A couple of weeks ago, I had cause to listen to and think about the Passengers album. I know that there is a lot of debate as to whether or not the album should even be considered part of U2’s catalog. I personally feel that since the band has performed songs from this album live, and the album was included as part of The Complete U2 digital box set a few years ago, that pretty much settles the debate, and there should be no problem with me writing about songs from that record. So it is that we find ourselves with today’s article on one of my favorite songs from Original Soundtracks Vol. 1–a little piece of work called “Slug.”
On an album that is chock-full of avant garde experiments and a even a few tracks that might stretch one’s definition of what “music” is and can be, “Slug” is one of the more traditional offerings, and I love it for that. Even a super-fan like me has a little trouble digesting some of the more “out-there” songs on the Passengers album, but “Slug” goes down smooth and easy. The music is extremely rhythm-centric, almost to the point that it could be considered some kind of tribal music for the digital age. Somehow, though, it is still pretty, even soothing, with tinkling electronic doodles and some subtle keys that float over and peek through the driving drums like sunshine through and above a rain cloud. Bono’s vocal sounds almost like a confessional–soft and mellow, but full of vulnerability as he lists all of the things that he doesn’t want, like to make a mess or to lose his nerve, and can’t help, like being a flirt. I think that one of the things that I really like about this song, aside from the compelling music, is the honesty of it. I really do think that Bono is a flirt–he enjoys the attentions of all those girls on and off the stage.He knows that that might bother Ali, but he is glad that she accepts him as he is, and he reassures her that he would never take it so far as to hurt her or damage their relationship. Another powerful lyric is when Bono states that he doesn’t “Want what [he} deserve[s],) which reminds me of the line in “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),” when Bono sings “I get so many things I don’t deserve.” He knows that he has it better than anyone could ever deserve, and I love Bono for appreciating that, as opposed to being an entitled ass like so many others.
“Slug” is not one of the songs from the Passengers album that has received the honor of a live performance, and, to be honest, I doubt that it ever will. Still, I think that it could be an incredible snippet–say, at the end of “Bad.” How epic would that be? I would lose my mind, if Bono inserted some or all of “Slug” into my favorite ever song one night! What songs do you think a “Slug” snippet would sound incredible in? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading.