We're into growing up

I've had some emails asking me when I'm going to post about "Get On Your Boots." I have to tell you I'm not that sure what to say; my first reaction was that it completely lacked musical cohesion and was very derivative, although I'm more sold on it after additional listens on better speakers. It reminds me a bit of my first hearing of "Discotheque": What? So here are a few random reflections. Feel free to jump in!

While the song comes off as lighter and weirder than "Vertigo," I'm not so sure (well, it's weirder, yes.) Certainly the sense carries over from "Vertigo" of seeking some kind of sanity amidst the world's reeling ("night falling" as "rockets hit the Fun Fair" -- was that line written before the global economic meltdown?), and that reeling is linked to the same source (isn't this the first U2 song with the name Satan in it? Anybody? I know we've had "devil" and appearances by evil voices, but that's less in your face.)

I'm struck by the references to havoc being wreaked by unwarranted fear (Satan's "bomb scare" and "kids... screaming" at "ghosts" who "aren't real") and at how completely that contrasts with the "eternity"-flavored and joyous place of "love and community" -- finding your grounding in an (uncool) private covenant space with its subtler demands ("we're into growing up"), as opposed to the public political space. However, let me add that the latter section comes off a bit 1970s-youth-Mass to me.

I don't know what to do lyrically with "let me in the sound," although it's one of the more striking parts of the song, and will go over great live as I'm sure U2 consciously designed it to. And the fear of drowning that suddenly appears seems to give the lie to the narrator's distancing himself from others' fears earlier. Any insights, anybody?

And of course, the usual U2 question: who is the "you" and is it the same "you" throughout? Of course, on one level there's the beloved with the boots and the, uh, "gasoline." I've had a couple correspondents suggest the church is being addressed at some points: "you don't know how beautiful you are." My first reaction was to hear the "you don't get it" chorus addressing those who are caught up in the lies of the ghosts and bomb scares, and some other lines addressing the beloved. There are probably many more possibilities.

Enjoying the close psuedo-Moroccan harmonies. Enjoying the complex drums. Enjoying the sonic evidence that the Edge met Jack White and Robert Plant recently.

And by the way, FWIW, the one time the adjective shifts, I don't think it's either of the currently circulating "bossy" or "foxy" boots, but "saucy" ones.

[Edit: perhaps the best critique so far, from the LA Times, which points out that perhaps they're more like work boots (which ties in with a lot of Bono's ONE campaign rhetoric about needing to make justice sexy... I'm sure someone can find him talking about the church and soccor moms putting on their boots and getting to work, somewhere. HT Angela.]

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