A long time ago, I had a friend named Larry (no, not that Larry). Larry was a really, really cool guy who never complained when I went on and on about this rock band called U2. Because Larry was not familiar with any of U2’s recordings, I decided that what was needed here was a good mix-tape (I told you that it was a long time ago). I agonized over what songs to put on that tape. One song that made the cut that I have questioned ever since was ‘The Three Sunrises,” from the Wide Awake in America EP. I have asked myself thousands of times since then why I didn’t just go with a tried and true sampling of U2’s big hits…I mean, these songs were hits for a reason, after all, and the argument could be made that those hit songs represented the best of U2, and therefore would serve as the best introduction to the band. Every time I experience that period of doubt, however, I need only to play “The Three Sunrises” for myself, and I remember exactly why I put that song on the tape. In short, it’s a jam. “The Three Sunrises” falls into that sweet spot between rock and pop, just aggressive enough to make it interesting, but still melodic and catchy. The bass riff is my favorite part of the song and serves as a perfect example of what I am trying to describe. On one hand, the effort that Adam puts forth here is almost Beatlesesque in the bouncy way it propels the song forward, but there is still an edge to it. It is not so sweet that it gives one a tooth-ache, but it just perfectly hits the sweet-tooth that all music lovers harbor for a good melody. The guitar part is bright and chiming and reminiscent of the sunshine that the song’s title describes, the drums are rockin’, and the vocal…ah, that vocal. Once again, Bono hits all the perfect notes and makes the listener feel the feeling behind the song. There is one moment toward the song’s end where everything comes together in a wonderful way. This moment comes right on the heels of that gloriously harmonious chorus, and Bono is singing “Sun, shine on me, breaking through to my heart!” and all I can do is close my eyes, throw my head back, lift my arms, and exult.
“The Three Sunrises” has never been performed live, and I can’t help but feel that that is a damn shame. Obviously, I think pretty highly of this song, but I do believe that it has enough going for it to excite even casual fans and to positively elate the hardcore believers in a given audience. The four members of U2 might not view the song the same way, and I certainly can’t argue with them in this matter, but we might just have to agree to disagree. One final note, to my friend Larry, who I haven’t spoken to or seen in fifteen years or more…if you are reading this, leave a message for me! I miss those hours-long discussions we used to have about a certain Irish rock band.