Rejoice, Even When Under Pressure

Music Review Series: Looking Back On The 80’s Music | 1981 Then and Now


October ~U2 | Now and Then

In te domine
Oh, Lord, loosen my lips.”

“Gloria” is hands down the reason I bought this album.  Early on, U2 recognized the value of  grabbing the listener’s attention out of the gate with each album. Like “I Will Follow” on Boy, “Gloria” doesn’t disappoint.  “Gloria” also sets the tone for October, not only musically, but lyrically.

In te domine
Oh, Lord, if I had anything, anything at all
I’d give it to you.”

U2’s faith arises time and time again throughout the years, but on October, it takes center stage. This is a bold move considering both the success of Boy and this being their second studio album. Just look to songs like, “Rejoice”, “Tomorrow”, “With A Shout (Jerusalem)”, “Scarlet” and “Fire”.

“I can’t change the world
But I can change the world in me
I rejoice.

Little did Bono know of the huge impact the world would experience, based on his faith changing the world inside his heart.  If you’re unfamiliar with Bono’s work around the globe, take some to read about it.

I titled this review, Rejoice, Even When Under Pressure, not only because of the songs like, “Rejoice” and “Scarlet”, but because of the struggles and pressure U2 found themselves under recording October. “October was the most difficult of the three records I did with them basically because of the well-chronicled story of Bono losing his lyrics during the American tour. The fact that the first album had a bit of success in America meant that the band toured over there for a long time to do the groundwork. When they came back and it was time to do the second album, nothing was ready!”, U2’s producer, Steve Lillywhite.[] 

Bono reminiscing on the making of October“I remember the pressure it was made under, I remember writing lyrics on the microphone, and at £50 an hour, that’s quite a pressure. Lillywhite was pacing up and down the studio… he coped really well. And the ironic thing about October is that there’s a sort of peace about the album, even though it was recorded under that pressure. A lot of people found October hard to accept at first, I mean, I used the word ‘rejoice’ precisely because I knew people have a mental block against it. It’s a powerful word, it’s lovely to say. It’s implying more than ‘get up and dance, baby.’ I think October goes into areas that most rock ‘n’ roll bands ignore. When I listen to the album, something like ‘Tomorrow,’ it actually moves me.”[“U2 at the RDS”. U2 Magazine, No. 2. 1 February 1982. Retrieved 5 November 2007.]  

“I want you to be back tomorrow.
Will you be back tomorrow?
Open up, open up, to the Lamb Of God
To the love of He
Who made the blind to see.

He’s coming back
He’s coming back
O believe Him.”

October was the third of U2’s first three albums I purchased as a kid.  As time went on, it became one of my all time favorites.  Granted, October came with mixed reviews, but there was a quality in the emotion of the album. The more I listened, the more I found. Lyrically, October created a strong spiritual connection for me to the band. It showed me that God isn’t always just found in the obvious.  What a joy it was to hear such lyrics from a rock band.  Under the pressure, they were still writing songs about rejoicing and shouting praise.

“I want to go, to the foot of Mount Zion
To the foot of He who made me see
To the side of a hill blood was spilt
We were filled with a love
And we’re going to be there again”

Video Single

Watch U2’s “Gloria” video.

octoberOctober ~U2

Released: 12 October 1981
Genres: Rock, post-punk
Producer: Steve Lillywhite
Line up: Bono – lead vocals | The Edge – guitar, backing vocals | Adam Clayton – bass guitar | Larry Mullen, Jr. – drums
Purchase On: iTunes / Amazon


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