It's 4am and you're at the bar in Vegas. Or maybe you’re at the Elvis wedding chapel. Then you go driving into the cool desert during the last hours of night. From out of nowhere...somewhere...this hymn, sounding like a B-side from Achtung Baby, begins. Guitars and dub sonics (credited to Lanois) glow like headlights. Yep, it's that kind of song.
Amid the muscular percussion of Ronnie Vannucci and Darren Beckett, Flowers, in his most unadorned, unaffected voice sings, “Daddy, I'm not gonna tell you that I'm sorry/ there ain’t nothin you can do to change my mind/ I'm not here to know the things I cannot do/ we've seen the outcome of the Boy's Who Didn't Fly.”
By the chorus, Flowers is pushing his tenor with the lines: "Playing with fire/ you know you're gonna hurt somebody tonight/ and you're out on a wire/ you know we're playing with fire."
The song is a shape-shifter, and by the middle the sound is already approaching the tipping point. Still, we step higher and higher, until a soothing piano bridge eases us back for a few gentle moments. And as the tune rides out, we have more guitars, which chime and sparkle, sizzle, and yes, they rattle and hum, too. Flowers slowly scats each note. Fascinating and bewitching.