#shfl11: U2 – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

If there were an official list of bands that it’s cool to hate, U2 would surely be #1 (possibly tied with Coldplay). They may be the biggest band in the world™, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no surer way of proving your indie cred than by dissing the boys from Clontarf. They’re overblown; too religious; are hypocritical (their attempts to get governments to stump up aid-money whilst depriving their own government of funds is a particularly ugly example of this); only follow, rather than set-trends; they’re responsible for global warming. Obviously one of those is untrue, but they’ve probably been accused of all of them.

However, what the nay-sayers ignore is that U2 have been making great rock music for the best part of 35 years: they’ve experimented, they’ve not been scared of ridiculing themselves, and their live shows are truly something to behold. After releasing, The Joshua Tree, one of the biggest albums of the 80s, they then released Rattle & Hum, an ode to Memphis blues, that saw many writing them off. Their response? Achtung Baby, an album influenced by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Manchester baggy sound. This sort of thing deserves kudos, not sneering.

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Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own is taken from the album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, and is an incredibly moving song about Bono’s relationship with his dying father. It has all the hallmarks of a great U2 track, many of which would be listed by doubters as the hallmarks of a terrible U2 track:, the trademark Joshua Tree guitar sound, a hair-raising crescendo, and a slightly disconcerting falsetto from Bono.

If you hate U2, listening to it won’t change your mind, but if you’re able to put aside preconceptions and just appreciate a great track, then this is one you should be glad to find on shuffle.

#shfl11 is a self-set challenge to write a post every day in 2011 about whatever song pops up 1st on shuffle on my iPod.

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