Wednesday, January 12, 2005


WOULD it be awfully cynical to hope that Kenyan business will benefit now that the Sudan treaty has been signed?

NAUSEATINGLY, Gen. Sumbeiywo is the hero of the hour...

DAVID CHALMERS, probably the most important philosopher of mind now writing, has a new blog here.

BONO admits that the 'City of Blinding Lights' is New York.
Bad things first - some of the lyrics are just shocking - surely 'Freedom has a scent/ Like the top of a new born baby’s head' is the worst thing Bono's ever written. As usual, there is some truly horrible over- emoting, especially on Vertigo. Some of the riffs are recycled U2 standards, or sound like it. And the attempted grandness of the whole thing can be off-putting in itself, while magnifying the ridiculousness when things go wrong. In short, this album will not give those U2 fans who closed the Canon in 1991 reason to reopen it.

All that said, there simply is not a better band at 'making a joyful noise' - at expressing joy and hope - at celebrating. All that old U2 uplift is everywhere on this album, and it's all the more moving, as we know that its accompanied by midlife crises, parental departures and ongoing attempts to save the world. Songs? well, Crumbs from your table is truly beautiful, and it shows how effectively Bono has learnt the wisdom of restraint. Even Vertigo is so fun that you forget to be annoyed at yourself for enjoying the designated single. HTDAAB is also more unified than some of their previous work - the themes are more starkly evident. This will, or should, prevent (some of) the exegetical debates that tend to break out about lyrics. One of Bono's obiter dicta is that it's easy to make a good sad song, but the hardest thing in the world to create a good happy song. U2 have done the hardest thing in the world at least three times on How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

GORDON BROWN is in Kenya. Surreal, the sight of him planting a tree with Wangari Maathai.

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