The Spiritual Significance of "Bad" - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-14-2007, 09:38 AM   #1
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The Spiritual Significance of "Bad"

I have listened to "Bad" twelve times now, and each time I have been experiencing God's touch in a very physical manner (literally doubling over with chills going up and down my spine.) The emphasis is on surrender...that much I know...but why this song? What was Bono thinking when he wrote this? Or feeling? I can hear him getting lost in this song with his own brand of passion. Even the music is so intense. What is it about this song? I can't listen to the rest of Unforgettable Fire. I am stuck in "Bad" and I really feel that God is trying to say something to me.

Has anyone ever heard of the motivation behind this song? It's history? Or this may just be a personal touch. But the significance of "Bad"...
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:02 AM   #2
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I read somewhere that the song was about someone he knew well who had turned to drug addiction....
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:24 PM   #3
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Specifically heroin...
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:10 PM   #4
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I've been feeling the same way with this song lately. I've been going through some rough times lately, and I can't tell you how many times I've listened to it lately and felt God's comfort and peace. It is definitely about a friend(s) of Bono who had an addiction to heroin, but of course, like any song it can be interpreted many different ways. Bono talks about how song meanings have sometimes changed for him over the years, and this is probably a good example. I have a Saitama bootleg from last November and on this live version of "Bad", Bono yells out "Just let it go! Whatever it is, let it go!" That really gets me every time. It's definitely one very significant for me spiritually, especially lately.
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Old 07-14-2007, 09:23 PM   #5
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He used to introduce it as a song about a friend whose girlfriend, on his birthday, gave him enough herion to kill himself.

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Old 07-14-2007, 09:37 PM   #6
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oh boy,
I was finally able to cry to this song after years of holding back. The impassionate cry to let go... of whatever you're hanging on to... you just want to let it out. It IS surrender. So yes, I feel you on this song. It will always be very close to me for this reason.

Also, there's a vid on YouTube where they band goes into an explanation of the song. It's the most incredibly amped up version of Bad I've ever seen. Bono is completely tripping out on stage at one point. EVERYONE should check this out.

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Old 07-14-2007, 09:45 PM   #7
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Bono explains the significance of the song to him and why he wrote it in the video from the UF tour date from Dortmund, Germany.


I think that you can find this video on YouTube.


Bono also said that he wrote "Bad" for his friend that died from a heroin overdose....and for himself.

I'm not going to surmise what B meant by that.



"Bad" has always been my most favorite U2 song and is a song that has gotten me through some very tough times.

I feel that is a deeply spiritual song.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:26 AM   #8
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what complicates Bad, i think, is that Bono is fessing up to his own vulnerability and the fact that, were he a person with less going for him, with the ability to let all that go, he could quite possibly have become a user himself -- there's a lot of compassion, and no judgement, for victims of drug abuse. it was also written in specific response to the early-to-mid-80s influx of cheap Pakistani heroin that flooded Ireland and the UK.

i think the song has morphed, especially into Elevation, into Bono's powerlessness to let go of the idea of U2. that's what i took from the Elevation Boston video. that he can't not do what he does, he can't not be on stage in front of 20,000 people, that his drug is U2.

there's a connection, to, i think, between U2 and drugs and even God -- that all are addictions, but all offer glimpses of transcendence, and this correlates beautifully to the middle part of the song, the climax/orgasm of the song where Bono launches off into Bono scat singing, overcome by the power of the music, losing himself and his sense of self as something else takes over. this can happen with drugs, with sex, with music, with religion, with meditation -- it's a specifically ecstatic moment, and it has great power, both healing and harmful. at it's best, it lets us know that there's more than all this, and at it's worst, it draws us into addiction through inbuing us with dissatisfaction with reality. drugs, if used very carefully, can be a shortcut to the insight of the subjectivity of reality, that there is no objective reality, that things exist only because we perceive them to exist. drugs mess with our powers of perception reveling the mundane and everyday to have hidden extraordinariness, but only briefly, and then a toll is taken on the user, especially with a drug as powerful and destructive as heroin.

it really might be their best song, too. at least live.
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Old 07-16-2007, 06:14 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your input. I know I have a lot on my plate...and "Bad" is still ministering to me, to use a Christian colloquialism. I also know surrender is a difficult thing for me at the moment with the amount of fear and the things I am going through. I want God to act now...alleviate things, but I have to trust. I just don't have the resources or the permission yet to change anything.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel things so intensely sometimes; and I seek the supernatural. I want to interact with God; and I know Bono hears Him too. Sometimes I wonder about the addictive qualities of my own nature as well. Though I have never done drugs or abused alcohol, I do know God has asked me to surrender my Isaacs so often that I feel like I have nothing left to hold onto.

Irvine511...I wonder sometimes if my love for U2's music, and my seeking for the experiential, is not a form of addiction as well? Goodness...walking through life isn't easy sometimes, is it?
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Freefall
Irvine511...I wonder sometimes if my love for U2's music, and my seeking for the experiential, is not a form of addiction as well? Goodness...walking through life isn't easy sometimes, is it?



in high school, i treated U2 like a religion. i'd try to seek converts, tell people what i had heard and how it would change their lives as it changed mine, how much brilliance there was to be unearthed in everything Bono ever said.

probably the wrong way to go about it, but i remember those days, and that's probably what one who has recently "discovered" their religon feels in the initial period.
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Old 07-17-2007, 02:57 PM   #11
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Freefall

I have noticed that U2 songs often have several levels or can be interpreted different ways. Some of the songs that move me the most seem, to me, to be speaking about God and His deliverance of us. Then, I will read where Bono says what the song is about and it is completely non-religious. I know God speaks to me through these songs. I think there definitely is a fish drawn in the sand on Bad, if we choose to see it.

Good post and responses.
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:27 PM   #12
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Bad and obsessional compulsive Disorder

Hi
I've been thinking about this song and what it has a lot to say, i was about to start a post on it when the song led me to tears the other day, only to find some inspired comments had started and set set the subject further on fire for me. I loved your posts Irvine together with everyone elses. I have Obsessional Compulsive Disorder (OCD) together with bi polar disorder and i work with people with aspergers syndrome and depression. Through my own pain it has given me a certain level of empathy.

If I could throw this
Lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you walk, walk away
Into the night
And through the rain
Into the half-light
And through the flame

Walking through your worst fears and pain is a nightmare, this song accompanies, inspires and encourages me.


When i have suffered really badly, ten years ago and recently it has led to spells of immense fear, dread, isolation and suicidal thoughts. My ocd led me to have a hypochndriac fear of disease and the terrifying if irrational fear of hurting others through this. Trouble is no matter how irrational people tell you your fears are they can be statistically possible and therefore VERY real and frightening to the person with oCD. I have seen out of the corner of my eye and felt drug needles entering me on the street, even though it is an illusion it seems and feels real, this is a well documented form of OCD. The song BAD is so overwhelming to me but in a slowly liberating way now as i fight my illness with the help of amazing friends, family, a hell of a lot of will power and medication. OCD is listed as one of the top tem debilitating illnesses in the world, some people with it have never been able to work and live in residential homes, it has a hideous strength that can feel as if it is turning you to insane.

The sorrow of God lies in our fear of Him, our fear of life, and our fear of ourselves.- Brennan Manning
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Old 07-29-2007, 05:15 PM   #13
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OCD bad spiritual

I realised a couple of days later that i had not explained the way a song such as BAD has helped me. It has helped me for many years to dig in and go beyond my immediate pain to begin to find something deeper and eternal within us which i believe we all have. The amazing melody that echoes on and on is something i find that matches a feeling that has developed in meditation and prayer which in itself was kickstarted by the hurt and pain. I remember hearing a version from the longest day gig at Milton Keynes, if anybody can lead me to where i could find that or a similar version where edges guitar sounds amazing i'd be grateful. October is another song in their canon which has a profound effect on me, such a short song that buries itself in an unforgettable way into the concious/unconcious. Pure inspiration from the spirit i would say.
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:50 PM   #14
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Where the Streets Have No Name lifts you immediately...

Then "With or Without You" is pure dancing worship at the end.

The secret is always surrender, I am beginning to think; but in a way I have always known that. A place of meditative quiet where you let yourself ride the rhythms and thereby hear the words. There is much, much more depth to U2's lyrics than most people think. Even in the 90's stuff, where people thought Bono and the band were leaving the roots of the Joshua Tree. They were still there...the Fly still needs love; it's no secret at all. We all need love.

We really have to take off the veneers and get to the heart, the bloodstream, where the pulses of life run and run with them. "In God's Country" the guitars there...it is making me reflective now even as I listen. We have to get beyond the crooked crosses of legalism, and God viewed through man's lenses, man's interpretation....let the dreamers die and see what is on the other side...see the truth of who God is.

There is so much in there music...and God is the Word...Words are alive. They create, they make alive. listen to the Word, enabled by the pulse of the music, its life, and just ride the winds.
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:27 PM   #15
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It was another one of those "BAD" mornings again. It is amazing...the dynamic of praying for someone then running out the door and putting in your earbuds. You look at the sunrise and hear the opening chords of BAD and you begin to see and feel so many things...the need to surrender, to toss off the worthless lifeline, to emerge from the heart of clay! There is so much you can "see" as you ride the morning wind and let the music and the words take you away...
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