U2101 – Some Days Are Better Than Others

One of the greatest truisms of Bono’s lyrical career comes from the title and lyrics to one of Zooropa’s unsung gems: “Some Days Are Better Than Others.” It is a simple statement, really — some days really aren’t as good as some other days — but it is a statement that still manages to be applicable to nearly every day of the listener’s life. Like saying “it is what it is (but it’s not what it seems),” citing the title of this song helps me accept the rough times and celebrate the good ones, keeping everything in perspective.

The smooth, mellow mood of the music that accompanies this song is the perfect example of what the band members mean when they talk about preserving the emotional integrity of a particular piece. Like Bono’s lyrics, Adam’s bass line — the linchpin to the whole piece — manages to come off as fun and playful but thoughtful and provocative at the same time. It is deep and meaningful without taking itself too seriously. It’s like a wise man giving you something really significant, but doing it with a wink and a smile. This juxtaposition allows the song to succeed on several fronts; firstly as a magnificent pop song, with an uplifting chorus and a good-time feeling, and as something a little more worthwhile for those who want to dig deeper. I mentioned the chorus already, but I’ve got to add that for anyone who wants to know, this is how it’s done. I firmly believe that all good pop songs have a major boost when the chorus comes along. Edge’s guitar, which is mostly invisible in the choruses of this song, comes soaring in when the chorus hits and takes the song to a whole new dimension. Beautiful work, boys.

There are some choice bon mots in the lyrics to “Some Days Are Better Than Others.” Lines like “Some days take less, but most days take more, some slip through your fingers and onto the floor.” are something that we all can relate to. We’ve all had a day get so out of control that we can almost literally feel it escaping our grasp. Some days — those that “take less” — really are easy, but days like that are an exception. Another line that I relish is the one that states “Some sunny days, you wish it was raining.” I definitely have days where everything looks good and as it should be, I’m just not feeling it — days when I want to enjoy being in a bad mood, and no amount of sunshine or good news is going to stand in my way.

When I sat down to think about it, I was surprised to realize that “Some Days Are Better Than Others” is the only song from the under-represented Zooropa to never be performed live. U2 usually eschews songs that fall into that mid-tempo range, like “Some Days Are Better Than Others” does, so I suppose that it isn’t a surprise that they have chosen to leave this one out. Besides, no one is clamoring to hear this song live like they were with “Acrobat.” Still, I would like to eventually hear every U2 song get a live performance, so if the guys get around to playing this someday, I certainly wouldn’t complain. That might even qualify as one of those days that is better than others.

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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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