Monthly Archives: February 2012

I Still Like U2′s ‘Pop’ — Part 2


Intransigence in all around
Military’s still in town
Armour plated suits and ties
Daddy just won’t say goodbye
Referee won’t blow the whistle.
God is good but will he listen?

From “Staring at the Sun,” on Pop (1997)

The Arab Spring happened a long time after “Staring at the Sun” was on the radio.

I still find it easy to think of current events, especially in the Middle East, when I hear the above excerpt.

Those two last lines reiterate what people have wondered for centuries about the meaning, or lack of meaning, in human suffering. “Referee won’t blow the whistle / God is good but will he listen?”

Sometimes, people go through things that just can’t be answered with that sappy poem “Footprints.”

The entire Pop album is full of these expressions of doubt (as well as faith), especially on songs like “If God Would Send His Angels” and “Wake Up Dead Man.”

 

I still like U2′s ‘Pop’ — Part 1


Pop, released in 1997, might be U2′s smartest, edgiest album.

Behind the glitz and glam of the album’s packaging (and the accompanying tour), Pop goes uncompromisingly deeper than most pop music, taking on several religious themes in an indirect yet profound way.

On the band’s website, Bono said of Pop,  “We’ve had to get the brightly coloured wrapping paper right, because what’s underneath is not so sweet.”

Not so sweet, indeed — and you know that if you’ve given the album a serious listen.

Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics to “The Playboy Mansion.”

If O.J. is more than a drink

And a Big Mac bigger than you think

And perfume is an obsession

And talk shows – confession

What have we got to lose?

Another push and we’ll be through

The gates of that mansion.

I never bought a lotto ticket

I never parked in anyone’s space.

The banks they’re like cathedrals

I guess casinos took their place.

Love, come on down

Don’t wake her she’ll come around.

Chance is a kind of religion

Where you’re damned for plain hard luck.

I never did see that movie

I never did read that book.

Love, come on down

Let my numbers come around.

–”The Playboy Mansion,” U2

Cover of "Pop"

Cover of Pop

 

Today’s resonant lyrics


And when I awoke it was long after morning.

And it seemed like a dream, but I know it was real.

‘Cause the glass had been broken

At the sound of a warning.

And the truth became known

In the things I had tried to conceal.

Leave me my red cherry wine.

And I know I’ll be doing just fine.

‘Cause I’m keeping

This deep heart of mine from feeling.

-”Feeling,” The Jelly Jam

‘We aren’t the world’


… as I’ve watched the recent news from around the globe, I’ve come to an undeniable conclusion: We aren’t the world.

At least we in America aren’t much like the rest of the world, and that’s mostly a good thing.

While we argue about our need to reclaim something we’ve lost, or to add something we’ve never had, only 34 percent of us believe the U.S. is headed in the right direction.

Still, we’re going about the heated discussions in far better ways than other countries.

We have something other countries don’t. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but consider some contrasts….

Read “We aren’t the world.”

Sweeping Generalization Alert: Republicans are attacking ‘women’


Republicans are attacking “women” because no woman freely chose to be Roman Catholic and no woman freely chose to oppose the use of contraception. “Women” always support government mandates on insurance coverage for contraception. Furthermore, no “woman” is a Republican.

That is all. Have a swell Thursday.

‘Living in the Era of Control Freaks’ — smoking in bars and tax-free candy


From my latest Strange Days column:

“You know the type — Enlightened Ones who believe they can make the world a better place by meddling in other people’s lives.

“Sure, they have good intentions. Shoot, they might even have great intentions.

“But their means just don’t make sense, and God save us from the outcomes.

“Think I’m kidding? Consider a few things the control freaks have been up to lately…”

Read it all here.

Nobel laureate: U.S. represents ‘corporatism,’ not free market


Sheldon Richman cites Nobel laureate economist Edmund Phelps in this insightful article.

‘Middle-school bootleggers, Ugg-ly boots, and my career as a high-school smuggler’


From the latest Strange Days column:

This reminds me of my career as a high school smuggler.

Back in the days when the Miami Vice TV program ruled the United States, I went to a strict Baptist high school in Raleigh, N.C.

This was during the 1980s. While both law enforcement officials and popular entertainment were focused on illegal drugs, at my strict Baptist school, the contraband was different: rock-and-roll cassette tapes.

We had to smuggle our rock-and-roll cassettes if we wanted to share them with friends. We didn’t use boots. We smuggled our rock-and-roll music cassettes with the inside pockets of Members Only jackets and in the bottoms of duffle bags….

Find out what happens next here.