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Old 03-11-2009, 06:09 PM   #121
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I agree the poppies wasn't referring to drugs, just setting a scene up. That's what I was getting at.

I guess we just disagree then. That's fine.

Next song: Unknown Caller
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:29 PM   #122
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i also think that "Breathe" is fast becoming one of the most interesting songs on the album, and i think it offers the redemption -- not in the world, in the land, or in the lamb, but "in the sound" -- that haunts like a present absence the world of White As Snow.
It has so grown on me - I started think it was not that good....

I feel that it is becoming one of my favorites.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:57 AM   #123
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It has so grown on me - I started think it was not that good....

I feel that it is becoming one of my favorites.
Me too.

Re: the ongoing discussion about "WAS".

This, my friends (to employ a McCainism), is why I think U2 has such appeal and why the band resonates so personally with so many of us. The songs feel like our songs. They say what we feel, from our point of view. Irvine, coming from an agnostic worldview hears that--those of us who are Christian hear something else. Who is "right" is almost beside the point. It is simply what U2 has always been able to do, and I really find it remarkable that they can do it so well. I've heard lots of bands where you're wondering "is it God or the girl" they're talking about, but nobody touches U2 in terms of balancing the two so well.

And that's not even touching the music itself, which can touch people regardless of the lyrics.

I agree with Irvine though. This is one of the strongest U2 albums for me personally in years.
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:54 AM   #124
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So...about Breathe... Was anyone else a little confused as to whether the narrator of the first "16th of June..." verse is the same as the narrator of the second?

I loved this song the first time I heard it. Besides the obvious overall theme (liberation through "a love you can't defeat...grace inside a sound"), I think the first things I noticed were the reference back to the theme of Miracle Drug ("the songs are in our eyes") and the apparent allusions to Ulysses...June 16th, 'walking out,' God as 'a shout in the street,' the interruptions of an obnoxious evangelist. (I don't really think this is likely important to the song's meaning, and the latter two similarities could just as easily be coincidental; I simply thought it was neat.)
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:56 AM   #125
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do you think the words are intentionally presented as interchangeable? what does that suggest to you in terms of meaning?
U2 has done this before. The Mysterious Ways lyrics as sung on the original AB album are different from the ones found on the 1990-2000 Greatest Hits album.

Got my deluxe package today!!!! So I'm giving MOS a bunch of repeat listens now. Great song. It reminds me of "Love Rescue Me" in terms of it's length and kind of somber tone except that MOS isn't tiresome the way LRM was. I found I often skipped that song on Rattle and Hum.
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Old 03-12-2009, 11:25 AM   #126
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I think the first things I noticed were the reference back to the theme of Miracle Drug ("the songs are in our eyes")


i think the guitar "part" -- i don't really have the musical vocabulary to properly describe it -- is very, very similar to "Miracle Drug."

my quick take on "Breathe" it's that it's a rejection of the mega-churches, the mega-preachers, the religion of self help, the religion of prosperity, the God that's short of cash -- that's all "cockatoo" (read: bullshit).

it seems to me that access to said Divine Love is found in how you live your life, in the creative process, in "the sound," in finding out what you were meant to do with this life and doing it full tilt, balls out, heart out -- i think the connection between the Love Divine and The Sound is very clear in this one. and i think there's a connection back to Magnificent. he talks about dying and being reborn, frequently across the album, but now admits who gave birth to him -- "we are people born of sound." not God. but The Sound. which could be God, if you want to call it that.

i don't know, however, what the 16th of June at 9:05am has to do with anything. i know that numbers are important to the album -- earlier, at 3:33 "when the numbers fell off the clockface" seems to be the phone call from God that was referenced on the ATYCLB cover -- but i don't know what these numbers are about or what they're doing.
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Old 03-12-2009, 11:45 AM   #127
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i think the guitar "part" -- i don't really have the musical vocabulary to properly describe it -- is very, very similar to "Miracle Drug."

my quick take on "Breathe" it's that it's a rejection of the mega-churches, the mega-preachers, the religion of self help, the religion of prosperity, the God that's short of cash -- that's all "cockatoo" (read: bullshit).

it seems to me that access to said Divine Love is found in how you live your life, in the creative process, in "the sound," in finding out what you were meant to do with this life and doing it full tilt, balls out, heart out -- i think the connection between the Love Divine and The Sound is very clear in this one. and i think there's a connection back to Magnificent. he talks about dying and being reborn, frequently across the album, but now admits who gave birth to him -- "we are people born of sound." not God. but The Sound. which could be God, if you want to call it that.

i don't know, however, what the 16th of June at 9:05am has to do with anything. i know that numbers are important to the album -- earlier, at 3:33 "when the numbers fell off the clockface" seems to be the phone call from God that was referenced on the ATYCLB cover -- but i don't know what these numbers are about or what they're doing.
The 3:33 references the verse Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to Me, and I will answer, and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know". Bono confirmed that in the new RS interview and also talked about its use on the ATYCLB cover, which most of us knew, since we're U2 nerds. And I definitely like your take on "Breathe" too. It has a similar meaning for me too, but maybe with a slightly different take on the last verse.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:03 PM   #128
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i think the guitar "part" -- i don't really have the musical vocabulary to properly describe it -- is very, very similar to "Miracle Drug."

my quick take on "Breathe" it's that it's a rejection of the mega-churches, the mega-preachers, the religion of self help, the religion of prosperity, the God that's short of cash -- that's all "cockatoo" (read: bullshit).

it seems to me that access to said Divine Love is found in how you live your life, in the creative process, in "the sound," in finding out what you were meant to do with this life and doing it full tilt, balls out, heart out -- i think the connection between the Love Divine and The Sound is very clear in this one. and i think there's a connection back to Magnificent. he talks about dying and being reborn, frequently across the album, but now admits who gave birth to him -- "we are people born of sound." not God. but The Sound. which could be God, if you want to call it that.

i don't know, however, what the 16th of June at 9:05am has to do with anything. i know that numbers are important to the album -- earlier, at 3:33 "when the numbers fell off the clockface" seems to be the phone call from God that was referenced on the ATYCLB cover -- but i don't know what these numbers are about or what they're doing.
Bono's definitely rejecting something, but I never would've guessed megachurches and the prosperity movement. Although, I have no problem with him rejecting that. That's an interesting interpretation.

I do think, as it says at the end, the song is in part about Grace. Just that's all he needs. And he can breathe knowing there's no guilt or shame. He's forgiven.
The whole part about we are people borne of sound/the songs are in our eyes/gonna wear them like a crown seems like a double meaning of music and the Christian walk. The imagery in these lines is very Biblical. This is where he finds Grace, too. (inside the sound. Let me in the sound.) Then, of course, there's the line: "Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn." Again, Bono has stated in "Bono in Conversation" that he takes this very seriously in his spiritual life.

The 3:33 reference in "Unknown Caller" is Jeremiah 33:3 (which is the J-33:3 sign on the cover of ATYCLB, which was added on at the last minute. Original ads for the album had a different sign.) Bono's referred to that verse as God's telephone number, so it fits with "Unknown Caller."

Jeremiah 33:3
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."

I think the numbers are in the song to reference the verse. The line following is "Speed-dialing with no signal at all."
Then you have God speaking through text message in the chorus.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:05 PM   #129
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Bono's definitely rejecting something, but I never would've guessed megachurches and the prosperity movement. Although, I have no problem with him rejecting that. That's an interesting interpretation.

I do think, as it says at the end, the song is in part about Grace. Just that's all he needs. And he can breathe knowing there's no guilt or shame. He's forgiven.
The whole part about we are people borne of sound/the songs are in our eyes/gonna wear them like a crown seems like a double meaning of music and the Christian walk. The imagery in these lines is very Biblical. This is where he finds Grace, too. (inside the sound. Let me in the sound.) Then, of course, there's the line: "Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn." Again, Bono has stated in "Bono in Conversation" that he takes this very seriously in his spiritual life.

The 3:33 reference in "Unknown Caller" is Jeremiah 33:3 (which is the J-33:3 sign on the cover of ATYCLB, which was added on at the last minute. Original ads for the album had a different sign.) Bono's referred to that verse as God's telephone number, so it fits with "Unknown Caller."

Jeremiah 33:3
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."

I think the numbers are in the song to reference the verse. The line following is "Speed-dialing with no signal at all."
Then you have God speaking through text message in the chorus.

Thank you for explaining my thoughts exactly.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:22 PM   #130
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i think Bono is rejecting the salesman aspect to religion because he's answering the door and someone's selling him something -- he responds that he knows exactly what that guy is doing ("long line of salesmen on my mother's side") and he's not going to fall for the bullshit.

he doesn't need anything. he doesn't need to buy anything. all he needs is The Sound.
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:16 PM   #131
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he doesn't need anything. he doesn't need to buy anything. all he needs is The Sound.
In an interesting way, it reminds me of Bono's spin on the "Father Christmas" lyrics -- "They sold me a dream of Christmas, They sold me a Silent Night, And they told me a fairy story, BUT I believed in the Israelite." He's not interested in bills of goods; he's interested in the Truth that sets him free....

It kind of reminds me of Jesus' words: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added to you."
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:38 PM   #132
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I can agree with you guys on this.
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:44 PM   #133
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Bono's definitely rejecting something, but I never would've guessed megachurches and the prosperity movement.
I'm not sure Irvine meant only the religious, church-based version of the 'prosperity movement' when he referred to "the religion of self help, the religion of prosperity." Assuming the two 'June 16th...' verses are meant to be related, they seem to highlight the presence of both 'religious' and 'secular' hucksters among us--the door-to-door proselytizer, the investments advisor, the 'juju man.' The problem with these kinds of people isn't just that they're peddling false happiness, false success; they also share a self-serving agenda of filling you with fear and anxiety (about your health, your wealth, your soul) so that they can manipulate you. So walking away from them 'into the street/with arms out' isn't just a means to seeking spiritual rebirth through 'grace inside a sound,' it's also a fist-in-the air rejection of the way of fear--obsessively clinging to your possessions lest you lose them, dutifully following The Rules just in case the hucksters are right and you're going to lose it all if you don't, etc. etc. Which is also why the allusion back to Miracle Drug makes sense, because there "the songs are in your eyes" refers to (among other things) the inspiration provided by someone who physically didn't have the option of closing the door, walking away, or 'drowning out' anyone with his voice, but still rejected both self-pity and others' pity--more forms of fear, more ways of letting others trap and confine you--and found his own 'grace inside a sound' by taking up the challenge of creating poetry, novels and autobiography.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:11 PM   #134
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I'm not sure Irvine meant only the religious, church-based version of the 'prosperity movement' when he referred to "the religion of self help, the religion of prosperity." Assuming the two 'June 16th...' verses are meant to be related, they seem to highlight the presence of both 'religious' and 'secular' hucksters among us--the door-to-door proselytizer, the investments advisor, the 'juju man.' The problem with these kinds of people isn't just that they're peddling false happiness, false success; they also share a self-serving agenda of filling you with fear and anxiety (about your health, your wealth, your soul) so that they can manipulate you. So walking away from them 'into the street/with arms out' isn't just a means to seeking spiritual rebirth through 'grace inside a sound,' it's also a fist-in-the air rejection of the way of fear--obsessively clinging to your possessions lest you lose them, dutifully following The Rules just in case the hucksters are right and you're going to lose it all if you don't, etc. etc. Which is also why the allusion back to Miracle Drug makes sense, because there "the songs are in your eyes" refers to (among other things) the inspiration provided by someone who physically didn't have the option of closing the door, walking away, or 'drowning out' anyone with his voice, but still rejected both self-pity and others' pity--more forms of fear, more ways of letting others trap and confine you--and found his own 'grace inside a sound' by taking up the challenge of creating poetry, novels and autobiography.
That's a very interesting perspective, yolland.

I was just thinking of how Bono's taken shots at the faith-based prosperity movement before, as Irvine referenced.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:49 PM   #135
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it's interesting, also, to think about how the last three songs sort of fit together, kind of three different viewpoints on something.

1. White As Snow -- let's take, for a moment, my interpretation, that it's a feeling of being abandoned at the end of life by this Love Divine, that it is despair and desolation and the water, it was icy. note that the narrator is looking around at the things of this world, poppies and moons and wolves and strangers, and it's all hostile, or empty. it's bleak, and it's getting darker (or fading to white?) and it fits with the ghostly, despairing mood of the song.

2. Breathe -- it roars to life as an affirmation of life itself, of grace found in The Sound, of how life is meant to be lived full throttled, through acts of creation, whether it's giving birth or writing a song or painting with your left foot. there's a clear rejection in this song, of a religion that can be purchased, and a clear embrace of finding The Sound in the very act of being alive, of, simply, breathing.

3. Cedars of Lebanon -- the world comes crashing back, with a vengeance, and through the gritty images and gritty life of the narrator, we see a narrator wondering where the Love Divine or The Sound (and in this, the album's quietest song) is in all of this pain and suffering: "unholy clouds reflecting in a minaret / you're so high above me, higher than everyone / Where are you in the Cedars of Lebanon?" and then the album ends on a note of hard won wisdom, lived-in wisdom, that's about this world, and about nothing more, and about how what you do hear defines who you are.

very preliminary thoughts, but just putting them out there.
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