Cover illustration of a menu from the SS President Hoover cruise ship, 1932
This might seem like a pretty fair fight - a fairly obscure early track by U2 versus the closing track of the underwhelming third Strokes record. But, for me, this isn't a fair match-up at all. I have dutifully refused to forgive the Strokes for not living up to the hype of their first EP. And I resent them for not setting Robert Pollard up for life by recording "My Kind of Soldier" and making it a smash hit. But I have unconditional love for the closing tracks of each of the Strokes records - all three of their LPs are mixed bags, but, in my opinion, the band know just how to close an album. With a *bang* of memorablw pop. From the howling chorus of "Take It or Leave It" to the relentlessly bouncy "Red Light", the Strokes' closers were all winners.
Also, even though I have this U2 song on my computer "jukebox", I actually have no memory of their song called "Red Light". I've listened to War plenty of times over the years, but, listening to it now, it's not ringing a bell at all. What is that intro? Is that a chorus of women? I'm checking Wikipedia for clues, and all it's telling me is that the song is about prostitution and that there is a trumpet on it. The prostitution thing I'm hearing, but where is the trumpet? Oh, there it is. Wow, this song is just. NOT. VERY. GOOD.
Winner: THE STROKES
"Red Light" by the Strokes
"Red Light" by U2