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Old 06-10-2002, 10:32 AM   #1
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Can Bono Write A True "Religious" Song

Here's another one Jennifer and I have to share.

We should state off the bat that the word "religious" could be exchanged for "faithful" or "worship" and is not used to deliniate a certain religion or another, but simply a song for God.

Perhaps we should also preempt this by summing up what we denoted as a "pure celebratory religious song" as we searched his lyrics. The song should a) not criticize God and b) celebrate Him. In those basic terms the scope of possibilites certainly are narrowed.

Bono once stated that he could not write a simple love song, that if he tried it always ended up being bittersweet. He's also remarked that he's sure people do not want him singing about lies like that anyway.

Extending this idea of not being able to write the perfect love song in conjunction with the fact that U2 songs are "often about God and women. And we often confuse the two" comes the realization that Bono also cannot write a simple love song to God.

We've made a list of "religious" songs that are overly religious (more than one line reference) and that should be asked if it is a true worship song.
  • Gloria
  • 40
  • If God Would Send His Angels
  • Until The End Of The World
  • Mysterious Ways
  • Wake Up Dead Man
  • Streets
  • I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  • With or Without You
  • The First Time
  • The Wanderer
  • Please
  • Grace


We started this by going through each song and citing the first religious line we came upon, its location in the song, followed by the first "slap in the face" follow up line.

If God Would Send His Angels:
Well the title suggests that something will happen if God sends his angels.. but the song opens with a very stark image of being alone with one other person, facing your "inner demon" in a sense.. there's no escaping. the first true line of questioning comes at "if God will send his angels, would everything be okay?" (10 lines into the song) Interesting here is that the chorus itself isn't so sure what will happen if God sends those angels. He said "will everything be all right?" NOT, "If God would send his angels, everything would be all right." He's not even SURE God can help him! But he definitely feels distant from God here.....looking for angels or for a sign. And that elusive God has got his phone off the hook! The most bitter line to me is "Would he even pick up if he could?" And he seems to be nostalgic for the old days when "Jesus never ever ever let me down,you know Jesus used to show me the score", but now..... Then almost like it's fruitless, but "I guess it was something to go on."

Wake Up Dead Man:
This one is almost the opposite of IGWSHA, in the sense that the title is what is the snapping retort, and from the first stanza you almost believe that he really is looking for help.. in a way it's a bit of a shadow of 40.. "I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined and heard my cry" - here his cry is "jesus, jesus help me".. and a sense of wanting to be "blind" (like SATS) "tell me a story"..escapism. The first true line of questioning comes when the title is mentioned at line 7. Also like a child here, "tell me, tell me a story". It's funny, but as bitter as this song is, in a way it's less accusatory than God Angels, because he's giving God the benefit of the doubt (maybe your hands weren't free, were you working on something new?) rather than saying "would he even pick up if he could"? He's more begging here than accusing, even in the chorus - like PLEASE WAKE UP! "Dead man" is rude, but the rest of it doesn't seem so rude. "Dead man" is totally hopeless. But it just doesn't feel so terribly BITTER, just more resigned and lost.

Please
This is a "religious" song but only in the sense that I feel he is criticizing the Church, and not God. And also criticizing the people... so I'm going to skip this one. For argument's sake, I suppose, it can be stated that this is an song of someone who has lost faith in people and the "Church".


The First Time
Stock full of religious images with the brother and father, and a woman who loves him (refering to Jesus who had many close woman friends..) "I just call and he comes around" another reference of calling out for God and him coming.. (this calling thing is pretty interesting! How he makes it LITERAL in God Angels, making it a telephone! But the "calling" thing is omnipresent...It's even in 11:00 (call out your name, call out in shame, call out you'd bettercall out etc.) "Running after me" like prodigal son (except in this song it's the brother who chases, not the dad!). But of course 4 lines from the end of the song, Bono throws the curveball: "But I left by the back door And threw away the key..." So no matter how faithful this father is, Bono tossed the key aside, of course the key a heavy metaphor for the key to a kingdom - God's Kingdom. Even Bill says he just can't bring himself to round out the phrase in a loving, accepting manner. Neat how he snuck this song in there, unnoticable because of using someone else's voice. He will not be so heavily indicted for it!

The Wanderer continues with a critical statement at "where citizens they say they want the kingdom but they don't want God in it" (a brilliant line). Still wandering, looking for his old name.. that experience to taste and touch before a man repents... but now he's searching for "one good man.. who'd sit at his father's right hand" which is a reference of course to Jesus. But now he's walking with a bible and a gun... which is such a strong image to me, and really makes me think of those kind of uneducated, dogmatic Christians, the no-drinking, no-swearing ones, and yet they still have this real streak of VIOLENCE in them. "I went out for the paper, told her I'd be back by noon" - isn't that JUST the same as "I left by the back door and I threw away the key"? The phrase implies that he left for the paper and never ever came back!! "I was sure I was the one" is this another case of projecting where the character takes on Jesus, or thinks he is Jesus (like in One and live versions of Until) .. "the ground won't turn" - meaning, you can't plow it because it's hard and can't be harvested - this seems very biblical to me.

Overall I believe this one is about searching for God but not being willing to make any sacrifices to receive Him. It is one of the most complicated of his "not-a-religious religious song"

All I Want Is You
which I just thought of - is sour in the sense that it is almost an unrequited love. If it is a God singing to the people love- look what they are asking Him, rings of gold and all these material things... need more help on this song. Only thing is, the 2nd stanza doesn't work with that theory and is more like the person addressing God (You say you'll give me a harbour in the tempest etc). Hmmm. Doesn't quite work as only a religious song, but GENERALLY it works!


ISHFWILF by virtue the title is not a sweet religious song. He starts out saying all these extraordinary things he's done in searching of "you".. but he still hasn't found what he's looking for. Is God not enough? Must he experience more or what is it when he will find what he is looking for?

WOWY: I'd say this is definitely more of a love song.. but just for argument, we'll throw it in there (sort of along the lines of AIWIY) - and again, the title gives itself away "i can't live with or without you" - what kind of torment is that! and you give and you give yourself away- but not getting anything back..scary religious song.. hopelessness.. Well, you canNOT ignore "thorn twist in your side" in this song. Either he's accusing the lover of behaving like a martyr, OR he's addressing Jesus! "Through the storm we reach the shore" seems very Biblical, about rough seas and Jesus the fisherman calming the seas or even the parting of the Red Sea. Almost EXACTLY the same sentiment as Still Havne't Found. I can't live with or without you.....meaning even salvation can't save me, I'm so fucked up! Wow, this does work on a spiritual level.
(note: your brave analysizers have attempted to delve into this song. Basically, it beat the crap out of us and our wounds are still not yet healed. As it draws no conclusions and actually made us even more confused than before, it may not see the light of day, or if it does only as an example of a truly amazing song that is above any explanation.)

Streets
Well, didn't someone (maybe even a band member??) say something about "where the streets have no name" literally being like heaven? It certainly SOUNDS like heaven to me. I don't even think "our love turns to rust" is a spoiler in the spirituality of it, because he's maybe talking about worldly things turning to rust (even intangible worldly things like human love), and wanting to go where the streets have no name/heaven/God's presence. I think this works. And if it works spiritually, it is entirely positive to me.

One
Amazing song. It is the 3rd on the cd, it's called "One", "we're one but we're not the same" could be an explanation of the Trinity.. it's almost like opposite of the Trinity where you'd expect the description to be "we're three but we are the same"...

This song starts off sour from the beginning "you got someone to blame"- but you get the sense he could be saying this to himself. "Did I disappoint you.." another sour note. "have you come to raise the dead? Have you come here to play Jesus, to the lepers in your head" It's worthy to examine what he's saying here "to the lepers in your head" - that this person has imagined all sorts of problems? and none of the problems really existed or never were really contagious, same with lepers. And did you want to play Jesus- is that accusing the person of indeed trying to play Jesus? It HAS to also go back to him, and the way the public misperceived him or maybe how he perceives himself sometimes in his more critical moments (as we know he is quite critical of himself.) I think this song is more relationships based than God based- it's such a BITter, pleading song! (we should have more on this later)

Until
Well we know this story. it's almost like a challenge- playing the other side of the coin.. being the one who turned Jesus in!! scary and confrontational on Bono's part. what a great song!
Definitely does not fit the prototype for a true religious-love song.

Mysterious Ways
What's so great about this kind of song is that NO ONE would ever think that the obvious could be true. That he could REALLY be talking about the "spirit" even though he flicked the phrase from "the spirit moves in mysterious ways." The verses in MW don't make any sense to me (take a walk, living underground eating from a can) but it makes sense when you get to "you know she's gonna be there when you hit the ground". And "If you wanna kiss the sky" being a cagey reference to the eye of the needle/humility thing. I think this totally works as a spiritual song, except the verses don't make much sense to me in that context (or in any context actually!).

40 Definitely an intruiging song and a powerful one, especially when it is the closing song on an album titled "War" which includes such anthems as "New Years Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday." It is worthy of its own analysis BUT for now.. we are concentrating on how religious it is. We know it is modeled after Psalm 40 and you see traces of that Psalm in the song " I waited patiently for the Lord He inclined and heard my cry He lift me up out of the pit Out of the mire and clay" and you also see celebration with "I will sing, sing a new song."

However, the clincher comes shortly after with the line: "how long, to sing this song.." You have him first saying "I waited patiently for the Lord" and in the next breath asking "how long, how long..." So perhaps it is celebratory of God's greatness and how God is a rock in his (our) lives but "40" does slip in that one line that exposes a little too much and does in fact leave a slightly confused look upon our face.

Gloria "I try to sing this song loud I try to stand up But I can't find my feet I try, I try to speak up But only in you I'm complete " We get the sense here that he actually DOES need God.

"I try to get in.. but I can't find the door / The door is open / You're standing there / You let me in" but, i thought he couldn't find the door?.. "If I had anything anything at all, I'd give it to you" is this a promise? why doesn't he sing "everything I have I give to you?" I think it is a TOTAL cop-out. It is totally in the human mindset of feeling sorry for yourself. He THINKS he's willing to give anything to God, but he's so blind that he can't even see that he already HAS so much! Like most people do when we're feeling low, and think "Oh I wish this, and why can't I that, and my life sucks" even though we KNOW we have so much. These early lyrics are really more stream-of-consciousness than artistically designed, which should also be taken into consideeration. He feels all close to God and pious in a way, but he can't see right in front of him that he already has so much to offer up to God!

And perhaps he is thinking he has to wait to actually have something in order to give, when it does not matter to God what we give, just that we do give.

Grace
Okay, I've been thinking more about Grace, and I wrote you about what I figured out about how it relates to the 40th Psalm. And the more I think about it, the more I think that this is 100% without a doubt the most positive, hopeful and optimistic song they have ever written. There's not a negative note in it (even the thing that left a mark no longer stings, because of Grace). But it is STUNNING to me that he has brought "40" into this song......Now, the internal lyrics about "twirls or skips between fingertips" leave me out in the cold somewhere, because I think they are unexplainable and nonsensical (could be wrong!). But the IDEA of the song, there could never be a more powerful idea than that! Amazing!

In Conclusion?? Not counting Streets (I suppose the jury is still out on if this is a rleigious song? Surely God is in the building when they play it though...) So I suppose, *counting* Streets, then, that and Grace are the only two "pure" celebratory faithful song Bono has written.

I realize not all the songs were completely explained and there may be some loopholes but we'll leave it here for now.
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Old 06-10-2002, 11:01 AM   #2
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k, this is getting really spooky. Not 5 minutes ago I was pondering some of these exact same things and thinking about posting them for discussion.

I have been listening to Zooropa in my car pretty much non-stop for a few weeks now and I've been pondering the lyrics to The First Time and The Wanderer, in particular.

I'd say that the closest Bono has come to writing a "straight" religious song might be "Grace". Or even WILATW. I'd also be curious to hear your opinions on some of the tracks on the MDH soundtrack as one in particular, "Falling at Your Feet", really strikes me as one that can be seen as addressed to God.

Anyways, my head is too fuzzy this morning to be coherent, but I shall try to return with some brilliant insights.
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Old 06-10-2002, 12:12 PM   #3
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Re: Can Bono Write A True "Religious" Song

This is a fascinating list and I love so many of your observations. One of the great things about U2 is the range of meanings their texts allow.

The one thing that sort of throws me for a loop, though, is the basic idea that a "pure religious song" shouldn't question God or express any doubts. The Psalms, at least in the Judeo-Christian world, seem to me to be sort of the ultimate prototype of religious songs, and they express doubts and anger and confusion to God all the time. (As do most of the people I know who are really seeking to live in Christ. ) It seems strange to me to think of songs directly from the Bible not qualifying as religious enough to be "a song for God."

I mean, celebration is great, and there's a lot of celebration in U2, but what makes that celebration meaningful for me, and authentically religious for me, is exactly the fact that (like the Bible) it's never phony and uncritical, never pollyanna-ish. It sounds like the real complexities real people have in real relationships with God, and not like some kind of spiritual used car salesman trying to scam us about how flawless what he's selling is. It's human and real and allows for ambiguity.

There have been two threads on this board that are related to this topic I think -- one just about "which songs are religious" and one about "which songs would you sing in church." I'd try and link to them but am too incompetent
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Old 06-10-2002, 12:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by mebythesea
I mean, celebration is great, and there's a lot of celebration in U2, but what makes that celebration meaningful for me, and authentically religious for me, is exactly the fact that (like the Bible) it's never phony and uncritical, never pollyanna-ish. It sounds like the real complexities real people have in real relationships with God, and not like some kind of spiritual used car salesman trying to scam us about how flawless what he's selling is. It's human and real and allows for ambiguity.
Ok, you have pretty much summed up my whole problem with the church right there. Precisely why I relate to U2's lyrics so deeply is because they are honest and wrestle with the hard issues rather than put on a happy face. *goes away to think some more*
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Old 06-10-2002, 12:40 PM   #5
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Re: Re: Can Bono Write A True "Religious" Song

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Originally posted by mebythesea

The one thing that sort of throws me for a loop, though, is the basic idea that a "pure religious song" shouldn't question God or express any doubts. The Psalms, at least in the Judeo-Christian world, seem to me to be sort of the ultimate prototype of religious songs, and they express doubts and anger and confusion to God all the time. (As do most of the people I know who are really seeking to live in Christ. ) It seems strange to me to think of songs directly from the Bible not qualifying as religious enough to be "a song for God."
I suppose when I said this I meant more of a Gospel song. The ones that are usually celebrating God. I tried to explain it that I related this to what Bono called a simple love song (to a woman) - so can he not write a simple love song to God? I dont think I'm explaining myself correctly.

I love all his "religious" songs and certainly think they are worthy unto themselves, as much as I adore all of his "love" songs (wowy, aiwiy, tst.. which we know are not pure love songs) but in these analyses we started off wondering if he ever wrote a "simple religious song" the way he claims he can't write a "simple love song"

I hope I'm explaining myself clearly~ yes, that pollyanna-ish quality is exactly what I was getting at about how none of their religious songs are like this. I think it shows Bono's intelligence and maturity to be able to question God and expose himself so much in his songs but also to return to Him.

Quote:

There have been two threads on this board that are related to this topic I think -- one just about "which songs are religious" and one about "which songs would you sing in church." I'd try and link to them but am too incompetent
I don't know how to either-- but I started that "which songs are religious" thread after Jennifer and I came up with the list we posted here. I did not reference it because many people added almost all their songs and we tried to limit it to those we saw as "overly religious" - which I know is difficult and itself open for debate.


Sula-- I will look into those MDH hotel lyrics. Want to know another weird thing?? After about a two month haitus from that album, I brought it back into work with me *today* to listen to!

[edit] Perhaps I should also add that I do not necessarily *want* Bono to write a "pure religious song" - definitely not those pollyanaish songs. I just found it interesting how many of his doubts are shown in his lyrics, especially when most people consider them such a religious band. --yes, I know that doubting and religions can go hand in hand, and it is Faith which brings us home in the end, which Bono certainly has and demonstrate. But we weren't meaning that he should only write sappy religious songs- that's scary like imaginging him singing that justin timberlake song "will you be my girlfriend" okay i'll stop rambling. [/edit]
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Old 06-10-2002, 01:42 PM   #6
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Re: Can Bono Write A True "Religious" Song

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Originally posted by oliveu2cm
40 Definitely an intruiging song and a powerful one, especially when it is the closing song on an album titled "War" which includes such anthems as "New Years Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday." It is worthy of its own analysis BUT for now.. we are concentrating on how religious it is. We know it is modeled after Psalm 40 and you see traces of that Psalm in the song " I waited patiently for the Lord He inclined and heard my cry He lift me up out of the pit Out of the mire and clay" and you also see celebration with "I will sing, sing a new song."

However, the clincher comes shortly after with the line: "how long, to sing this song.." You have him first saying "I waited patiently for the Lord" and in the next breath asking "how long, how long..." So perhaps it is celebratory of God's greatness and how God is a rock in his (our) lives but "40" does slip in that one line that exposes a little too much and does in fact leave a slightly confused look upon our face.
The line "how long to sing this song" is taken from Psalm 6, according to Bono ...

In the introduction Bono wrote to a book of Psalms (the title escapes me) he says:

'40' became the closing song at U2 shows, and on hundreds of occasions, literally hundreds of thousands of people of every size and shape of T-shirt have shouted back the refrain, pinched from Psalm 6: 'How long (to sing this song)'. I had thought of it as a nagging question, pulling at the hem of an invisible deity whose presence we glimpse only when we act in love. How long hunger? How long hatred? How long until creation grows up and the chaos of its precocious, hell-bent adolescence has been discarded? I thought it odd that the vocalising of such questions could bring such comfort - to me, too.

I think the "How long to sing this song" and indeed the whole song is merely a reflection of the frustration we feel as humans. I don't think it's a "slap in the face" to God. There is nothing wrong about wondering aloud about God's plans or the way the world works. Yes, you cn have faith in God and God can be your rock, but as a human, it's only natural for doubt to creep in. It's whether you let the doubt take over ... that's when you start to have a crisis of faith.

This is purely speculative, but I don't think Bono has ever lost faith in God. In fact, I think that asking questions as he does in 40 and all of the other songs you mentioned probably has made his faith stronger.

When my grandfather died of cancer, I went thorugh a huge crisis of faith ... asking those very same "Why?" questions that Bono often does in his musics. After really thinking about things, my faith is stronger than before.
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Old 06-11-2002, 08:59 AM   #7
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Re: Re: Can Bono Write A True "Religious" Song

good morning everyone! let's see how well my brain is working today

JessicaAnn, thank you for writing out that reference from Bono about '40' - what an inspiring story, as is that entire Psalms intro.

I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with wondering or asking what God is up to- I think it is necessary sometimes. But the reason I said it was a "slap in the face" was because how it contradicted with the line "I waited patiently for the Lord." The amazing and accurate thing is that we can embody both of those contrary thoughts at the same time, feeling them both, which is why I feel so many people take to this song. It allows us to praise God but in the same time does not allow us to fall asleep in the 'comfort of our freedom'. And as compared to a song like "Amazing Grace" I wouldn't see this as a sort of "gospel, rosey-eyed view of God" - and I'm not saying this negates Amazing Grace's impact as a wonderful or necessary song or negates 40's impact, either. I was just showing the difference between songs that "only" praise and songs that "also" inquire.

So many people consider U2 this holy christian band when in fact none of his lyrics point to any sort of holier-than-thou or even a completely prostrate worshipper who will do anything without asking any questions. Maybe that's what I was getting at.

I didn't explain myself clearly earlier and just don't want this to be misinterpreted as thinking Bono cannot ask anything of God in his lyrics or that I shun any of his (religious) songs. I totally agree his songs and his inquires have made him stronger and never doubted that for a moment.

Anyway, thanks for everyone listening to me go on. I'll get to Falling At Your Feet maybe today Sula
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Old 06-11-2002, 06:30 PM   #8
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Re: Re: Re: Can Bono Write A True "Religious" Song

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Originally posted by oliveu2cm
Anyway, thanks for everyone listening to me go on. I'll get to Falling At Your Feet maybe today Sula
I'm finding it so interesting to go back through these things we've written, Carrie, and read them a-fresh. I have a million thoughts I want to put down, and very little time! Excellent observations by everyone else, also. My mind is exploding!

The most interesting thing that's happened today is thinking about Falling At Your Feet in this context; it's not a song I have ever given a whole lot of thought before. We need to get on top of this!!!!! (Okay, I need to get on top of this since you've already gotten started!)

And Carrie, I liked your explanation about Bono admitting his inability to write a simple love song, and therefore examining his songs of praise using the same guidelines. I think that's exactly what we set out to do...... it's amazing to get all this feedback and new ideas!

*wants to make this her career forever and ever amen*
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Old 06-11-2002, 07:14 PM   #9
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Nothing much to add...Just wanna say that this thread is pure gold. Thanks you all.
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Old 06-11-2002, 10:05 PM   #10
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Just to help stimulate the "Falling at Your Feet" discussion, here are the lyrics. Note particularly the last two lines!

Every chip from every cup,
every promise given up,
every reason thatís not enough
is falling, falling at you feet.

Every band that last a climate,
every race when thereís nothing in it,
every winner thatís lost a ticket
is falling, falling at your feet.

Iíve come crawling, falling at your feet.
Everyone who needs a friend,
every life that has no end,
every need not ready to bend
is falling, falling at your feet.

Iíve come crawling, now Iím falling at your feet.
All fall down (repeat).
All the manic taste faces that you pull,
All the action is none of that you control,
the graffiti rolling down on five feet tall,
and the compromise you make for soon.

Every teenager with acne,
every face that spoil the beauty,
every adult tamed by duty,
theyíre all falling at your feet.

Every foot in every face,
every cops that will find some grace,
every prisoner in the maze,
every hand that needs an ace
is falling, falling at your feet.
Iíve come crawling, now falling at your feet.

All fall down (repeat).

All the books you never read, just started.
All the meals you rushed, never tasted.
Every eye closed by a bruise,
every player that just canít loose,
every popstar heroine abuse,
every drop out gone with booze,
all falling at your feet,
all falling at your feet.

All fall down (repeat).
All the effort makes it.
All the bigger deal.
All the radio waves, electronic seas.
Had to never give?
Had to simply be?
To know when to wait this blessed simplicity.
In hope shall I trust.
In heaven Iíll be staying.
Teach me to surrender.
Not my will, my will.


Looking forward to this discussion, as it's a song that has been on my mind in this context for quite some time.
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Old 06-11-2002, 10:43 PM   #11
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Jennifer and I will have something for you tomorrow, Sula. Examinging this song has really opened my eyes in appreciation for it!! and I can't wait to see everyone's interpretations!
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Old 06-13-2002, 03:24 PM   #12
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Falling At Your Feet

Every chip from every cup
Every promise given up
Every reason that's not enough
Is falling, falling at your feet


This first paragraph makes me think of "my cup overflowth" and "chip" as in what happens when people toast someone. In the Catholic mass, the "Cup of Wine" is a symbol of Jesus's blood. "Every promise given up" reminds me of what Bono says before Streets in this last tour, when he states the Psalm and that he is following through on a promise he made long ago. Definitely many religious connotations here with Bono alluding to worshipping God. "every reason that's not enough" reminds me of Grace ..... all the millions of frailties and foibles of the human condition that bring us to our knees, to fall at God's feet, and yet we still receive his love and comfort. Almost as if we stumble up to him and collapse with all this "stuff" at his feet, just desperate and in need of a hand (in return for Grace!).

You never get the clarity in this song as to what he means from "Falling". Is it a submittive "fall" or an acciidental fall? Are they tripping and landing on their hands and knees at 'your' feet, or are they bowing down and kissing the ground? Either way we have a nice relation to "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" (where they are falling at.) The word "fall" comes up again on "Stuck" .... "I wasn't jumping; for me it was a fall." Which in that case is an accidental fall. However, in this song I kind of lean toward the "falling" being BOTH submissive and accidental, if that makes sense. On one hand, you're tripped up and stumbling, therefore "falling", and on the other hand "falling" is a very submissive word, and one we think of in terms of falling on your knees, either to beg or to pay respect. And we get this ambiguity because certain characters in this song are falling involuntarily and realizing they have no where else to turn, while others are falling out of love/worship.


Every band elastic limit
Every race when there's nothing in it
Every winner that's lost a ticket
Is falling, falling at your feet
I've come crawling, falling at your feet

Here he ads in "Crawling at your feet" which makes you think he's begging for this person. All of these instances in this stanza alludes to things people have lost, such as the lost winning lottery ticket, the limit of their band (nice relation to the Beatles here), and the race which has no reward at the end (rat race, perhaps?). In these instances also people are crawling to God, but contrary to the first paragraph which was more celebratory reasons, this is becasue they have "fallen" and then needed God, or have been simply given bad luck and are crawling to God for comfort/understanding.


Everyone who needs a friend
Every life that has no end
Every knee not ready to bend
Is falling, falling at your feet
I've come crawling, now I'm falling at your feet

"someone to lend a hand in return for Grace" reminds me of this first line. And who doesn't need a friend? Well, like Bono says, "everyone." Every life that has no end- as Christians we believe in Eternity, and therefore no life ever "ending." Even people who are not ready to admit they need/want God are still falling at His feet. That is a strong line, and I'm not quit sure what this means yet. "Every knee not ready to bend" or every person who perhaps doesn't want to think about God/afterlife or doesn't believe or doesn't have time- they are all still falling. Is this before or after the peson "your/God" has done something to make them want to fall?


(All fall down, all fall down......)
All the manic taste faces that you pull
All the action is not under your control
The graffiti rolling down on five feet tall
And the compromise you make for someone


The first two stanzas it seems he is talking to God, telling Him of everyone who falls at His feet- or even just talking in general OF the people who falls at His feet. And in this particular stanza I see the subject switching and Bono speaking TO someone (hence the YOU in "all the manic taste faces that you pull) who is doing the falling.

Manic can mean "uncontrolled by reason" (a word we've already seen in this song) .. "taste faces" ?? The only thing I can think of are the expression someone makes when they eat- it's good, it's sour, it's sweet, it's curdled, etc.... but these faces here are "uncontrolled by reason" so it could be a taste/preference you have, uncontrolled by reason, which makes you make a face or even turn your own away. It seems more a "sound" phrase than one with a specific meaning than any other. Using the word taste reminds me of AB era with "Taste is the enemy of art". The manic faces could also relate back to Gavin as Bono has said he would like this song the best and because of how much he influenced him, maybe more than anybody.

"All the action is not under your control" is a direct reference to having a superior power. As a statement, it is almost like telling someone not to worry- that it is in Higher hands. "The graffiti rollin down on five feet tall" Best guess is relating it back to Dublin.



"and the compromise you make for someone" - terrific line, terrific image and feeling. To compromise yourself or something you care about becuase you love someone else even more. This surely is a celebratory line. We see the compromising later echoed in NY: "You got to put the women and children first" where he recognizes the compromise, despite of his thrist for something else. How about in Two Shots - "Compromise...well what's that?", which is such a selfish statement, indicative of that character! And here it's more along the lines of "In dreams begin responsibilities" in that he understands the give and take of a relationship. An example of him being "wisened" in being the fault of something hurtful in a relationship: from North and South Of The River: "there's no feeling that's so alone when they one you're hurting is your own"


Every teenager with acne
Every face that's spoiled by beauty
Every adult tamed by duty
They're all falling at your feet

Ahh.. no one is exempt from worshipping God. Society's standards tell us that the most beautiful are the most worthy, the smartest, the "best" and others should be shunned. Here- he is saying everyone with acne (something you'd Neverrrr see on a soap opera) every face "spoiled" by beauty (what a great phrase- spoiled in the sense of "gone bad" and also in the sense of "spoiled brat" sort of thing) everyone will fall. The ugly, the beautiful, the adult tamed by duty (or compromise?) they're all falling.


Every foot in every face
Every cause that refines the grace
Every prisoner in the maze
Every hand that needs an ace
Is falling, falling at your feet
I've come crawling, now falling at your feet

Okay lots of goodies here. We seem to have more desperate cases here, and that is supported by the use of "crawling" again. Everyone who's bullied and everyone who's been bullied...(ever been in a fight and can only beg God in your head for help/mercy) "every cause that refines the grace" Refine can mean purify, make stronger, treat so as to put in a usable condition, make more complex, make more precise, increase the powers of. Every cause - cause which can be a charitable cause or even a personal motivation for taking action, that refines "the grace" - not just grace but THE grace (he's really pointing to God here, imo!) is also submitting. Because that's why these causes exist, right? In honor of God and how Jesus said to treat others the way you want to be treated. And without Grace - the grace of the contributors, as well- that cause may not exist. Prisoners stuck in jail (although you can be a prisoner outside the walls, too) and the maze of their life -where's the exit, completely lost people- every hand that Needs that one card to win the game, or else there's a bouncer out back with a gun waiting for him (talk about desperation) they are all crawling and "now falling" at your feet.

(All fall down, all fall down......)
All the books you never read, just started
All the meals you rushed, and never tasted

This to me says "your life." Everything you've only done half assed or half finished. All the good things your rushed through and didn't savor. All the flowers you didn't stop to smell.

Every eye closed by a bruise
Every player that just can't lose
Every pop star hurling abuse
Every drunk back on the booze
All falling at your feet
Ohh, I'm falling at your feet

The first two lines remind me of a couple prior to them. "every eye closed by a bruise" ~ "every foot in your face" yeah so perhaps here we are seeing the people at the receiving end of the violence. "every player that just can't lost" ~ "Every hand that needs an ace" "just can't lose" is a pretty strong way to describe a situtation someone is in. "every pop star hurling abuse" you think of someone abusing their position and negatively influencing other people who look up to them. "every drunk back on the booze" another case of abuse, this time alcohol abuse and we all know the pain and horror that accompanies family/friend of and the alcohol him/herself, not to mention how weak he is to his poison, how he is a slave to his poison- when the only thing we should be a slave to is God.


(All fall down, all fall down......)
All the information
All the big ideas
All the radio waves, electronic seas
How to navigate, how to simply be
To know when to wait this plain simplicity

I split this last stanza in two in order to easier understand it. The first three lines to me relate to society and what runs us- the internet, the mass amount of information we are overwhelmed with. The big ideas (who really is behind these big ideas?) the media, "electronic seas".. how to navigate (through life or through the television stations?) compared to how to simply be.. "to know when to wait this (IS?) plain simplicity" I added "is" in order to make it a clearer sentance. The first few lines talk about all the confusion that's surronding us (maikes me think of "listen over the rhythm that's confusing you") supposedly trying to each us how to simply be, which is all we really need- is to just "be" and to just wait...


In whom shall I trust
How might I be still
Teach me to surrender
Not my will, thy will


Here I feel he is directly speaking to God. Who can he trust here? Who is telling the truth? Teach me how I can be still and wait and just "be" Teach me to surrender ... but surrender to Thy will, not my will. Very clever word play. Almost everyone stated above were doing things selfishly, for their own will. He's saying not only do I fall but I want you to teach me to surrender even more, surrender my desires, my greed, my life, make compromises, for Your will.

Final word to look at: "I've come crawling, now I'm falling at your feet" This is spookily similiar to the ending Bono adds to the song "One" when he performs it live with "will you make him crawl" (there are many variations of this) Uncertainty of "Grace" is echoed in In A Little While: "If I crawl, if I come crawling home, will you be there?"
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Old 06-15-2002, 05:48 PM   #13
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Can Bono write a true Religious Song? In my opinion, he ALREADY has.....in fact, I think he's written a few.
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Old 06-15-2002, 09:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2junkie
Can Bono write a true Religious Song? In my opinion, he ALREADY has.....in fact, I think he's written a few.
which ones and why?

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Old 06-22-2002, 09:54 PM   #15
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Re: Can Bono Write A True "Religious" Song

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Originally posted by oliveu2cm


40 Definitely an intruiging song and a powerful one, especially when it is the closing song on an album titled "War" which includes such anthems as "New Years Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday." It is worthy of its own analysis BUT for now.. we are concentrating on how religious it is. We know it is modeled after Psalm 40 and you see traces of that Psalm in the song " I waited patiently for the Lord He inclined and heard my cry He lift me up out of the pit Out of the mire and clay" and you also see celebration with "I will sing, sing a new song."

However, the clincher comes shortly after with the line: "how long, to sing this song.." You have him first saying "I waited patiently for the Lord" and in the next breath asking "how long, how long..." So perhaps it is celebratory of God's greatness and how God is a rock in his (our) lives but "40" does slip in that one line that exposes a little too much and does in fact leave a slightly confused look upon our face.
See Psalm 6:3: "My soul is in anguish. How long , O Lord, how long?" And of course, on the War album that line is also a reference to Sunday Bloody Sunday.

The Psalms are full of songs where David and others express frustration with God.

...oh, nevermind, someone else posted these exact thoughts, I just got lost in the length of the thread.
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