"So Cruel"

I covered “So Cruel” off of U2’s album Achtung Baby. It was the first song I recorded last year for the sessions that eventually turned into Chemtrails. But in the end I couldn’t make it work in sequence on the album so I left it off. You can listen or download at my Soundcloud page.

U2 were a huge, huge deal to me growing up. I can’t overstate that. Bono was the first singer I ever loved and imitated, and Achtung Baby is still probably my favorite album of all time. U2’s reputation hasn’t aged well (almost nobody I know seems to have any love) and I think a lot of that has to do with the specific blend of cheek and dead seriousness they started to experiment with on Achtung Baby. In my book, Bono’s hard rhyming aphorisms are cool as fuck and I still get something out of them after all this time. The lyrics on So Cruel are particularly raw. I used to imagine that Bono was writing from a place of empathy, standing in for The Edge, who was going through a divorce, and thought it was such a beautiful gesture of brotherhood. But now, looking back, I wonder if Bono and Ali were secretly on the rocks at the time. Some of these lines are too vivid to not be written from firsthand experience.

Anyway, take a listen. My vocal take sounds lifeless. I cut it when I was in shock but didn’t know I was. I had planned to re-sing it later but when I listened back a few months later I decided it made sense to leave it be.

Daniel Johnson