I was at school, on a break between classes, this past week when I happened to look online on my iPhone and I discovered that there had been some U2 action. Details were finally announced for Songs of Experience, including track-listing, available formats, and a confirmation of the release date! Even better, a new single had been released! I started to play the new song, titled “Get Out of Your Own Way,” in my car right then and there, but I thought about it for a moment and decided I’d rather wait until later that night, when my wife and I could hear it for the first time together. The rest of the day seemed to drag by. The rest of my classes seemed interminable and then, when I got home before my wife, the temptation was so great to listen to the song that I almost gave in several times — but I prevailed, and when I finally got to hear “Get Out of Your Own Way,” I was absolutely stunned. I honestly think that this might be the best U2 track since “Beautiful Day.” It is layered, both sonically, in the musical track, and lyrically, with multiple meanings in Bono’s words. It sounds fresh and hip, but it calls back to earlier U2 hits at the same time. It is a wonderful updating of the classic U2 sound. Even better, I believe that this new song is the perfect balance between the passion-driven fervor of early U2 and the slightly more modulated later work that is still passionate, but driven just as much by more accomplished song-writing. In other words, “Get Out of Your Own Way” has got both “heart” and “head.”
As I listened to the first verse and chorus, it occurred to me that Bono was singing to his children, particularly his daughters (the first verse does refer to “the girl with no words”), as they grow up and experience their first case of heartbreak. In the early parts of the song, Bono seems to be counseling to his girls in dealing with the woe and sorrow that often goes along with young love, and he also seems to be reminding his daughters that love is tough, but a worthwhile fight — “Love has got to fight for its existence.” In the second verse, though, the song kind of turns around a bit, and Bono seems to be addressing American politics, urging true patriots to fight back against racism, isolationism, and all the other ills that our current administration seem to be embracing — “Liberty…had a plan until she got a smack in the mouth, then it all went south.” I love the different layers of meaning that Bono incorporates into his lyrics, and I feel that this song should be good for several months’ worth of debate.
Obviously, “Get Out of Your Own Way” hasn’t been performed live yet, but I fully expect it to be a mainstay on the Experience and Innocence Tour that was also announced this past week, I’m also a fan of the sequencing on the new album, with raw poppiness of “You’re the Best Thing About Me” moving directly into the quirky yet heavy pop-rock of “Get Out of Your Own Way”. The songs we’ve gotten so far have done a great job of getting me pumped up for Songs of Experience, coming in less than a month now! I can’t wait!