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Old 10-20-2006, 05:13 PM   #1
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Meaning behind 'With Or Without You' ??

My girlfriend and I were driving and I was playing a live version of With Or Without You (Live Dublin 93, exactly...) and my GF turns to me and says "You can't live or live without me?"

And I said "I think the song's meaning is really about couples who can't stand being together, but can't stand being apart. Meaning, they fight or argue when they're together, but when they're apart they can't cease to live. It's like a mutual hate, for a mutual relationship."

What's the real meaning behind the song?


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Old 10-20-2006, 05:25 PM   #2
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I don't know for sure and I think Bono likes to be myterious with his lyrics sometimes.
Explaining the meaning takes away from the song somehow and isn't it great that a song can take on different meanings for different people?
IMO, I think he is talking about both the spiritual and human realms here. Romantic love and the love of God. That's the rub of this life isn't it?


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Old 10-20-2006, 05:26 PM   #3
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Old 10-20-2006, 06:16 PM   #4
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Actually, Bono talks about the meaning of this song in U2 By U2.
Here's an exerpt:
[These remarks were triggered by questions about the meaning of "With or Without You", but are clearly about more than that.]

Bono: "The lyric is pure torment. One of the things that was happening at the time was the collision in my own mind between being faithful to your art or being faithful to your lover. What if the two are at odds? Your gift versus domestic responsibility? I had always been the kind of person who would sleep on everyone else's floor, the eye of the travelling rat, a natural tinker. I would just wander off and be very happy. So now I have this person in my life whom I love more than my life but I'm wondering if the reason I'm not writing is because I'm now a domesticated beast. I'm wondering if I'm house-trained? If I meet somebody and I want to go off with them, to find out what their world is like, I can't because I'm a married man. It's not even about sexual infidelity. I just remember thinking: 'Is this the life of an artist? Am I going to have kids and settle down and betray my gift or am I going to betray my marriage? It was a very difficult thing in my head. I had met a couple of people on the way who had taken advantage of my naivete, is the best way I can put it, and I realized I knew so very little about this world and now, the future looked like I was going to know even less. You can learn about politcs, culture, but your emotional life also has to be developed. I think in some senses mine wasn't, and I was going through all this kind of uncertainty. I was at least two people: the person who is so responsible, protective and loyal and the vagrant and idler in me who just wants to run from responsibility. I thought these tensions were going to destroy me but actually, in truth, it is me. That tension, it turns out, is what makes me as an artist. Right in the centre of a contradiction, that's the place to be. There I was. Loyal. But in my imagination filled with wanderlust, a heart to know God, a head to know the world, rock star who likes to run amok and sinner who knows he needs to repent....
If I had cut loose, what would have become of me?"

[He goes on at further length about some artists he admires who did "cut loose". They lost a great deal, maybe everything. He prefers to maintain the tension between the two extremes, and to not "go too far either way".]


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Old 10-20-2006, 07:35 PM   #5
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i always thought of it as loving someone so much that you would want more than what they were capable of giving you. So in sense you can't live with them because you want so much more but you can't live without them because you love them so much.


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Old 10-20-2006, 07:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by AchtungZooropa
i always thought of it as loving someone so much that you would want more than what they were capable of giving you. So in sense you can't live with them because you want so much more but you can't live without them because you love them so much.
Great first post, AchtungZooropa! I think that's a great interpretation.


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Old 10-20-2006, 07:51 PM   #7
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It's on right now....such an amazing song


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Old 10-20-2006, 08:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Slow Loris

Great first post, AchtungZooropa! I think that's a great interpretation.
thanks for your kind words. i've been lurking on these boards for about two weeks. i finally gave the 90s U2 a shot since I know I grew as a music fan and wow, I've been missing out. Figured it was time to finally post around here.


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