On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
U2 – One (1991)
” One” is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the third track from their 1991 album Achtung Baby , and it was released as the record’s third single in February 1992. During the album’s recording sessions at Hansa Studios in Berlin, conflict arose between the band members over the direction of U2’s sound and the quality of their material.
We’re leaving the US today and making our way to the Republic of Ireland and to Dublin. It is a second appearance on our list for U2 after With or Without You back in 1987. The Joshua Tree had made U2 hot property in the music scene and when we join them in 1991 they are under pressure to recreate that acclaim. Their seventh album – Achtung Baby – has been released and 1001 Songs have put their faith in One.
A piece of music came first and then lead singer, Bono, described the lyrics falling from the sky and shaping into One. The song is multi-faceted and said to concern the divisions within the band but also Bono’s thoughts on German reunification in late 1990. The song has been open to other interpretations also and listening to it now after all these years I am still unsure of the meaning. The song evokes the idea of oneness but adds that we are one but still not the same as a result. The song oozes fear and uncertainty, a divide lingering amidst unification, something truly hard to shake.
U2 bounced back in style with Achtung Baby and One is undoubtedly the best track on the record. It is arguably U2’s best song as well though With Or Without You and Pride are also tempting. The ambiguity of the song is one of its biggest appeals. The music and Bono’s elegantly delivered vocals make this one a modern-day masterpiece. U2 would continue to release great music but this, for me, formed the end of their peak years. It wouldn’t quite be the same again after this.
Favourite songs so far:
U2 – One (1991)