282 of 324 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: All That You Can't Leave Behind (Audio CD)
Oh, my AP English class has finally paid off, because now I understand why U2 has gone from "brilliant" to "more brilliant" to "more brilliant still."
I'm talking about William Blake, the 18th-century poet who authored the "Songs of Innocence and Experience." Don't click away--even if you know nothing about poetry, if you know something about U2, you'll appreciate this...
The theme of the "Songs" is this: We enter the world with a pure, unaffected point of view. As such, we perceive it with unadulterated clarity, but we lack the understanding to appreciate what we see.
With experience comes this understanding, but at what price? We lose the clarity of perception we were born with.
As understanding increases, though, we realize this. And then we become whole. Only through innocence can we become experienced. Only through experience can we appreciate innocence.
Now, who's that sound like? An Irish rock group, maybe, who started out waving a white flag, proclaiming, "I Will Follow"? Who saw the world in black and white and knew exactly which side they were on?
The same group saved themselves by diving headfirst into the black, as it were. With the Zoo TV experience, they immersed themselves in the sensual and the secular. In fact, they did that so thoroughly that to this day, older, more simpleminded fans resent them for it.
The simpletons can rejoice, and so can us Achtung Babies who understand what U2 did and why they had to do it, and love them for it. It started on "Pop," and it's happened on "All That You Can't Leave Behind": U2 have come full circle, become whole. They are innocent again. They understand the world around them, and now they know why this is black, why that's white, and why there's so much gray.
The band who created "All..." aren't afraid to wear their collective heart on their collective sleeve again. They aren't afraid to ask for "Peace on Earth." They can write the sweetest, most lovingest love song they've ever written now--"Wild Honey"--because they know now that beyond the darkness love is certainly waiting.
They've made their phone calls from Hell, and they are more aware than ever that, while the dark places won't go away, the world is still a true, beautiful place. They're seeing with cherubs' eyes now--the eyes of wise children.
They said they wanted to make an album about joy, and that it wouldn't be easy. They've more than risen to the challenge.
Buy this album. Buy it now. Click now. It will make your problems go away, at least for a little while. It will make your soul soar. It will make you sing.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 29, 2006 1:26:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2006 1:27:29 PM PDT
What an absolutely fantastic review! Your AP English class should pay you. I'm sure you stumbled into their as an existing writer and thinker...
Posted on May 20, 2007 6:02:13 AM PDT
I agree--this is a great review for an album that won me back as a fan again. I have been there rooting for U2 since 1980, but they lost me in the 90's for some reason. This review reminded me why I was bowled over, seduced back and won over again for All That You Can't Leave Behind and the amazing 2001 tour that followed. The line about "They are innocent again" is just about the feeling I always get when I hear the album especially Beautiful Day. Perhaps I can augment that line to read "They are hopeful and innocent again". I am so proud that they were able to make a record like this and put on such amazing shows after all this time
Way to go guys--you are still putting out relevant music after all these years!
Posted on Feb 1, 2008 9:46:38 PM PST
A. Brooks says:
I am bewildered by the camp that cries betrayal by U2 returning to their classic sound. Did they think the prodigal son would stay in the City of Man? What would be the point of leaving the Garden without the promise of returning?
Read the book on Achtung Baby in the 33 1/3 series. It's excellent, and an elegant parallel to your ideas here.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2008 9:33:21 PM PST
J. Wimmer says:
Say! I almost never check my Amazon profile, but just happened to tonight and saw the comment you left a few days ago. I actually got the Achtung Baby book for Christmas, and yeah, what a fantastic read. Frankly, we could use more writing like that. Hope you're well!
Posted on Oct 24, 2009 11:29:58 PM PDT
What an absolutely fantastic review! Such a perfect explanation and stated in terms I can completely relate to... Way to go!
Posted on Aug 18, 2011 4:02:47 PM PDT
Religious Burp says:
I have to admit, the review was beautifully written, though I think the album itself is the worst U2 album and they've never recovered from it. Stupidly, I still buy every album they put out.
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