"Soldier, soldier, we signed our lives away
Complete surrender, the only weapon we know
Soldier, soldier, we knew the world would never be the same
Soldier, this is where you can reach me now"
U2's penultimate track from Songs of Innocence, "This is Where You Can Reach Me Now," begins in an unfamiliar fashion -- with a tribal drum beat and seagulls, before yielding way to piano and an acoustic guitar. The odd introduction has Danger Mouse's fingerprints all over it, which is a very good thing. When it's all said and done "Reach Me Now" is one of the best songs on Innocence.
"Reach Me Now" begins with both Bono and the Edge singing the song's excellent chorus, with Bono and The Edge chanting out "Soldier, soldier." Once the chorus ends, a Halloween-esque synthesizer that tips its cap back to both The Doors and Broken Bells begins, and a driving bassline takes over the song. Bono wisely utilizes his lower register during the song's verses, and the song is much better off for it -- it's something that the frontman doesn't use often, but when he uses it, he uses it wisely, and "Reach Me Now" is better for it.
The song's prechorus is a highlight of the album. "Old man knows that I never listen, so how could I have something to say? Old man knows how to cheat ambition, 'You don't lose, if you don't play," Bono wails, before the song launches into its infectious and rocking chorus.
Written about rejecting the notion of not chasing your dreams, "We're taking the path of most resistance, the only way for us to go, and being a soldier in a far off land, "Reach Me Now" works lyrically, musically and thematically on Innocence, and could very well be the song that U2 opens the iNNOCENCE+eXPERIENCE Tour with. In an alternate universe, U2 would've saved "Winter" from No Line on the Horizon and paired it with "Reach Me Now," as both songs share a military theme.
The band reportedly planned on opening the album with "Reach Me Now," and frankly should have. Nothing against Innocence's first single, "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)," but "Reach Me Now" is a better song -- even if it's not a single. With the album literally given away to 500,000,000 people for free whether they wanted it or not, beginning Innocence with a song that takes over a minute to really know whether or not it's U2 would've seemed prudent. "Reach Me Now" is unmistakably U2, but you wouldn't know it until the song's verses come and go.
Ultimately, "This is Where You Can Reach Me Now" sounds like a song that U2 could've written for War, but with the craftsmanship that they've developed in the 21st century.