U2101 This is Where You Can Reach Me Now

1394319982After a couple of weeks to absorb the new album, I think I can safely say that my least favorite cut is probably “This is Where You Can Reach Me Now”, the band’s nod to their childhood heroes The Clash. I’ve never admitted this out loud before, but if I were being honest, I’d have to admit that I’m not that big a Clash fan either. I feel like I should be, and the fact that I’m not is something that I feel more than a little embarrassment about, like I might as well say “I really don’t know anything about music, and even less about good music. That’s just it, though – I’m really not all that sure that the Clash were good. I mean, I know that Joe Strummer and company were great, if you know what I mean – even before Rolling Stone christened U2 as the only band that mattered, The Clash had been carrying that label around for a few years, and they were singing songs that had weight and meaning during a time in the late 70’s and early 80’s when to do so was definitely not en vogue – but they just don’t have a lot of music in their catalog that appeals to my ears. Oddly enough, I’m a pretty big fan of punk rock and of reggae, two genres which The Clash borrowed from fairly heavily, but their particular blend of island infused sneer just never has done it for me. That said, it’s probably not surprising that it’s one of the very few new U2 songs that I’m not in love with – I still give it a 6.5 out of 10, so for my least favorite on the album, that’s pretty damn good – but even in its relative failure (for me) it’s still a great rock song, and it’s not hard to see why and how it earned a place on Songs of Innocence.


220px-BAD_II_-_The_GlobeIt’s obvious to anyone who’s been paying even a little bit of attention to U2 over the years that the Clash were very big influences. I don’t even necessarily mean musically, although I think that there’s a little bit of that in there, too – what I’m talking about is a matter of spirit – that whole punk ethos, do-it-yourself, “make the sound that’s in your soul even if you can’t play” idea. Furthermore, the four members of U2 were clearly inspired by The Clash to get involved, politically. During the 1990’s, the band even had the good fortune to tour with one of their heroes in the shape of Big Audio Dynamite II, guitarist Mick Jones’ post Clash band.


TheClashLondonCallingalbumcoverI’m starting to learn that most music listeners just don’t get U2, (I’m excluding those morons who sling hate in the band’s direction, because as vocal as they are, I just don’t think that they’re the majority) and probably feel about U2 similarly to how I feel about The Clash. Music is such a personal thing that no two people are going to be affected the same way by any song, and a band that makes a difference in millions of lives is a rare and special thing. Even though I’m not a big fan of The Clash, I’m grateful that they came along when they did and made a noise that spoke to four Irish teenagers because those four Irish lads grew up to form a band that spoke (and still speaks) to me in the same way.

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Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.

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