Tuesday Top Five :: Songs by U2

Since writing about The Joshua Tree I have been on a bit of a U2 kick, so this week’s kick-off Tuesday Top Five will fall into an unplanned theme and be my top five songs by U2.

5. Until the End of the World

U2 is forever tied to my first husband, and the music I discovered during our time together. As I wrote in the favorite album feature about The Joshua Tree, it was one of his friends who really pushed me to give their music a real listen, and it was his friend who handed me that cassette of The Joshua Tree that I would eventually wear out, and never give back.

Another friend of his introduced me to this song. We were on one of our countless “break-ups” that ended up as “make-ups”, and he was temporarily sharing a house with three roommates. One was a chef, one was a painter, and one was a music obsessive. Out of my time spent visiting him there I learned how to make homemade pesto, sat for a painting with my then baby daughter, and discovered both the movie and soundtrack, Until the End of the World.

That soundtrack is still on my movie soundtrack top five list, and U2’s song of the same name is one of the stand-out tracks on the album.

4. Bad

I sought out this song after reading my all-time favorite book, God-Shaped Hole (Tiffanie Debartolo) and reading that this was one of the songs that inspired one of the main characters, and the story itself.

As a writer, music has always been such a powerful muse to me that I am ever curious of what music other writers are inspired by. I am also the kind of music geek that seeks out connections between music and all other forms of art I consume (books, television series, movies, visual art).

In the closing scene of God-Shaped Hole when Trixie drives off into a new life I imagine this song blaring out of her stereo, and it makes me smile at the thought. Sometimes I play it loudly while I am in the car driving, and sometimes while listening to it I think about starting over.

3. Stay (Faraway So Close)

There are songs that sometimes hit so close to who I am that it hurts to listen to, they are the songs that speak of difficult times and rough memories and of heartaches that still sting. There are also songs that speak of characters and of character itself, that sometimes ring true in a way that is hard to admit to. The girl in this song is like that for me.

She is not necessarily likeable, though she is not a monster. She is broken and she is guarded to the point of numbness. She is hurt and hurting, but she also hurts others. She teeters on that fine line between being a survivor and wearing a badge of what she’s survived in order to gain something (love, need, understanding, attention, excuses).

She is sometimes conquering demons and she is sometimes courting them.

There is this line that feels like a knife blade sometimes when I hear it, “a vampire, or a victim, it depends on whose around.” I may not like embracing it, but I can see where I have been, and can be both, in my life, depending on who I was around.

I know this girl in this song, I have been this girl in this song.

2. Red Hill Mining Town

I wrote about this song in my tribute to The Joshua Tree, so I do not want to repeat myself here. I will note that for the last two weeks I have played this song every morning on my way in to work, the sun coming up over the city, my window rolled half-way down, while I sing “I’m still waiting, I’m hanging on, you’re all that’s left to hold on to” loudly.

It has become a temporary musical habit, for me.

I can also clearly see the protagonist in the story I am writing listening to this song, and singing it loudly, while standing at the beach, feet wading in the salty sea water, trying to let go of someone she has hung on to for most of her life.

1. Running to Stand Still

Another song I wrote about in The Joshua Tree post. I will say that this song is one of the most honest songs I have ever heard, and felt, about addiction and abuse. It is also one of a list of songs that will always make me cry because of how much I feel and know of addiction and abuse.

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