Friday, June 7, 2013

Music To Write By: U2's "The Wanderer" (featuring Johnny Cash)

Why Listen? For strong imagery; a dollop of SF; the ever-inspiring Johnny Cash.

Popular music has seen its share of strange collaborations over the years, some of which work startlingly well and others that fall spectacularly flat. But few possess the appeal of having one of the greats of country music frontline an epic British rock band, and that's exactly what Johnny Cash did with “The Wanderer,” the last track on U2's experimental Zooropa. "Experimental" being the key word. In his inimitable style, Cash drones about a wandering man who goes walking through a totalitarian state "with a Bible and gun" while looking for love and redemption. Though he contributes only scant backing vocals, U2's Bono wrote the lyrics, which draw heavily on SF imagery:
I went out walking under an atomic sky
Where the ground won't turn
And the rain it burns
Like the tears when I said goodbye.
Alas, all of the imagery never quite coheres into a proper narrative, but it will give your imagination a dystopic jolt.


pattinase (abbott) said...

No, it just doesn't work for me despite loving much of his music and theirs.

Chestertonian Rambler said...

I think there's something about Cash's voice in a post-apocalyptic setting that makes me automatically suspend any critical faculties. Needless to say, I really liked this.

Loren Eaton said...


De gustibus non est disputandum, I suppose.

Loren Eaton said...


On the whole, I think Zooropa was a failure -- except for this song. I like it, too.