100 Days Project

Ben: 100 Writings / 100 Opening Guitar Hooks

various, random creative expressions / writings, inspired partially by 100 popular songs (songs that somewhat begin with a leading hook of a guitar.)

Day 28:

“Elevation” (Tomb Raider Mix) (2001) by U2

"Elevation" (Tomb Raider Mix) (2001) by U2


Dam you U2!

(After the Stones just played Glastonbury) U2 will probably go down as the second most successfully oldest rock band in music history - and part of me hates them for that, especially when Bono thinks that gives him the right to be politically annoying. And when this song was released 22 years after their first record, I thought to myself, ‘surely, this band has got to have run out of steam by now. They are so old. This song can’t be anything special.’ I was mistaken.

I didn’t know it, but in regards to the guitar riff, the Edge plucks only two strings and wah-wah's it. It’s so incredibly easy. Unbelievably easy. I actually thought he was strumming repeatedly. But as discussed on the guitarist documentary, ‘It Might Get Loud’, he strums it so simply, he actually looks like a retard. It’s the song’s electronic elements that fill the space up and provide this guitar riff with that earthquaking fuzz that I fell in love with the first time I heard it.

How about the rhythm section? Larry Mullins has punched out some mean skins over the years, but that introductory crash before the chorus always gets me punching the air. How about Adam Clayton’s bass? Extremely Phat! It’s digging tunnels, I tell you, that bass!

And the lyrics – the lyrics were specifically written as subliminal messages to have the audience experience a Rollercoaster: "higher than the sun"; "orbit"; "Going down"; "excavation"; "in the sky"; "I can fly"; "So high"; "Lift me up"; "EL – E – VA – TION!” It’s no wonder I’m digging tunnels or punching the air.

Along all great guitar hook songs, must lie a great guitar solo. And the guitar solo in the middle not only is as simplistic as the rest of the elements in this song, which furthermore makes its dazzlingly accessibe, but it also digs down – digging, digging, digging down, excavating. I used to think why would the Edge want the guitar solo to quarry inwards from the bright atmosphere already built. The answer IS and CAME IMMEDIATELY AFTER the descending guitar solo: the uplifting, soaring and, um, elevating chorus. What’s the point in diving; if you’re not gonna come up for air after it, right? That idea alone is song writing at its best.

And that chorus – O, that chorus! Bono actually sounds like a bezerk hen trying to lay a gigantic egg. And as stupid as that description may be – you two, my friend, will sing along to this catchy chorus as well, also bezerking like a hen trying to lay a gigantic egg. It's wonderful. It's as Anthemic as U2 can be – no words, just vocal noise, crossing over all international languages. And being U2, you can imagine the stadiums of thousands, all trying to berzerk like hens trying to lay gigantic eggs. And being as simplistic as it is, it’s a no brainer that sports teams would use it at their venues during half time: sports fans now bezerking like hens trying to lay gigantic eggs.

Overall, it’s arguably my favourite U2 song. I killed it for a very long time, then fell outta love with it two years later.

When I heard U2 were going to release their 11th album by 2004, I thought the same thing: ‘Surely, this band has got to have run out of steam by now. They are so old.’ When I heard the radio DJ was about to play the first single off this album, “Vertigo”, I thought, ‘well, this new U2 song can’t be anything special.’

Again, I was mistaken.

Dam you U2!