After almost a full week of listening to U2's new single, "Vertigo", I'm still hooked. I loved it on the first listen and I think it is U2's most rockin' song EVER. Straight ahead U2 rock, in full flight. It's condensed U2. It begs to be turned up loud. The asthetic facade has been lifted and we're left with the real U2: Guitar, Bass, Drums and Bono.
Full disclosure here: I've been begging for a less produced/more rockin' U2 project since Unforgettable Fire. There have been bright spots along the way (Desire, The Fly, Holy Joe live), but as great as these and other rockin' U2 songs were, "Vertigo" takes it to another level with it's no-holds-barred rock/punk sensibility. Edge's riffs are simple, classic and loud, and the chorus is catchy and uplifting. It's not U2's most innovative song, it's more of a collection of the great things they've done compacted and turned up to....catorce!
U2 have never really done a song like this...it is more straightforward than anything I can recall. The influences on "Vertigo" are innumerable and I'm making a mix tape of those tunes now. Non-U2 influence includes the Who, the Ramones, the Clash, and I hear some Lenny Kravitz (You Got Me Runnin') and Stone Temple Pilots (Vaseline)in there too. A few saavy U2 fans think they hear the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" in there. Another fan says All That You Can't Leave Behind is to Motown what Vertigo is to Stax. I prefer Stax, and if "Vertigo" is a good indicator, "How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb" will be U2's best album ever, and that's really saying something.
The beginning of "Vertigo" may make you wince at first with the "catorce" thing, but it gets better with each listen. To add to the "catorce" talk, I think that in the part right before the guitar solo, Bono shouts "Just 4" in Bongolese, but that's open for interpretation.
If you'd told me the new U2 song would start out with a heavy/fast guitar riff and the declaration "Turn it up loud, Captain!" I wouldn't have believed it. It's too good to be true!
"Vertigo" hits the bone for me, it's one of those songs you can get excited about and listen to again and again, it leaves you wanting more.
The lyrics are all themes U2 have touched on before, and many of the guitar licks sound familiar, but "Vertigo" brings them together in a new, fresh and exciting way. There is still some overdubbing in parts with a cell phone? ring in the second chorus.
The clip of the 10" Jacknife Lee mix doesn't sound too promising, but I think we'll get a few remixes....hopefully one by David Holmes, whose instrumental "Beautiful Day" mix was a big hit with me.
The time is right for this song, "Vertigo", and it flat out rocks.
Turn it up loud, Captain!