Every Album, Every Song
published: 14 /
In her 'Raging Pages' book column Lisa Torem examines a comprehensive volume about the work of Irish rockers U2 recently penned by Pennyblackmusic writer Eoghan Lyng
Eoghan Lyng’s essential contribution to Sonicbond’s ‘On Track’ series not only covers the expected bases, it arouses the senses with relevant insights. Did you know, for example, that after a famed Italian tenor curried favor with the band, he co-captured the intensity of a war-torn nation in one of U2’s most flagrant arrangements? Check out Lyng’s detailed analysis of ‘Miss Sarajevo’ for the particulars…
U2 have enjoyed mass appeal. Leafing through the book, one will find how far-reaching their brand has been. Why, they’ve even flavored songs with Japanese text.
Lyng boasts an impressive CV as a music journalist but is not reticent about conjoining rock journalism with other disciplines. As such, when discussing ‘Salome’ from ‘Achtung Baby,’ the author bends toward literati, citing “Oscar Wilde’s rhetorical voice”. This style of linear exploration is sure to keep the open-minded reader on the page.
If you’re unfamiliar with the arc of the men-at-hand: Adam Clayton, Bono, The Edge and Larry Mullen Jr., worry not. Lyng boasts exposition in every chapter. For 2004 LP ‘How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,’ he elaborates on why Edge is irreplaceable as a songwriter and valued guitarist, referring to him as a “one-star player, their six-string guitarist completing what Bono boasted was the band’s first rock album”. No worries, you’ll also discover first-hand info on the rest. Most fun-of-all is the interplay, as evidenced in a salient track from 1987;s “The Joshua Tree”, ‘Running to Stand Still’, “Mullen Jr.’s stick-work chases Bono’s elliptical words.”
For the visual reader, forty-plus images in the mid-section accelerate the concise narrative. Lyng also provides commentary on album covers. And if you’re technically savvy, you’ll want to further investigate production team efforts, but here’s an excellent starting point: “(Daniel) Lanois slowed down the tape from 30 inches per second to 22” on ‘Elvis Presley and America’ from ‘The Unforgettable Fire’.
U2’s cover material is also given fair shrift. In regards to Bob Dylan’s ‘Maggie’s Farm,’ Lyng surmises that “the song was tailor-made for Bono’s angry, acidic timbre.” Moving ahead to ‘Jesus Christ,’ a track which appeared on a 1988 Woody Guthrie tribute album, Lyng posits: “It’s not one of his better-known songs, nor is it one of U2’s better thought out covers…”
By balancing levity with gravity, author Lyng guarantees one-smooth ride through the echo chambers of a titular band that’s weathered forty years in a rapidly-changing industry.
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