U2101 – Cedarwood Road

1394319982 (2)When I first listened to Songs of Innocence, there were, of course, a few songs that really stood out to me as potential favorites. Today’s topic was not one of them – most of those early faves were from the first half of the album. Song for Someone, Every Breaking Wave, etc. I think that I may have just been too overwhelmed to fully absorb the whole record, though, because the more I listen to it, the more I come to realize that it’s pretty damn good all the way through. Cedarwood Road has emerged as a real standout for me, mostly because of that killer guitar riff that serves as the spine of the song, but as is true with most of the new record, Bono’s lyrics really take the song to another level.

2659257911_f78674bdf4It’s such a personal reminiscence about growing up, I can’t help but wonder how Bono’s friend Guggi, about whom the song is written, feels about it. Does he laugh at the inside jokes that I’m sure Bono has referenced in the lyrics, or does it conjure up memories of a more bittersweet, wistful variety? I remember being on a quest of my own for a “soul that’s real”, and finding a couple of friendships that have lasted for better than 20 years, but thinking about those days always brings to mind all that’s happened in my life since then, and not all of it was good, of course. Still, those were happy times, and I wouldn’t trade them or the relationships that I formed during them for anything. It must be a pretty incredible feeling to know that you’ve inspired one of the world’s greatest songwriters in such a way.

Cedarwood Road made its live debut just a few days ago during U2’s time at Maida Vale with Jo Whiley for the BBC. The song was performed in a style that pretty closely matched the acoustic version of the song from disc 2 of the Songs of Innocence package that was released earlier this week. If you haven’t heard either of these performances, I’ve included an MP3 of the Maida Vale performance below, and it’s pretty freaking fantastic. Bono’s voice is positively amazing here, and I can’t help but think that good things are in store for us when the band finally hits the road.

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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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