Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Superstitions: An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart

U2: An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart

When you think about U2’s great debut album, Boy, “An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart” is probably not the first thing that you think of. Maybe, like me, you think about how the album’s unique sound, earnestness and confidence, despite the young age of the band members, was impressive. Or about how “I Will Follow” blew you away. Or maybe you think about how this album launched U2 to the heights of the music business. Is it the best U2 album? No. Is it my favorite U2 album? No. Was it a groundbreaking, remarkable debut? Yes.

Nevertheless, these two joined songs are strong, even if they weren’t my go-to tracks when I played this album on WPRB, which I did many, many times. (The second half, “Into The Heart,” is about childhood, maturity and the loss of innocence.)

“An Cat Dubh” means “The Black Cat” in Irish, and so we have officially satisfied the theme. Now, when I think about the black cat superstition, I think about bad luck. But because I care about you, the Star Maker Machine reader, I do research. Not exhaustive research, but at least a look at Wikipedia (I know…) And it appears that in Celtic lore, black cats can be lucky! Also, according to that article, pirates believed that if a black cat walks towards someone, that person will have bad luck, but if a black cat walks away from someone, then that person will have good luck—although in the UK, the belief is the opposite. So, if you see a black cat, it could be good luck or bad luck, and depending on the way that it walks, it could be good luck or bad luck. Or the opposite. Here’s another article. Look—superstitions aren’t real, so it doesn’t matter, knock on wood.

Meanwhile, the song “An Cat Dubh” is really about sex. It was written about a short relationship that Bono had while separated from his then-girlfriend, now wife Ali. The lyrics of the song, though, are a little more obscure—they are about a cat that kills a blackbird and then sleeps beside it. I guess that’s what we call a metaphor. And you can decide whether the black cat is lucky or not—I’m pretty sure I know how the bird thinks, though.

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