Paulelmo's Blog

New U2 music: “You’re the Best Thing About Me” and “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”

Bob Frostick was my middle school science teacher, and I loved the heck out of that dude. Not only was he a young, cool dude who was into studying the world in young, cool ways, but he was also into rock and roll, and he introduced me to music that I hadn’t been exposed to by my mother and older siblings. I recall how dark a day it was for Mr. Frostick back in December of 1980, when John Lennon died, and I saw that it was OK to love these people more than one would expect people to love people they only knew on records.

Mr. Frostick was also the person who turned me U2. They were the perfect band for a you man bent on bettering the world, such as he was, such as i admired

So, from my introduction to them, I had a soft spot and affinity for the band.

And it was easy to be a U2 fan in the 80s, but then they got around to the early-90s and Zoo TV and all that. After that, I pretty much accepted that new music from you meant either a rehashing of their classics or music that I neither liked nor got that much. “Elevation” and “Vertigo” both stand out in my memory, but nothing was ever strong enough to make me think I’d want to listen to the rest of the album.

But then you get the new stuff, and it’s really interesting. It’s closer to the classic stuff than any of the tangential things they did. I’ve heard two songs, “You’re the Best Thing About Me” and “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” and while different, the both deserve merit.

“All That You Can’t Leave Behind” is a simple enough ballad, and at first I thought it was going to be a simple thing to dismiss. Then, Bono reminded me of one of the strengths this band is built upon, his voice. “Bono” is actually short for “Bono Vox,” which means “good voice,” a nickname bestowed on him by a friend. The reason for that is evident in this song, and a simple little piece that might be a lesser singer’s B-side is strong with his treatment.

The real treat here is “You’re The Best Thing About Me.” I just dig this song. It’s a pop song, nothing more than that, but how many songs that were nothing more than that have been great in our lives. “My Sharona” was just a pop song, and so were “California Dreamin'” and “Poker Face” and Paula Abdul’s freaking “Straight Up.” Try to get that little ditty out of your head when you hear it in Target. Job done.

And job done here. It’s just really well done and sweetly thoughtful to the person for whom it was written.

So, if you’ve ever found U2 interesting, you might want to check these out.

All my love, beautiful people. Que le vaya bien.

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