Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Ceaseless Roar and Songs of Innocence

I haven't been exited about new music Tuesday in a really really long time....until Tuesday, September 9th. First, of course, at midnight, I downloaded Robert Plant's new album, Lullaby and...the Ceaseless Roar. And a wonderful surprise happened when we all received the gift of U2's new album, Songs of Innocence - no anticipation needed - it neatly arrived by surprise on my iCloud. The theme of both albums is reminiscing - and taking stock of life now. An odd coincidence that both albums would be so inward looking.  So without waiting much longer - let us look at these musical treasures.

His tenth, and possibly final, solo album is no disappointment. Differing vastly from his last two albums, Raising Sand and Band of Joy, Lullaby is the culmination of Robert's musical journey. In it, there are sounds from his love affair with African melodies and the early American blues. The album is hauntingly beautiful, and really seems to sum up his musical career and journey in life. 

Little Maggie
I feel as if this was a song that could have been sung while he and Jimmy Page were recording songs for Walking into Clarksdale or No Quarter. There is a very rich Morroccon feel to it, but it weaves nicely with a gently rock beat that is all Robert.

A beautiful love song, with traditional middle eastern / African drum sounds. This is definitely one of my favorites on the album, simply for it's message of love and support.
Reaching for the stars, in the sky above.
I will bring their beauty home.
With colors of my love.

Pocketful of Golden
These songs are weightless, and flow notwithstanding their many layers of varying influential sounds. This song especially is Robert daydreaming about his past, loss, the unknown, and finding happiness again. And if the sun refused to shine - a nod to Thank You. It's about the life of the golden god with Led Zeppelin, the loss of his son Karac, and his solo journey.

Embrace Another Fall
This song is zen. It rises and falls along with the journey that Robert sings about in this song.

Turn it Up
It's a mix of Zeppelin and American blues. It's about Robert's American journey, it's Robert's scream of help of being stuck inside a stereotype - and it's his Bono moment.

A Stolen Kiss
The ballad on the album. Gorgeous. You really get the sense of Robert's look back on life and love in this song. It's simple and beautiful.

Somebody There
When I was a young boy, time was passing by real slow.
And all around was wonder and all around the great unknown...
Poor Howard
This song so very much reminds me of Wah Wah by George Harrison. My second favorite on the album. It's Robert sowing his American blues oats, with beautiful strings and a great snare backing.

House of Love
This is a throwback to Principle of the Moments in my mind. It's got that 80's Robert sound. It's a song about change and starting over from obvious heartbreak. Would love to see a video for this.

Up on the Hollow Hill (Understanding Arthur)
Robert seems to be sneaking his geekiness into this song if I am deciphering it correctly. The Hollow Hills is a book about King Arthur's life. It's sly and I love it. I still see Robert in The Song Remains the Same, conquering foreign lands.

Arbaden (Maggie's Babby)
Is this Robert's official good bye to us? It is a fast recap of his music styles, Zep to solo. He has admitted recently in interviews that this may be it for him. That he may settle for retirement of sorts. And this might be the note he leaves for us on the table. And with this album, I would be completely satisfied and wish him so very well with much love. 

 I'm goin' down to the station with my suitcase in my hand.
I'm goin' away, away to leave you - in some far distant land.

The thirteenth studio album by U2 was a surprise to us all. While not their best album, it's still good - but good for U2  is saying it's so so. The music itself is what we came to expect from No Line on the Horizon - it's like these are the outtakes. However, the lyrics are exceptional and Bono again proves my point that he is our generation's David, the Psalm writer. Just like Lullably, Songs of Innocence is just that - a look back at the past and reminiscing about the good, the bad, and memories we'd like to forget.

Here is my track-by-track breakdown:

The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
Bono was taken by the Ramones at a very early age. This song about his pilgrimage is sweet, and something we can all relate to. The fact that it was U2's music that Joey Ramone was listening too on his deathbed.
Everything I ever lost now has been returned, the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard...
We've got language so we can communicate.
Religion so I can love and hate.
 Music so I can exaggerate my pain and give it a name.

Every Breaking Wave
It's new wave With or Without you sounding. It's a bit to cliché for me.

California (There Is No End to Love)
Never knew they had such love for CA. But there is indeed some memory for Bono - like he hit rock bottom here and had his epiphany.

Song for Someone
We haven't heard simple songs like this from U2 in along time. We get the Edge on backing vocals  and Larry's signature snaring. I would have been happy with an album full of these songs.

Iris (Hold Me Close)
Bono's mother died suddenly when he was young and it's nice to finally see him addressing her in a song.
. Hold me close and don't let me go.
Like I'm someone that you might now.

Hmmm, was this the second version of Vertigo that we never heard? It's got a B-52's and Popmart sound to it.
Raised by Wolves
Ah, Bono is back. The Bono I love - not afraid to tackle controversy. May 17, 1974, bombs went off in Dublin and Monaghan in Ireland, killing over 30 and injuring hundreds. Controversial no because of the bombings, but for the rumors that clandestine forces within the British Government helped the attack and covered up any of this in the investigation.

Face down on a broken street
There’s a man in the corner in a pool of misery.
I’m in a white van as a red sea covers the ground
Metal crash I can’t tell what it is
But I take a look and now I’m sorry I did.
5:30 on a Friday night 33 good people cut down
I don’t believe anymore
I don’t believe anymore
Face down on a pillow of shame
There are some girls with a needle tryin to spell my name
My body’s not a canvas
My body’s now a toilet wall.
I don’t believe anymore
I don’t believe anymore
Raised by wolves
Stronger than fear
Raised by wolves
We were raised by wolves
Raised by wolves
Stronger than fear
If I open my eyes,
You disappear
Boy sees his father crushed under the weight
Of a cross in a passion where the passion is hate.
Blue mink Ford, I’m gonna detonate and you’re dead
Blood in the house,
Blood on the street
The worst things in the world are justified by belief
Registration 1385-WZ
I don’t believe anymore
I don’t believe anymore
Raised by wolves
Stronger than fear
Raised by wolves
We were raised by wolves
Raised by wolves
Stronger than fear
If I open my eyes,
You disappear

Cedarwood Road
Ahh, reminiscing time. Loving the sound of this song that is about the area where Bono grew up.
Sleep Like A Baby Tonight
This is a song that could be stripped and be on War or Boy. It's an electronic lullaby with a nightmare in the middle of it. The heavy guitar chorus and Bono's attempt to hit those high notes should be left up to The Edge. (Seriously, I love you Paul Hewson, but leave the soprano stuff to Mr. Evans).

This is Where You Can Reach Me Now
I listened to this a few times - first to be confused by the many varied genre of sounds. Then I went back to my original statement of it being an album about reminiscing. Take two, I heard the obvious Clash nod. There is also a hint at Edge's October piano notes, some Rolling Stones, and an odd alien dance vibe.
The Troubles
I just don't like the title. An Irishman can't write a song called The Troubles and expect us to think it isn't about Northern Ireland - it's got a hauntingly gorgeous sound and it should be about The Troubles. But, alas, it's about assigning blame in a relationship.

I have to thank the music gods for my wonderful week of new music by some of my favorite artists. It was a great week. Get out there and listen to these!

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