Posts Tagged ‘bono


Note to Little Stevie… freedom is not a privilege

This weekend, I pulled out my vinyl copy of Little Stephen’s Artists United Against Apartheid project – Sun City.

Unlike Band-Aid or the “We Are the World” project, Little Stephen brought artists from a wide variety of genres – and far more alternative, at the time, than the more poppy predecessors. Also unlike them, his assembly of rappers and rockers produced an entire album’s worth of materials – seven songs in all.

All of the songs on it are pretty solid, which doesn’t surprise me given the musicians involved, but as I was listening to the song and thinking about where we are these days, politically, I was struck by one lyric:

“Freedom is a privilege nobody rides for free”

This gave me pause for two reasons:

1. The first half claims that freedom is a privilege, but it’s not. Freedom is a right. No man or woman has the right to own or shackle another. In this day and age, when people believe things like health care, a job and even a driver’s license is a right, I’m surprised that this group would produce a lyric stating the ultimate right – freedom – is a privilege.

2. The second half says “nobody rides for free.” I’m making an assumption, but I’m guessing most of the people involved with this record believe in Obama’s healthcare law – which claims to give things for free. In fact, Obama’s approach to government is to redistribute wealth and give money and benefits for free to those who “cannot” fend for themselves. (And by “cannot,” I don’t mean the truly unable, but those able-bodied and often educated people who’ve decided to reap the benefits of government programs.) It’s all about “free” these days.

I was stunned that in one sentence, they got two fundamental ideas so backwards, and in fact, they don’t actually support either notion.

But aside from that, the song is still solid – though I think it may not entirely be holding up well against time. There are other great songs on this album though, including the largely Peter Gabriel-based “No More Apartheid.” If you can find a copy, I recommend checking out this historical relic from the 80’s.


my birthday means war

Today’s my birthday, and like any smart veteran of birthdays, I chose to make it a long weekend event spanning five days. Somewhere over the weekend, I opened some presents from my mother-in-law. She gave me music from two bands that are absolutely fantastic and are definitely worthy of mention here.

First, the U2 re-releases War, October and Boy. I’m sure many of you are at least familiar with these albums, if you weren’t actually around for their original release. But as I was listening to War on Sunday (and teaching my five year old daughter what a rebel song is… although Sunday Bloody Sunday is NOT a rebel song), I was astounded not only be how good of an album that was, but also how huge it would be if it came out today.

War definitely stands the test of time and more than forgives whatever it is about U2 that has pissed you off (or even mildly annoyed you) since the 1983 release of that album.

You’ve probably all heard it, so no need to go into any detailed review. But I will say that I was most impressed with the drumming. And if you’ve been reading along, you know that I am in agreement that many drummers actually hurt the music they’re playing, not help it. But in this case, Larry Mullen, Jr. (who I didn’t know actually started the band) simply nailed it with both sound, production and timing.

If you haven’t heard this album, or, in a more unlikely scenario, at all, go buy it or listen to it immediately. It embodies all that punk, pop, lyrics, ego, stage presence, musicianship and personality were in post punk music at that time.

Here’s one of my favorites from that album, “Seconds”…

OK, this post got a little long, so I’ll be back later to tell you about band number two…


six degrees of sinead o’connor

I was driving home from NewTunes last night and my iPod served up “Kingdom of Rain” – a song from The The featuring Sinead O’Connor.

This is not only one of my favorite songs from The The, but one of my all time favorites, in general. And it got me thinking about Sinead O’Connor.

I’ve never been a huge fan. I enjoyed the first album, but nothing she did after really resonated with me. However, she somehow has been involved in some of my favorite songs from other artists who’s music I’ve always enjoyed.

Check out her work with The Edge on “Heroine,” a song from his soundtrack album for a film called “Captive.” (no video for this, but someone did put it to YouTube)

Thanks to Julia Turner, who turned me onto this album – and specifically, this song – while at college. The rest of this album is very moody and ambient and not really like this song. But this song made it on most of my college mix tapes and still stands as one of my favorite.

It is the feeling one gets from discovering a little known song like this that attracts me every day to the potential of NewTunes. It is my hope that people have experiences like finding a song like this every day on our site.

But, back to Sinead O’Connor. One of Peter Gabriel’s more moving songs – Blood of Eden – featured none other than our own Sinead O’Connor.

O’Connor’s first album, The Lion and the Cobra, was released in 1987. While working on that, she also provided backing vocals for Karl Wallinger’s band, World Party. Not only did she sing on the song “Private Revolution,” but she also appeared in the video.

As I said, I’ve never been enough of a fan to purchase any of her music past Lion and the Cobra, but I’m fascinated by how entranced I am every time she performs with someone else. I don’t want to fill this post with videos, but here’s a short list of others with whom she’s been involved…

But I wonder if she knows Kevin Bacon.

July 2018
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