U2101 – You’re the Best Thing About Me

Here we are, with the first U2101 article about a song from Songs of Experience. This is an exciting time to be alive, to be sure. An old friend of mine used to say that one of the best things about U2 was that they were happening right now. I believed her then and I still feel that that is true today. I’ve got to say – I am loving everything that we’ve gotten from the new album so far, but I think that this new song is my favorite from Songs of Experience so far, which I believe is how it’s supposed to be. The band is definitely putting its best foot forward with the new single – which, by the way, I feel is the best lead single since “Vertigo”, over a decade ago.

 

On Wednesday, after listening to two versions of “You’re the Best Thing About Me” that the band put out that day, I was giving a slight edge to the “Sci-Fi Soul mix” (which I’ve seen referred to on some forums as a remix. I don’t believe that it is a remix. It sounds more like an alternate mix to me, if you’re interested in my two cents). Since then, however, my opinion has shifted and I now think that I prefer the album version. The album version is simpler, grittier, and rawer, all of which serves as a nice counterbalance to the sweet poppiness of the vocal melody. Seriously, I know I said the same thing about “The Blackout”, but it might be even more true with regards to “You’re the Best Thing About Me” – this song has one of the best vocal hooks, especially in the chorus, that U2 has ever written. I think (and I really hope) that it has a chance to make a dent on the pop charts. I know some of you don’t like that the band is trying to stay relevant with the younger generation, but I think it’s great that U2 still cares about the charts. They’re not forgetting their older fans, but they’re still reaching and striving, and I admire them for that.

 

I’m sure that all of you caught the live debut of the song on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on Thurdsay (if you missed it, you  can catch it on YouTube), and I know for a fact that many of you are anxious for “You’re the Best Thing About Me” to make its U2 tour debut. I’m of mixed minds about that. On one hand, I’d love to hear the band breeze through the song again in front of a bigger crowd, and I’m always in favor of U2 playing songs that haven’t been played very much. On the other hand, I feel like this current tour is dedicated to The Joshua Tree and should remain so. Too much fanfare would surround a performance of the new song, and it would detract from the purpose of the tour. There will be a time and a place for U2 to focus on Songs of Experience, but this isn’t it. By the time you read this, it might be a moot point, as U2 might decide to play “You’re the Best Thing About Me” tonight in Indianapolis, but if they don’t, try not to be too disappointed. By this time next year, I have no doubt that we will have had our share of performances of the new U2 single.

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broadsword

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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