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Old 11-17-2005, 07:55 AM   #1
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The Wanderer

What do you think of the spiritual images and thoughts in this song? How do you interpret them?


"The Wanderer"

I went out walking through streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones
Saw the skin and bones of a city without a soul
I went out walking under an atomic sky
Where the ground won't turn and the rain
It burns like the tears when I said goodbye

Yeah I went with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering

I went drifting through the capitals of tin
Where men can't walk or freely talk
And sons turn their fathers in
I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit
They say they want the kingdom
But they don't want God in it
I went out riding down that old eight lane
I passed by a thousand signs
Looking for my own name
I went with nothing
But the thought you'd be there too
Looking for you

I went out there in search of experience
To taste and to touch and to feel
As much as a man can before he repents

I went out searching, looking for one good man
A spirit who would not bend or break
Who would sit at his father's right hand
I went out walking with a bible and a gun
The word of God lay heavy on my heart
I was sure I was the one
Now Jesus, don't you wait up
Jesus I'll be home soon
Yeah, I went out for the papers
Told her I'd be back by noon

Yeah, I left with nothing
But the thought you'd be there too
Looking for you
Yeah, I left with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering
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Old 11-17-2005, 11:39 AM   #2
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I think the song reflects a lot of the tug-and-pull of Cash's faith walk and faith in society. How the world often creeps into the personal relationship with God.

This line always hit me: "They say they want the kingdom/But they don't want God in it."

I think that's how a lot of people are. They want the parts of God that fit in with their lifestyle, but when it comes to the parts that don't jive with them and they have to change, they turn their backs. It doesn't work that way.
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Old 11-17-2005, 03:22 PM   #3
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This is what Angella Pancella has written on atU2. I'm not saying in any way that it's all about Biblical references, it's just one small aspect. I'm more interested in the overall spiritual aspects of the song, if there are any

http://www.atu2.com/lyrics/biblerefs.html

"The Wanderer"

"Through streets paved with gold" -- Revelation 21:21: "The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass."

"Who would sit at his Father's right hand" -- Matthew 26:64: "'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied. 'But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"

Another possible title for this song, according to an interview with Bono in the book Race of Angels, was "The Preacher." Though no lines correspond exactly, the spirit of the song echoes the entire book of Ecclesiastes (also sometimes called "The Preacher"). For instance: "I went out there in search of experience/to taste and to touch and to feel as much as a man can before he repents" and Ecclesiastes 11:9: "Rejoice, O young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart, the vision of your eyes; yet understand as regards all this God will bring you to judgment."
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Old 11-18-2005, 09:12 AM   #4
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I would agree with the Ecclesiastical interpretation. Several of the lines as well as the whole general tone of the song seem to mirror the experiences and general ethos of the write of Ecclesiastes.
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Old 11-18-2005, 10:47 AM   #5
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Wow. Good stuff guys. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-18-2005, 11:22 AM   #6
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Sounds like many other songs - a spiritual reference drawn from one part of Scripture, with a few visual references taken from other parts of Scripture.

Ecclesiastes
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Old 12-01-2005, 05:43 PM   #7
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I think it's about realizing that this world is not permanent and that this world is not our permanent home (our "last stop" as it were).

"Jesus I'll be home soon"
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:26 AM   #8
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I kind of see "The Wanderer" as a sequel to "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", although with more specific Biblical references.
It's so perfect that Johnny Cash sings it.
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Old 01-28-2006, 10:44 PM   #9
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I don't have any biblical interpretations, but I've always thought it was kind of a sequel to Tomorrow...throughout that song he talks about how he's "going out there" and how "you're gonna be there" which could refer to Jesus or his mom, and 10 years later with The Wanderer he's sort of done that and hasn't maybe found what he was hoping to find, sort of a resigned or cynical take on a religion he'd expected to find answers in. Specifically when he says "I went with nothing but the thought you'd be there too/ looking for you"...again could be talking about Jesus or his mom or both. That's just my interpretation of it though.
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