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U2 - October

posted 26 Nov 2011, 21:07 by olnf Admin   [ updated 21 Dec 2011, 02:45 by Sudeep Jaiswal ]
Author: Sudeep Jaiswal

‘October’ (1981)

U2 released "October" just an year after their well received debut ‘Boy’. The band members had just been beginning to know their instruments better, and Bono was yet to find his singing voice. On the album, he sounded nothing like he sounds now.

‘October’ has spiritual themes. Bono has declared that it was a very bold move for the band to sing about god on the "very difficult" second album. I quite agree. And as a whole, I like ‘October’ a lot. It’s a piece of history. But as you may expect, the band’s limitations came in the way of making an ambitious album and it doesn’t come off as a very polished one. Since the follow-up album ‘War’ (1983) became so popular, ’October’ is pretty much forgotten now.

One of the reasons for "October" being so unpolished is because a briefcase that contained the initial lyrics was stolen by fans. Bono was forced to write new lyrics, and make the best of those lost by memory. The briefcase was actually recovered in 2004, and was greeted by Bono saying it was "an act of grace".


1. ‘Gloria’ (4:12): A superb opener. The song is about god. A lot of U2 songs have double entendre, but there’s no doubt in this one. One of my most loved U2 songs. It even has some Latin in it, which makes it even cooler.

2. ‘I Fall Down’ (3:39): This is a simple song about falling down from grace whenever you want to get up and start afresh. At least that’s what I feel.

3. ‘I Threw a Brick through a Window’ (4:48): Very interesting title. Keeping in with the spiritual theme, I guess it’s probably about being trapped inside a ’wall’, the wall being a metaphor for society maybe. It contains lyrics ‘Be my brother I got to get out, I got to get out’, which I attribute to be Bono praying to God to help him.

4. ‘Rejoice’ (3:38): I am confused by this one. It could be about changing yourself first before trying to change the world; kind of like Mahatma Gandhi said. But then I’m confused about what the title means.

5. ‘Fire’ (3:51): This song is probably about Bono being confused about religion and rock n’ roll. This was also the first single from the album. Great song too, but a pretty forgotten U2 song.

6. ‘Tomorrow’ (4:39): This song is about Bono’s mother, who, unfortunately died when Bono was 14. The song lyrics deal with Bono’s helplessness at the fact that his mother won’t return. Another forgotten great.

7. ‘October’ (2:21): Could this be Bono achieving a bit of peace after wailing for his mother? I think it could be. It’s a sweet piano piece by The Edge (lead guitarist) and a couple of short verses by Bono. No bass or drums in this one; very calming.

8. ‘With a Shout (Jerusalem)’ (4:04): I don’t know if there was an uprising of some sort in Jerusalem at the time, but the lyrics tell about it. Some kind of war has raged, and Bono wants to reach the messiah. Great song.

9. ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ (3:57): This song is about being in another country and longing to be home.

10. ‘Scarlet’ (2:52): This is a small instrumental piece. Very sweet.

11. ‘Is That All?’ (2:59): I don’t really understand the meaning of this song, but it does seem to be addressed to god.

The album wasn’t too liked by critics upon release, and sales-wise, it was a downer as well. The performance of the band isn’t up to the mark, but that doesn’t make much of a difference to me. This is one of the better U2 albums in my opinion, and you have to listen it to truly understand it. But maybe your opinion would conflict with mine.