why are boyfriends so bloody difficult?

reprinted from my tumblr blog, originally posted 2012

So, as this is the general place for confessions of all kinds (I’m seriously re-thinking the name of this blog!), and that I eluded to my ongoing relationship issues. I thought it only appropriate to vent about that here.

It’s not what you think…I swear.

I’m not going to go on about my ex or anything like that. Aside from the sheer fact that it’s a boring topic, or that he’d probably call me up to complain…it’s really not anyone’s business. Because I have a far more important relationship issue to discuss…

Why I can’t seem to play nice with last songs on U2 records.

U2 records to me, are like boyfriends. Only that I am the one to always break up with them when a new, more exciting one comes along, not the reverse (which is why they are the perfect relationship!). But for some reason, last songs on U2 records are like the one annoying habit you try to overlook. I don’t know why this seems to be the case with me. I mean I generally like what they put out there in the universe. I don’t seem to have the same issues with opening tracks – now maybe that’s because the first song is like the first date, you’re just getting to know him. He’s new, he’s exciting and you’re interested enough to really want to see what kind of underwear he’s got on – and if you’re lucky enough, none at all!

Ahem…Sorry…that’s clearly for a whole other dissertation…

By song two, you’ve gotten to know him a little, his personality and where he thinks this whole thing is going and by song three, hopefully you’re fully on track and finally getting to make-out a little on a nightly basis. You get the natural arc of the mid-point of the record but then, for me something happens. I love the second-to-last offering, as a general rule, but that last fleeting moment of the relationship, all hell breaks loose and I run. I can’t get away fast enough. And this phenomenon hasn’t happened just one or two times. It is the predominant reaction I have to U2 records. In fact, the number of times this has happened far outweighs the times it doesn’t…

In fact, I can name on one hand and one finger the number of exceptions to this…Unforgettable Fire, Rattle and Hum, Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Pop, and No Line on the Horizon…and even at that, most of these are acquired tastes and the relationship started very, very rocky and uncertain…But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Boy – Shadows and Tall Trees

It’s like he’s trying to slink off into the night without a goodnight kiss, damn him. Though I will give him this, I have less of an issue with this song now than I used to – like I’m used to this bad habit he has about turning over and just falling asleep…

October – Is That All?

I absolutely cannot listen to this song. In fact, just turning it on for this “review” hurts. I agree, Bono – listening to you sing this song makes me angry. And I only made it through about 1 minute 30 of this track. This is the song that makes me want to toss crockery at his head.

War – 40

I know I’m going to get a lot of shit for this. But I think other than Pride and Elvis Presley and America, this may be my least favorite U2 song of all time. Though I will give it this, and my friend Deena will love me for saying this, but that drum line is freaking awesome live. And this album is one of the rare occasions where I actually don’t like the two songs preceding it, either. War, for me, ends at Two Hearts.

The Unforgettable Fire – MLK
Ah, the first of our exceptions…now this really didn’t start out as one I’d consider a good habit. And maybe it has to do with the fact that this particular boyfriend and I have had some serious ups and downs over the years. There are times when I love most of this record. There are always the few tracks on here that I refuse to subject myself to…but MLK has become a sweet lullaby after a long day’s work and he’s serenading me to sleep…

The Joshua Tree – Mothers of the Disappeared
I’m not sure what my issue is with this song. But I just cannot get into it. For me, JTree will always end with Exit. It’s dirty and gritty and a little scary – it’s mind is like a bad neighborhood and I kind of like that. It’s like really good intense sex and the track that follows it, is like cuddle time – but you don’t want cuddle time – you want more of what just happened five minutes ago!

Rattle and Hum – All I Want is You

Now a lot of people use this song at their weddings, or so I’m told. Which I don’t quite get, since this song is actually kind of bitter to me. Of wanting something (or someone) that may not want you back anymore. And the repercussions of not being able to fulfill your lover’s needs in the end. Funny, to me it’s kind of a pre-cursor to Love is Blindness…but this song is so pretty that it’s hard not to like it, in spite of it’s little annoyances and bad habits. And at the end of the day and you’re old and ready to settle down this is the song to do it to.

Achtung Baby – Love is Blindness
To be honest, I positively detested this song for the first five months this album was out. I couldn’t get through it at all. I wanted my relationship to end at Acrobat. I didn’t want to try to reconcile on any level. I wanted the fight and the argument and all the shouting that comes along with it and the idea of finding a way to make up didn’t appeal to me at all. It wasn’t until I saw this song live, that it hit me. It wasn’t reconciliation, it was resignation and surrender this particular boyfriend wanted from me. I didn’t go willingly, but I did go…though I still prefer it live with that guitar solo that rips through me every time I hear it…even twenty years on…

Zooropa – The Wanderer
I think this may have been the very first U2 record where I liked my new boyfriend from start to finish on first listen…and I know why! It’s because I was secretly dating Johnny Cash! My kitschy fling with another man and a bass that sounds like a cheap Casio keyboard. Though I do wish he’d hit the snooze bar on that alarm clock already…

POP – Wake Up, Dead Man
This was another one where it took a live version to get me to have another peek at this man and give him another chance. It was just so depressing to end this way…I was totally seduced by song two and was ready to marry this one by song four and bear it’s children by the end of song eight. Then Wake Up, Dead Man, comes on which seemed like my boyfriend’s evil twin come to wreck havoc on the sweet harmony of my relationship. Turns out, however, this this was just one more, deeper facet of this boyfriend and the one I ultimately pulled off my “creepers” list and into the “keeper” pile.

All That You Can’t Leave Behind – Grace
For those of us in the US, we didn’t get the option of the additional track to finish this album off, so this is how I know this particular boyfriend. While Grace is sweet and kind of cute, there is something about it I can’t put my finger on. Perhaps it’s just a little too sticky sweet for me. I like my boyfriends with a bit of a dark side and this one seems to be all front and no back…the whole album, really. Though at the time, it was just the boyfriend I needed…my fling of 2001…

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb – Yahweh
Yet another boyfriend where my European friends were getting a different man…now, while I love Fast Cars, this relationship has, does and will always end for me with Original of the Species. Which is such a love letter to girls everywhere that I can’t bear to go any further. This is another one of my short-term boyfriends, who sadly gets replaced by older and better boys that make me quiver with the drop of the needle….well, with one exception…

No Line on the Horizon – Cedars of Lebanon

My most recent boyfriend – and I don’t just think but know that this one’s a “keeper” and not a “creeper”. He is my most mature and well put together boyfriend. He’s got it all. A little flash, a little down and dirty and a lot of substance. Just the way I like ‘em! And Cedars of Lebanon is that sweet, warm rumble in my ear as he puts me to bed at night…well after midnight, mind. With promises of doing it all again tomorrow.