U2 goes political.
Bullet the Blue Sky is a political song that condemns US foreign policy for promoting unrest in Central America and was inspired by Bono’s trip to Central America in 1958 with Amnesty International. Bono wanted Edge to play a song that amplified the troubles that he saw and experienced while in El Salvador. Arguably their most political song, over time the band has changed the politics of the song from everything from Nazism to consumerism.
Overall the song doesn’t resonate much with me. However, there are three great parts in Rattle & Hum.
- Adam Clayton as a lead up to the song, smoking a cigarette in a bar, drinking a beer. His philosophy – people who don’t think you can mix music and politics is complete bullshit. His only solo screen time in the film, and he nails his part.
- When The Edge blisters through his guitar solo, Bono grabs a large spotlight and hovers over and around The Edge framing him in the light. Soon after, he swings the spotlight in to the crowd as Edge continues to ‘play the blues’. Very theatrical and effective.
- During the pontification portion of the song, Bono belts out, “the God I believe in isn’t short of cash … mister”.
For me, the most important legacy of the song is the lyrics inspired the name of the live album and movie that followed The Joshua Tree album:
In the locust wind comes a rattle and hum
Jacob wrestled the angel
And the angel was overcome
So for that reason and spotlight maneuvering, I’m looking forward to seeing this song live (and maybe I’ll trip over Adam in a bar before the show).