U2101 – Get On Your Boots

I expect this to be one of the least traffic-generating articles that I’ve written for U2Radio.com, simply because I don’t expect the topic of the article to draw many readers. “Get On Your Boots” is probably the most hated U2 song that I can think of, and I think that that is a shame. Let me be totally open and honest here; I do think that “Get On Your Boots” was a poor choice for the first single from No Line On the Horizon — that position would have been better filled by “Magnificent” or even “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” I do think, however, that “Get On Your Boots” has been unfairly maligned, and I am here today to set the record straight.

First off, the song is a jam, with lots of elaborate drumming, dynamic guitar, and funky bass. Yes, funky…one aspect of the band’s songwriting that sometimes goes unnoticed is their, or rather Adam’s, penchant for coming up with danceable but still rockin’ bass riffs. Riffs that propel the entire song forward and keep listeners moving on the dance floor in a way that few bassists are able to do, because few guitarists are willing to give up the limelight and allow the bass to take center stage in the way that Edge is willing to do for Adam. Additionally, no offense, but I find that a lot of bassists lack the creativity to know what to do with the spotlight if it were given to them. So many bass players just follow the guitarist in their band, and I love that U2 and Adam do something different.

Much ado was made, by the band itself, out of the fact that “Get On Your Boots” was the fastest song that U2 had ever recorded. I guess that Bono, who seemed particularly proud of that fact, latched onto that idea as a way to demonstrate that U2 was still making relevant, interesting, music, even in their late 40s, which was the general age of the band members at the time. What bothered me was not the fact that U2 had recorded a song at however many beats per minute “Boots” clocks in at, but the fact that Bono made such a big deal out of it. It felt a bit like he was trying too hard to be something he isn’t. I know that Bono suffers from low self-esteem in a lot of ways, and I love him for it, but U2 has recorded enough out-and-out rockers that we all know that they have it in them, if that is the direction they choose to go in. With that said, I believe that “Boots” was and is a fun, upbeat song that sounded especially great live. The song was a victimized, not by poor songwriting or a bad concept, but by bad marketing.

“Boots” was played live a bunch prior to the actual launch of the 360 Tour, and then at every single night of the tour itself, but the song, unfortunately, hasn’t been performed since then.  I have a feeling that No Line On the Horizon is going to go the way of Pop, meaning that performances of any song from that album are going to be few and far between from now on. “Get On Your Boots” is a dynamite live song, especially the guitar during the “Let me in the sound” section, and I feel like someone in the band has to recognize that fact. Otherwise, the song would have been dropped long before the end of the 360 Tour. I just wish that someone would remember this fact and resurrect “Boots” before the band’s touring days are over completely.

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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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