Like most of you fellow U2 fans who are reading this, I go through phases in my U2 listening. There are some songs, for instance, that I just get in a mood for sometimes. In general, I don’t listen to these songs as often as I do some others, but when the mood strikes, I wear a new groove in the record where these songs are positioned (if I were listening to them on vinyl, I would, at any rate). One such song that I’ve been in the mood for lately is “In a Little While,” from 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
“In a Little While” has always struck me as a bit of an odd song. It’s kind of fun and kind of sexy, with a dash of Bono’s trademark insecurity thrown in. I think that what the band was going for here was a bit of what is known as “blue-eyed soul,” and I think that in general they managed to hit that mark. The song is definitely soulful, in parts, anyway, but it is also very poppy. That’s not a complaint–I happen to love a good pop song–one that makes the listener glad to be alive, and if it hits me just right, “In a Little While” definitely makes me feel that feeling. The song has a smoothed-out, mellow guitar part, a groovy bass riff, and some relaxed, easy-going drumming to match the feel-good sentiment of the song. Famously, this song was recorded following a night on the town, so Bono’s voice was in rough shape while the band was in the studio. I think that the raspy quality in Bono’s voice adds to the emotion of the song, and I quite like it.
That feel-good sentiment could also be summed up with the word “hopeful,” or even “optimistic.” Hopeful that the future will be better than today. Optimistic that all my dreams will come true. It’s a feeling that serves us well in these dark times. In “In a Little While,” Bono is singing mostly to his love, voicing his desire for her. “In a little while, surely you’ll be mine.” The song turns a little bit in its second half, becoming slightly more seductive, as Bono exclaims “turn me on,” then “slow down my beating heart.” I always imagine that Bono gets a little too turned on at this point in the song, and he is begging his paramour to take mercy on him.
As I stated above, the uplifting tone of this song is particularly needed in times like these, and so there’s a part of me that believes that U2 might turn once again to “In a Little While” for their shows on the Experience + Innocence Tour. This belief is despite the fact that some fans got a little sick of the song on the 360 Tour. Some fans also complain about “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” so it I’m not sure how much to heart the band takes these complaints. I think that I would enjoy hearing “In a Little While” live again, especially if the band chooses to play it on a rotating basis with something else, so that we get a good variety songs.
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