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February 28, 2009

Let Us In the Sound (or, Synchronicity II)

"Here’s where we gotta be - love and community -
Laughter is eternity if joy is real."
- U2, "Get On Your Boots" (following post)

One of the first albums I purchased with my own money was Synchronicity by The Police.

I remember all of the hype that preceded the newest release from the biggest band in the world, and the glowing reviews from my friends who quickly purchased their copies as soon as the album came out. And the day that I gathered my lawnmowing money and rode my bike 10 miles to the shopping mall to buy the cassette tape still ranks among my fondest memories of childhood. It was the summer of 1983, and I was 12 years old.

Almost immediately, I fell in love with the album. It was imaginative and melodic and seemed to stretch the boundaries of traditional rock music. The songs were stories whose topics ranged from the mundane to the bizarre, with enough literary and pop culture references to keep me scrambling for my encyclopedia (to this day, the only reason I can identify Scylla and Charybdis is thanks to the lyrics to “Wrapped Around Your Finger”). It also featured one of the greatest ultrarunning theme songs ever written (classic concert clip - trust me), a full twenty years before ultrarunning became popular – talk about being ahead of your time.

The music from that album stays with me to this day; the lyrics still bounce around my head from time to time, the melodies are easily retrieved from the recesses of my brain, and recalling how much I loved the music brings back good memories from a sometimes awkward period of my life. In other words, it did everything that first favorite albums are supposed to do.

A lot of this came back to me yesterday, shortly after my 10-year-old son initiated the following exchange:

Son: They said on the radio that this is going to be a good week for U2 fans.

Me: Yes, it is. Do you know why they said that?

Son: Yeah – they said the new U2 album comes out on Tuesday.

Me: Right.

Son: I want to get it.

Me: Don’t worry - we’re getting it.

Of course we are. I’ve written about our father/son bonding over U2 in the past, so it’s hard to say which of us is more excited about picking up the new release from the biggest band in the world. This is a turning point of sorts for the two of us; usually, I’m the one who introduces him to new songs – but my son’s the one initiating the interest this time around. I know that shouldn’t make me feel like a proud father - but in a corny way, it kind of does.

Having been around long enough to endure some shaky U2 offerings (Zooropa, anyone?), I’m just hopeful that the thing doesn’t stink (in that regard, some initial reviews are somewhat promising). Being na├»ve enough to not know any better, my son believes it’s going to be awesome.

For his sake, I hope he’s right. I’d love for this to become a first favorite album, affecting him just like the one I had a few decades ago – but I realize that’s a tall order for any band, especially one that’s been around for nearly thirty years. Then again, you never know.

From my standpoint, if the new CD gives my son and me a little bit of laughter and joy together, I’ll happily accept it.


Before the music segment, a training update: If anyone needs to get his boots on lately, it’s me. The miles are starting to add up, but not nearly as many or as easily as I’d like them to. For each of the past few weeks, I’ve finished with about 10-15 fewer miles than I originally planned. And I’ve got seven weeks until my first 50-miler of the season. So in addition to being the first single from the U2 album, this track seems rather appropriate to my training regimen nowadays.

Also ... the official video is copy protected, but can be seen at this YouTube page. For an audio-only version (with the new album cover as wallpaper), click to play below.

U2, "Get On Your Boots":


Darrell 3/3/09, 7:21 AM  

I've got about 10 years on you, but one of my first albums was Aerosmith's Rocks. I wore out a couple of copies of Fleetwood Mac Rumors before finally getting it on CD.

Dave 3/3/09, 9:17 AM  

I remember when I first heard Joshua Tree...turned my metal days around to music that will actually be around long after I am gone. Do you agree that U2's music will go on after they are not around....after you and I are not around?

Alisa 3/3/09, 2:12 PM  

I'm hopeful it will be good though I wasn't a HUGE fan of "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" and "Pop" was, in my opinion, their worst albumn. I already have "Get on your boots" the single and I LOVE IT!

AKA Alice 3/3/09, 8:55 PM  

I'm just thrilled that I got to see a clip of Sting when he was young(er) and HAWT! He still is, of course, but ahhhh that took me back.

Anne 3/4/09, 7:07 PM  

Let's forget that I was well into college when that album came out. There really are some wonderful songs on that particular LP/cassette/CD that have stood the test of time and I thank you for reminding me to download a few of those tunes after I type this.

Legs and Wings 3/6/09, 1:20 AM  

I own every U2 album and have been a maniac fan since "Boy" - what was that? 1980? Anyhow, my son begged me to buy him a Digital Delay Pedal two years ago so he could make his electric guitar sound just like Edge's. And it does. I'm still proud.

Get on yer boots!

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