Fall Songs: October – U2

“October” is title song and the stand-out track from U2’s second album.   Most people see October as U2’s weakest album.  In fact, it’s almost forgotten to the general public.  There is some truth to these claims, as many of the songs alienate fans by the religious imagery.  (Indeed, there’s a song that has the subtitle “Jerusalem”, if that’s any indication.). It also didn’t help that when U2 released “October” they put on the abysmal “Fire” as the lead single. 

But the song “October” stands-out, because like “The Ocean” on U2’s previous album Boy, because it isn’t so much of a song, but rather a fragment.  It’s interesting that this song stood the test of time, because it doesn’t sound like U2 at all.  There’s no ringing of the Edge’s guitars, and Bono whispers the lyrics over the piano that dominates the song.   

“October, the trees are stripped bare, of all they wear,” Bono observes.  It seems like a gentle observation about autumn, but then Bono follows it up with a very uncharestaristic remark: “What do I care?”  A lot could be said about Bono, even early in his career.  Back then, it would still be hard to accuse him of not caring. 

“October, and kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall, but You go on, and on,” B0no continues.  It’s likely that Bono is talking about God and or Jesus.  Of course, he could also be talking a woman.  Sometimes for Bono it can be the same thing . 

U2 is usually known for their bombastic singles and anthems, but when they let their guard down on songs like “October” the result is usually quite good.  They also explored similar style songs on Zooropa (“The First Time”), All That You Can’t Leave Behind (“Grace”) and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (“One Step Closer”).

U2 – October:


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