One of U2’s most under-appreciated songs, in my opinion, is the A-side from the early single, Another Day. Really, this song has all the hallmarks of early U2 — a soaring chorus, intricate guitar work, a catchy, bouncing bass-line, some vigorous and dynamic drumming, a little punk-rock aggression tempered with pop-rock melodic sweetness — I think that it is a great song, altogether.
Unfortunately for the band, my opinion seems to be in the minority. Simply put, the reviews for this song were not favorable when it was first released. But then, that might have been an omen of things to come, since U2 have rarely been critical darlings. In fact, it is hard to figure sometimes how they achieved the stature that they now possess, especially in America. In the U.S., they have far fewer hit singles than they do in other countries, but somehow they keep selling out stadiums and making number one records. I believe that the band’s success is due to lots and lots of hard work, and a willingness to change with the times.
Lyrically, “Another Day” is actually superior to some of the other things the band was up to around this time period. Unlike some early lyrics, “Another Day” at least tries to tell a sort of story. I think that Bono was feeling trapped in Dublin, and a little bored. Indeed, we now know that he and the rest of the band were meant for greater things, but at the time that this song was written, they still had some growing pains to endure before they were ready to play on the world stage. I also believe that it is noteworthy that Bono mentions his mother…she must have been on his mind almost constantly at this point, as he was still struggling to deal with that loss.
“Another Day” was the band’s second single, following the previous year’s U2 Three, but already we can hear a great deal of improvement and maturation. No longer do they sound like kids practicing in their parents’ garage, now they sound like a legitimate, professional rock and roll band. It is a shame, because the song that demonstrated such growth would soon be forgotten by everyone, including, it seems, the band itself. “Another Day” was only performed twenty-one times (that we know of…records from those days are a little sketchy) and then it was dropped, never to be heard from again.
Now, I’m not suggesting that U2 revive “Another Day” for today’s concert-goers — I don’t know that it is sophisticated enough for modern tastes — but, really, if they played the song once or twice at some one-off appearances, in front of a small audience of dedicated U2 fans, the band might be surprised at how well the song would go over.
Or maybe, as I mentioned in a previous article, one day U2 will hold a residency over a week or so, and they will play whole albums in sequence, including B-sides, etc. Surely, such an exercise would allow for some early material to get aired once again. But I’m just dreaming out loud. Let me know what you think in the comments below.