vibe of, say, ATYCLB's "Peace on Earth," or the "all sacred images are tarnished in our day" feel of Pop's "If God Will Send His Angels." You can decide for yourself what you think of the performance (though a friend of mine wagers that lots of floors will be done up with Christmas lights like those this year).

I had to smile in admiration at the very minor but very thoughtful lyric changes that turn Lake's text into something not just potentially, but authentically, U2ey. Did you catch them? "They sold me a Merry Christmas, they sold me a Silent Night, they sold me a fairy story..." is transmuted into something more like Popmart's "I wanted to meet God but they sold me religion" by one little shift: no longer did "they" keep selling "till I believed in the Israelite"; no, they can try to sell such holiday fantasies all they want "but I believe in the Israelite."

And the end of the original second verse, one assumes the implication is that the once-hopeful little boy awakes, exhausted and bleary-eyed, to witness his father dressed as Santa and realize the whole thing's a shuck ("I awoke with a yawn in the first light of dawn and saw him -- and through his disguise.") But U2 create a whole different feel by taking out that one little "and," so that the narrator now says that he watched in hope, woke at dawn, and "I saw him through his disguise." Another idea that we've heard many times before from this band.

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