CLOSE TO THE EXIT
I am a big U2 fan and The Joshua Tree is, narrowly, my favourite of their albums. There is a magic, a quiet power, to all of the songs, and a muscularity and yet a nuance to all of the musicianship – Larry’s drums are just absolutely immense, The Edge’s shafts of colour and light are some of the most beautiful guitar work that’s ever been put on a record, and Adam’s thunking bass reverberates like something wicked and, I dunno, downright dirty.
There’s also a particular strength to Bono’s evocative lyrics that makes the record unforgettable.
Everyone knows the major songs that this record includes, but it also contains my own personal favourite U2 track, ‘Exit’. Every time I hear this song, I remember where I was in my life the first time I was nailed to the floor by it. I love these words. They touch something in me, some sort of recognition. To me, this is writing that matters because it is real and truthful. There is passion and raw emotion on this gorgeous record but there is also something that breaks through into higher ground. All we have, in the end, is the healing hands of love. ‘Exit’ glimpses that magnificently. An absolute, utter knockout of a song. “He went deeper into black Deeper into white
Could see the stars shining Like nails in the night He felt the healing
Healing hands of love
Like the stars shiny shiny From above
Hand in the pocket
Finger on the steel
The pistol weighed heavy His heart he could feel Was beating, beating Beating, beating oh my love
Oh my love, oh my love Oh my love
Saw the hands that build Can also pull down
The hands of love”
Joe O'Connor is a writer. Best known for the wonderful Star Of the Sea, he has written ten novels. His latest work The Thrill Of It All (2014) is based in the music scene in Dublin.