Sunday, 25 November 2007

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I’ve often wondered, throughout the years, what is the name of that chemical reaction that occurs in our brains and distinguishes one band from another as being extraordinary. What is that which makes a certain kind of music echo down the long corridors of our veins and stay with us during our whole lives? And I have wondered this for the sake of one and only band and this band answers to the name U2. Let me take things a little bit further by telling you that I still consider U2 to be – in its core essence - a band of my early awakenings of sorts. I am still not able to listen to any of their songs without blasting them out loud. I consider, for example, One to be one of the greatest songs ever written and recorded in musical history. I consider Dave Evans, aka The Edge to be one of the most solid guitar players in the sense of him being very imaginative with his music, I consider Adam Clayton one of the funniest bass players ever in the sense that every time you see him play it’s like he’s in his own little world, alas he probably has about 80,000 people at his feet screaming their lungs out, I consider Larry Mullen Jr. one of the most talented and passionate drummers, and I consider Paul Hewson, aka Bono a very, very, very good vocalist and one of the most charismatic frontmen ever.
Now my I stand by my convictions, although I have often seen various tricks being pulled out of various, one too many, PR hats associated with the band, I have also always held the conviction that I truly, honestly, deeply, fiercely do not give a toss about what the band does with their money, time, women, as long as they release some really astounding music. That’s what they’re there for, remember? Also, as long as the band writes their own songs and perform generously, without any of that bullshit we-don’t-give-a-damn, lame-ass attitude, I’m a happy shopper. So as not to be misunderstood, I’m not saying that bands should always write their own lyrics and compose their own melodies, without any help from their “friends”. I’m only saying that I need to feel the essence of the band in what I’m listening to.
I have spoken about a certain band called The Waterboys in my previous blabberings, but what this band does for me, I cannot begin to tell you, and you of course cannot begin to show me how much you don’t care.
In 1983’s War, I found the exhilaration and sublime rudeness which only youth can give you. In 1980’s Boy, I found amongst other things, the most extraordinary cover of an album and the fierceness that one human look can carry. In 1987’s..godalmighty. What can you say about an album like The Joshua Tree? I mean, starting from the title. The Joshua Tree. Where the hell did you get that one?
I’m not going to drag this too long.
I hold the conviction that together with this one other band, whose name I will not be giving away just yet, the music of U2 represents for me, a whole different lifetime, possibly a whole different dimension of things, another land where the human spirit is being spat upon, being kicked out of bed, and when it’s dead and buried, or so they think, it comes back to haunt us for all the things we ever did. And it never damn goes away you know? But then you live with this, and you carry yourself forward, beyond religion, and money, and power, beyond wars, and famines, with an innate feeling of revolution against yourself and against what your teachers have taught you, and you find yourself in this desert where all the people you ever loved meet, and it’s New Year’s Day, and the streets have no name, and you know everybody, and you feel blessed that you’ve been loved and wanted. And after you carried your spirit this far, you feel exhilarated and you wanna take more people by the hand and show them this place. This place where you feel more human than ever, and bigger than any god. So much bigger than any god. Your love fills the earth. And you keep looking for something. And you never know what it is but you keep looking, hoping that you will find someone on the way, who keeps looking as well. And you finally realize that what you’ve been looking for is you. This band has possibly made the biggest statement in human history:
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

I wanna tear down the walls that hold me inside.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

You're the boss of me

Τί είναι αυτό που κάνει μερικούς καλλιτέχνες να μπορούν να τα καταφέρνουν ακόμα και μετά από πολλά χρόνια δισκογραφικής πορείας; Κάθομαι καμιά φορά και σκέφτομαι πως όταν αποφάσισαν να πουν το μεγάλο ναι στα δεσμά της μουσικής, ίσως και να ήξεραν ότι πραγματικά είναι for better or for worse. Ότι αυτό το μικρόβιο δεν πρόκειται να τους αφήσει ποτέ ήσυχους και ότι ίσως και να τα βλέπω πολύ ρομαντικά τα πράγματα και απλά ξέμειναν από λεφτά και συνεχίζουν να βγάζουν δίσκους. Αλλά αυτό το τελευταίο δεν πολυταιριάζει στο όλο σχέδιο. Τελοσπάντων αυτό που θέλω να πω είναι ότι απλά μερικοί άνθρωποι έχουν το μαγικό χάρισμα. Είναι σαν μια μέρα των υπόλοιπων αδιάφορων ημερών σου, να γνωρίζεις κάποιον που ξέρεις ότι για την υπόλοιπη ζωή σου, είτε είστε μαζί είτε όχι, δεν θα μπορείς ποτέ να του αντισταθείς. Και κάθε φορά που θα ενδίδεις στον πειρασμό, θα είναι και καλύτερη.
Η σημερινή μου εξομολόγηση έχει να κάνει με το πόσο εκτιμώ τον Bruce Springsteen. Όχι μόνο για τους προφανείς λόγους. Έχω συνδέσει την μουσική του με έναν πολύ συγκεκριμένο ήχο. Είναι σαν να ακούς Dire Straits ας πούμε. Δεν μπορείς να μπερδέψεις τους Dire Straits με κάποιον άλλο. Τους ακούς και ξέρεις ότι είναι Dire Straits. Το ίδιο και με τον Springsteen. Ίσως να έχει να κάνει με το πιανάκι που χρησιμοποιεί συχνά, ίσως με τον καθαρό ήχο του, με την βραχνάδα της φωνής του που πάντα κρύβει ένα παράπονο και δείχνει την υπέροχη επιρροή που έχουν πάνω της τα χρόνια. Νιώθω μια πολύ σπάνια συγκίνηση όταν τον ακούω ξανά μετά από τόσα χρόνια να έχει επιστρέψει στις ρίζες του, μια συγκίνηση που ξεκίνησε από το γιγαντιαίο Seeger Sessions, γιγαντιαίο μεν, δύσκολο σαν άκουσμα δε, και που φτάνει απόψε στο τελευταίο του Magic, τίτλος που το περιγράφει και το αντιπροσωπεύει απόλυτα.
Απόψε βλέπω πως είναι να γεμίζει το ανθρώπινο σώμα με μια πολύ ανθρώπινη μουσική. Όχι ευαίσθητη, ή μαλακή, ή ο,τιδήποτε τέτοιο. Ανθρώπινη όπως ο πόνος στα πόδια και τα όρια της υπομονής μετά από ένα Long Walk Home.