Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bono, NYT Contributing Columnist

The first installment in Bono's New York Times contributing columnist gig appeared in Sunday's paper.

At first, I wasn't sure where he was going, reflecting on his Dublin New Year's Eve and hearing Frank Sinatra's song "My Way" playing the background. Then the column shifted from New Year's in a pub to Bono's house and then time he spent with Old Blue Eyes. Was this an ode to Sinatra? To the passage of time?

But by the time I got to the end of the piece, I found it to be an ode to the way the same things (a song, a photo, anything, really) can take on different meanings depending on where we're at in our lives. And Bono made this point quite artistically.

An excerpt:

"In the later recording [of "My Way"], Frank is 78. The Nelson Riddle arrangement is the same, the words and melody are exactly the same, but this time the song has become a heart-stopping, heartbreaking song of defeat. The singer's hubris is out the door. (This singer, i.e. me, is in a puddle.) The song has become an apology.

To what end? Duality, complexity. I was lucky to duet with a man who understood duality, who had the talent to hear two opposing ideas in a single song, and the wisdom to know which side to reveal at which moment.

This is our moment. What do we hear?"

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