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wonder… Cleaning Up

by | Dec 31, 2021 | Cleaning Up, U2, wonder

🖋 You have today. While always true, particularly today is the day to Clean Up anything you need to put a “2021” on. For me, it is ordering supplies and other expenses that I can accelerate into the rearview mirror, and then downloading fiscal records (stop laughing – I do actually keep them – mostly). It is one of those business practices that I used as a game each year that I continued to play down this new path. The wonder is I still do that mentally – stuck thinking eventually someone will figure out that I need to get a “real job”…

🎵 For those keeping score, I went back for yesterday’s track to the appropriately titled album for this last day of the year: All That You Can’t Leave Behind. U2 had continued after Achtung Baby to experiment with Electronic and Dance music which was so natural to Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Now they wanted to Clean Up some of that focus and bring back the guitar-centric sound they had started out with. Eno wondered if the band could do that better by not preparing in advance, and simply writing the songs in the studio. It produced a more ‘stripped down’ sound with less production but retained the power and beat they had mastered.

Today’s wonder originated from a gospel-influenced chord progression that The Edge composed on a piano in a Japanese hotel room. He said: “I suppose I was consciously looking for something in that [gospel] tradition. Having been through that whole experimentation period during Pop—with techno and dance ideas and dance aesthetics—it seemed like I wanted to get back to something a bit more earthy”. The recorded version of the song was essentially a live take performed by the band with him and Eno. On guitar, Lanois played “the harmony to The Edge’s part”. The Edge achieved a clean guitar tone by plugging his 1950s Fender Stratocaster guitar directly into a Fender Bassman amplifier. (…. this is guitar porn by the way for those following along…) The song ends with a “choral chant” written by the Edge; Lanois said they had always wanted to compose such a part before.

Bono wrote the lyrics about the suicide of his close friend Michael Hutchence, lead singer of the band INXS. The song is written in the form of an argument about suicide in which Bono tries to convince Hutchence of the act’s foolishness. Bono characterized the song as a fight between friends, which he felt guilty for never having with Hutchence. As Bono said in 2005, “It’s a row between mates. You’re kinda trying to wake them up out of an idea. In my case, it’s a row I didn’t have while he was alive. I feel the biggest respect I could pay to him was not to write some stupid soppy song, so I wrote a really tough, nasty little number, slapping him around the head. And I’m sorry, but that’s how it came out of me”

🖋 Working with youth for many years, we always had a New Year’s Eve party at the church. Harkening back to my own youth, we tried to make it fun with lots of games, wonder, and of course, trashy food. The only place where it became a little serious was to write down something you want to Clean Up from the year that is about to end. Put it on a piece of paper, and put it into a bucket. At Midnight, we would welcome the Clean start to the New Year by burning all those papers. PSA – anything involving fire and kids works… and yes I have, in fact, never grown up. That is something that I will never wonder about…

… whatever moment you find yourself in today, what would help you wonder and imagine a new version of that … just for tomorrow. Not a big leap, simply just over the horizon about 18 hours from now? For me, wonder comes effortlessly… because I constantly exercise it. One of my go-to phrases is “What could possibly go wrong?” which has become so second nature that those around me just laugh, and then… imagine it. What can you visualize differently as a positive shift for tomorrow, and then… the day after that… and after that? Cleaning Up without getting too far ahead… Simple, that is the real wonder of this New Year’s Eve… seeing it as freeing you from being… Stuck in a Moment You CAN Get Out Of?…

I’m not afraid
Of anything in this world
There’s nothing you can throw at me
That I haven’t already heard
 
I’m just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company
 
I never thought you were a fool
But darling, look at you (Ooh)
You gotta stand up straight, carry your own weight
These tears are going nowhere baby
 
You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And now you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
 
I will not forsake
The colors that you bring
The nights you filled with fireworks
They left you with nothing
 
I am still enchanted
By the light you brought to me
I listen through your ears
Through your eyes I can see
 
You are such a fool
To worry like you do. Oh
I know it’s tough
And you can never get enough
Of what you don’t really need now
My, oh my
 
You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
Oh love, look at you now
 
You’ve got yourself stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
 
I was unconscious, half asleep
The water is warm ’til you discover how deep
I wasn’t jumping, for me it was a fall
It’s a long way down, to nothing at all
 
You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
 
And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if your way should falter
Along the stony paths
 
And if, and if the night runs over
And if, the day won’t last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony paths
 
It’s just a moment
This time will pass
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