So yesterday saw the debut of Vertigo. After taking a while to get to sleep, I finally drifted off at 10pm, to be woken up by my alarm at 3am, in time for Dave Fanning's radio show in Ireland, which was MEANT to have the world premiere. I quickly got the feed working and logged onto Interference, only to hear the feed be totally blacked out and find rumours on Interference that it had been played early by a Belgian radio station. After wondering what the zark was going on with Fanning's feed and watching the demand hammer Interference's servers to pieces, a renegade DJ in Croatia decided to play the song and by 3:20am, it had leaked to the Internet. WE HAD VERTIGO. The quality was poor, with the DJ talking over some of it, especially the end, but we had it. I honestly can't remember how much longer it was until U2Valencia.com's awesome quality copy turned up, but it did ... and then I played it on non-stop repeat for twelve hours, if you exclude the short break I took to make that awful, embarrassing phone post. Yes, I really did play it that much - partly because I had no track of time, partly because it was just that exciting, partly because I had nothing better to do, and mainly because each time I listened to it, it got better.
So what do I think of the song? I'm going to plagiarise a post of mine from Interference, with some additions.
This song is nothing short of brilliant. While it is not a masterpiece such as Streets, it is the perfect opening single and is probably much deeper than some will give it credit for being. To me, the song sounds like it is a commentary on modern society, through both direct criticism ("give me what I want and no-one gets hurt") and the visual imagery U2 is famous for (such as in the first two verses). It describes the confusion of daily existence, where we really do live in a place called Vertigo. If the information overload of the days of ZooTV was severe, it is surely worse today. However, it seems to offer some sort of sanity through the overload - "you give me something I can feel." Not a temporary sensation, but really feel.
Like any U2 song, this song has a spiritual side, which specifically comes out in the first verse and the final chorus. I am sure many complex explanations will soon come out, but as others have mentioned, it would seem some of this has to do with the Holy Spirit and the temptation of Jesus by the Devil. Lyrics relating to the Holy Spirit should come as no surprise to U2 fans, considering the fact that "the Spirit moves in mysterious ways," and "you better learn how to kneel."
Musically, the song is brilliant. It initially seems to be a direct rocker harking back to U2's roots in The Ramones. In that sense, it counters the poor 'punk' music being made today by people that have no idea about what the punk movement meant. Once you look deeper at this song, it is more intricate than the surface shows you. Edge shows off his talent, playing a broad variety from harmonics to power chords, and adding some intriguing Spanish backing vocals that add a real flavour of interest to the song. Adam's bass carries the song, and I haven't heard him playing this well in a long time. The bass line thumps and surges through the song, combining perfectly with Larry's rock-solid drumming. Bono's vocals are the best they have been since Achtung Baby, and this is definitely a style of singing we have never heard from him before, with the quick delivery in the verses combined with the talking before the last chorus. And really, the more I listen to it, the more credit I feel is due to Adam. When I play this loud, the bass really does a beautiful job.
Ultimately, this song does not sound like it was made by men in their forties. U2 sound much more youthful than they have in a long time, and considering the overwhelmingly positive reaction, it is going to have a far-reaching impact. It is a credit to U2; they have made a catchy, infectious, and rocking song full of brilliance. Some of it harks back to earlier works, with I Will Follow seeming to meet HMTMKMKM, but some of it is completely new, and this single reveals at least a portion of U2's direction for the next couple of years.
So after listening to Vertigo for twelve hours and then some quality music that paradoxicalbum sent me, I went out to get a drink and I noticed there was a pile of mail on the bench. I checked it, and as I expected, there was a package there that hadn't been given to me. So I come back into my room, put my dinner on to cook (remember, I have the pool room, and there's a mini-oven in here), and put on one of the DVDs, of U2 dressing up as the Dalton Brothers and opening for themselves. Ten minutes of hysterical goodness indeed. Bono and Edge talking and singing in American accents is quite amusing, and little beats Adam dressing up as a woman.
So the DVD finished, and I was just getting out the other one when my dinner finished cooking. I left the DVD to load up while I grabbed my food, and when I returned to my computer, I hit play, EXPECTING to see one concert. When a particular song I did NOT expect started playing through my headphones, I just about dropped my pizza. I kept repeating to myself "this doesn't exist," but as I quickly cross-checked setlists and audio recordings I have, I realised there was only one show it could possibly be. A show for which no recording is meant to exist.
My ethical dilemma is that I'm not sure whether I should reveal the contents of my discovery. I am known to oppose hoarding - I believe that if you have a recording, you should share it and pass on the maximum joy to the maximum amount of people. However, the problem with such a stance is that while it may be nice in theory, in reality people are selfish and hoard, and will only trade their rare items for other rare items. The only way to get rare items 'out' is if you use other rare recordings - such as what I have in my possession. So while I would love to spread this around and trade with everyone who wants a copy, I have this feeling I should hold onto it and try to use it to get more items out for everyone.
Your thoughts? Please, respond to this objectively rather than simply because you want to know what I've got.
What should I do?
I would just like to say for the record that Team axver and purplicious is awesome.
--- 6:58pm ---
The Edge is at Interference. He really is. He's posted, he's polite, and he's funny! I sent him a Personal Message. Wow.
This doesn't feel real. I can't believe this. Best two days of my life. I'm speechless, I truly am. I couldn't stop shaking when I heard Vertigo, but that pales in comparison to this. It's The Edge! The person who I admire the most is at Interference! It's just too incredible for words. Some people are skeptical, but I'm not doubting. Wow ...